A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

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humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Sun Jan 02, 2022 12:55 am

A farm blog trying to test and gather data on FS22 while scoping out how hard economy looks like. Hopefully mostly told in character, but probably technical details here and there from what I find.

After a terrible wildfire and a hurricane to follow, my farm in Ravenport was bust. Time to move out. Sold what I could get any money for and hitched a ride with a trucker going west. Lets see if we can find someplace with fairer weather in the mid-west. Was dropped off here at Elms Creek. Looks like a nice little place to start up an operation.

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We've got half a mill in our bank account, but also got a loan of $200.000, which I guess we'll pay off as soon as we find a banker. That leaves $300.000 to get a farm operation going, and that will be an extremely tight budget. Several farm owners are willing to sell here, but with the prices, I will hardly get any farmable land with the farmyards for sale, and they don't even have any buildings I can reuse for any other purpose than a roof to cover gear beneath. To begin with, I think I need to rough it until I can affort to set up a main camp. Scoping out fields for sale, I find that what the land office calls field #41, looks to be almost 5 acres, flat, square, fairly cheap per acre compared to most of the fields around here, and hopefully in a price range we can manage. That'll be $150.336 though, leaving less than $150.000 to get equipment to actually farm the land.

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The field currently is growing soybeans, which fits us nicely. At least we don't have to get equipment to deal with straw yet. First things first, we'll need a harvester to harvest it. Looking into the local shop, their cheapest harvester is a Rostselmash Nova 330 for $75.000 with a header for $25.000. That's $100.000 alone. Even if we get the cheapest tractor with the cheapest trailer in there, we're already at $150.500. That'll allow us to harvest, but to grow more we'll need quite a bit more equipment. At the very least we'll need a plow and a seeder, but we should also get something to fertilize the field.

So what do we do? Do we lease equipment? Looking at my bank interest, we're paying 4% yearly interest on our loan, which I think can be extended if worst comes to worst.. If we lease a harvester with a header, even for just an hour, we'll end up paying 5.1% of what the equipment is worth just for that. Granted, we might not need to pay for fuel and maintenance, but still, it looks like leasing will always be more expensive than taking up a loan, if we need the equipment at least an hour every year.

We could of course just take up the loan, but the profit seems very marginal here, so we're afraid it might eat up some or even all and then some of the profit. We don't yet have hard numbers of what our incomes and expenses will be, but we will like to try and avoid loaning as much as possible until we see the profit margin is within reason.

But then we see that there are actually a few pieces of used vehicles for sale too.

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The economy is so tight on hard in FS22. Maintenance costs are through the roof, and there's additional gear needed to handle stones and possibly rolling/munching. In addition some of the cheapest gear from FS19 is no longer available as an option in FS22. So ended up including a few mods with subpar equipment, on par with what was available in FS19, like the TX32 here.

A cheap harvester for sale used.. That was amazingly lucky.. Also a simple plow that will likely come in handy. Sadly only 3 pieces of equipment in the used store, and it seems the stock only replenish about once a month. While waiting for our field to be ready for harvest though, we find some more gear available in October.

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What's a Claas tractor doing out here? Never mind, as it's looking like a great option for us. Granted, it is a bit more expensive than the cheapest options available here at $39.000, but it has 145 hp and can later be upgraded, and in addition also can equip narrows, have front 3 point and PTO and can also use a front loader. A scoop ;D

We repair the harvester and the tractor immediately. $1027 to repair the harvester and $480 to repair the tractor. They weren't in too bad shape to begin with. The harvester was only 11 months old, and the tractor 2 years and 5 months.

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At this time we need to start harvesting our field, so we buy a new TX32 header and a trailer. We go for an Orkel TX130 (From Orkel TX130 mod, just as a variation to the Strautmann). It looks flexible for various use cases, and got a non swirling axle, so we can manage to back it up. And we can get it for $9.500, just $500 more than the Strautmann. After that we're left with $26.545 credits. Not much at all :/.. Well.. Lets have fun harvesting and think about economy later.

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Our first harvest ends up gathering 15968 liters of soybeans. Hopefully this should net us more than $16.000 next summer when we expect the soy prices to reach an annual top. Without any farm for ourself yet, we'll be storing it in the public railway silo. The town wants new farmers to the area and are letting us use it for free until we are established. Their railroad aren't transporting as much goods as it used to, so they have free capacity.

We measured our field to 1.945 hectares (threshedHectares from farms.xml in savegame), and accounting for the state of the field we harvested, we estimate soy yield to be 4487 liter/hectares (Before adjusting for yield bonuses).

After the harvest, we repaired our equipment. $98 for the tractor, $3 for the trailer, $39 for the harvester and $13 for the header.

I made a post viewtopic.php?p=1470215 that goes into details on maintenance cost, but basically, repair is a lot cheaper if you repair often, and used gear is especially cheap, as repair cost for some reason scales of the rebated price and not the new price there.

We see there's a used mulcher available in the store. Wonder if we should buy it. It looks like a good deal, but then a mulcher we can do without for a while. They say it can give another 2.5% bonus yield. If we plant soybeans again next year, our yield estimate should say we'll get 8727 liters of soy before accounting for yield bonus. 2.5% of that is 218 liters of soy, and that is only worth around $2200 or so. In addition mulching will cost maintenance and fuel for tractor and mulcher, so the profit gain will be considerably less. On the other hand, the mulcher for sale is only $10.535, so even if we finance it with a loan, the yearly interest of that will be only $421. We hope that there will be more than that left of the $2200 profit, so we're buying the mulcher to see if we can make a few dollars extra. (A Knoche Speedmax 560)
Last edited by humbe on Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:06 am

Had planned to buy a smaller mulcher, but as we found it on sale, we have something with working width above 3m. Yay ;) (Texture after harvesting soybeans makes it hopeless to see where we've mulched or not. Have tested on wheat, sorghum and canola before, and that looked different before and after.)

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After mulching we repaired tractor for $62 and mulcher for $224. I guess we forgot to repair mulcher right after we bought it used, so we don't know what came from mulching this field, and we'll be in the dark for the real profit here. Will measure again next year..
Last edited by humbe on Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:28 am

A word on mods and the challenge:

Trying to not use too many, as I wanna get a grasp of the base play here, and some of the mods might be killing the economic challenge too.. But using some.

Without any cheaper gear available, it is hard to start off arable farming without contracts income and/or without a noticeable loan that will cut deeply into already poor profits. Used sales are limited, so if going to use used equipment only I'd have to wait around for years to get enough equipment to start. Thus I did include some lower tier gear, to get a cheaper variant, that hopefully is also worse performing than what's in base game, so it doesn't feel wrong. The list might be extended later depending on how broke I get.
  • New Holland TX32 - Same as in FS19 as far as it looks to me.
  • Orkel TX 130 - A small trailer alternative to the Strautmann that was in base FS19.


Other utilitiy mods:
  • AICost - To reduce cost of AI helpers. The default of $1800 per hour is a ridiculous working wage, meaning I could not use AI at all.. However, I'm testing out various bits and want to be able to use AI helpers, so I've turned their wage down to a more realistic $18 per hour. (Modifying the value in the AICost a bit)
  • Sleep Anywhere - To be able to skip time when I want to. Not much going on for the whole season when starting out.
  • RealClock Mod - Shows the real clock up in the right corner, so I see when I need to go to bed in RL ;)
  • Player Position Saver - So I start of where I was when I saved and quit.
  • PlayerActionCamera - To make better screenshots for you, being able to take picture from elevated position.
  • Point Worshop Placeable - (Yes. There's a type in the mod name) - To make a simple, cheap, repair/customization point.
  • Realistic Cab View - To be able to lean forwards in cab to look down closer to tractor.


For the challenge, I'm playing start from scratch, leaving all options on defaults, such as hard economy, crop destruction, perodic plowing, lime, stone and weeds. Normal dirt and high fuel usage. Will not do any contracts at all, as contracts are risk-free extra income, which allows my main operation to not make money at all. Will see if it's viable to work fields for income on hard. If it isn't we'll see if we have to modify plan.

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:39 pm

After mulching the field, we plowed it.. Takes a while with a 2.5m working width plow, but field isn't that big.. Then the field is full of small rocks.. What do we do with those? Are we going to get a roller? A stone picker? Or just ignore them and hope it doesn't damage our gear much? Buying roller or stone pickers new seems to be really expensive at least.

We decide to let the field be and look out for used sales over the winter, and hope something interesting comes for sale. December, January and February pass without anything interesting, but in March we have some interesting options. There's a Kuhn Espro 6000 RC seeder at 63% rebated price. Yes.. Of course it's 3 years old and engine already have 39 hours on it, but it's affordable, and with it we can avoid having to cultivate before seeding. There's also a rock picker for sale, though I do not enjoy picking rocks at 2.4m working width. I'd rather get a roller which could be useful to create a seedbed too, but then a roller is expensive and we haven't seen one of those for sale. What to do..

With only $11987 left, we'll need to take up a bank loan to pay for more gear here, but this looks like too good a bargain to let go. Let's take up a loan and grab that great seeder. It says it requires 270 hp though, which will be a stretch for our 145 hp tractor. But our field is flat, so I suspect it will work out if we upgrade its engine at least. The rock picker is also calling to me as we have a field full of stone. But I don't think it'll pay itself back, so for now I think I'll just try and let the stones be and see if we can ignore them.

The seeder costs us 773 to repair. We also bought a bag of seeds and fertilizer to fill the seeder with. Our field doesn't require more lime yet, so maybe we can delay getting a fertilizer wagon, in which case, being able to fertilizer with seeder will be very useful.

As we're very low on horsepowers anyhow for the seeder, we also buy a front weight, to hopefully handle it a bit better. A Claas W900 should hopefully be good.

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This drill is awesome.. It's supposed to be able to operate at 17 kph, but as we're underpowered, we're managing 10-11 kph, but all the cheap seeders are max 12 kph anyhow and we're getting cultivation and fertilization done in the same pass, and having decent working width to boost. Seeding Oilseed Radish for cheap fert step here.. And fertilizing too as we go. Lets see if we can figure out how to turn fertilizer off for the second step when we're seeding our real crops..

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:14 am

Summer came and we got to sell soy from last year at a decent price. $21.152 for our 15969 liters of soy. We can thus pay back some of our loan and only have $20.000 left.

And then Autumn came and we harvested our soy, at 97.5% yield bonus (98% shown in game).. We got 17277 liter of soy this year, and calculated soy yield to then be 4499,584 liter/hectares before yield calculation, so pretty sure soy base yield then is 4500. That should hopefully give us a bit more next year. Our costs are low with used equipment and almost no loan, but with the current land and only arable farming, the income isn't much to call home for either. Next year we might be able to pay down most of our small loan, but at this rate it'll be 7+ years before we can afford to buy the farmyard, or another similarly sized field.

We seem to be getting decent amount of money for the harvest though, so maybe we can actually finance land buy with a loan, and still come out ahead. If we can manage to get something like 10% return of investment, and only pay 4% loan interest,

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:08 pm

Found a used hoe for sale, and was tempted to buy. But still a lot of money, and more than the simpler weeders new, so skipped it. But seems like using the new drill seeder I get weeds that skip the small weed stage, so with a weeder I need to weed before they get above ground. Not sure if that could be counted as an exploit or not. Kinda annoying weeding without seeing any effect on the field though, without jumping out of tractor and digging in the soil to inspect for weeds underground.

I've typically used a cultivator in FS19, but that brings up medium stones now (or did that change? I see academy says small ones), so think I'll stay with plows every 3rd year and disc harrows or drill seeders that seems to bring up no stones for the cultivation between plowing. But doing so might make weeds a bit annoying, so a hoe sounds like something we'd like long term.. Regretting a bit not buying it.

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:38 pm

More tempting used sales here.. A Bredal K165 -39% for $47309, and a Bergmann shuttle 490s loading wagon -60% rebate at $51398. A big loading wagon would make it a lot easier to deal with straw crops and get the straw outta there and sell it.. It requires 300 hp though, which may very well be too much of a stretch for our small tractor. And even though there's a large rebate it is still expensive for us now, and we can also try to stay away from straw crops a while longer.

The fertilizer cart is more interesting, as we likely soon need to apply lime. Fertilizing with it is likely cheaper than with our drill too, though it's nice to not need an extra pass for it. In FS19 I believe the K165 lacked narrow wheel options, and thus I preferred the K105.. But now I see this one has narrow wheel option too. It is a lot more expensive than the K105 too though. I can buy a new K105 with size extension for a bit cheaper. Decisions decisions.. I might regret this, but I think I'll let it go. A new K105 is a good option too, if I don't see it again later in the used store.

June gets here, and we get $24530 for our crop from last year. Still got $20.000 in loan after though, as we bought a weeder, and got tempted to buy a Claas front loader when it was for sale used so we could get it for half price. $1490 per liter soy price. Not bad..

Soon August is here.. In a few months time we can harvest again.. And next summer we can sell that and pay back the rest of the loan. But a bit sad to be only able to make like $20.000 a year, having to go 7-8 years with that until we can get another decent field.. Considering loaning money to buy land. Apart from land, all we are lacking in equipment for strawless grains is a fertilizer cart. If we buy a plot of land now, we can sow canola on it.

humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Wed Jan 19, 2022 10:33 pm

Ended up buying field 39 entirely loan funded. Lets see if we can manage to get more than 4% return of it and make money a bit faster. It'll be a lot more work though, where much of the profit is eaten up by loan. Farmers around here doesn't seem to bother with their fields, so they're crops are all withered. We thus had no crops to harvest when buying it.. I guess we coulda mulched the withered crops though, but we forgot. After sowing Canola, we were soon back to harvesting our soy.

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We afforded us an upgrade for our trailer, so we could fill it a bit more before having to drive to the railway silo. We see that we now need to lime our original field, but we have no tool for it.. Regretting not buying that K165 a bit, but I guess we can delay until spring and watch used sales and see if we get lucky...

Actually we did.. Was hoping for a K105 on sale, but got another K165 that was older than the last one, so cheaper to buy. Massive trailer behind our tractor.. But with 145 hp we manage to drive 17 kph so shouldn't cost us much extra in lime..

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humbe
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Re: A farm blog - FS22 Elms Creek start from scratch in hard economy

Post by humbe » Fri Jan 21, 2022 9:12 pm

And here is our setup.. All our gear, and the tent where we sleep.

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First harvest of the new big field sold. Time for a summup:
  • Aug 2000: We started up with $300.000 starting funds.
  • Nov 2000: Our first field had a ready harvest of soy, getting us $19.753. All in all, our asset report shows we then had $317.519.
  • Oct 2001: We harvested our first own sown field, now with higher yield. We estimate a bit more sell price next summer, so our asset report now shows $335.860. A total of $18.341 gain through a years operation.
  • Oct 2002: We harvested our second year. Our asset report now shows $348.121. Only $12.261 earnings this year. Not entirely sure why so much less. We've bought some used gear in the meantime, which may affect our earnings report. At this time we also bought the huge field causing us to loan up to $400000. And a bit more later.
  • Jul 2003: We sold our soy at this time. Loan is up to $425.000, after paying back what we could after selling, though we did shell out for a fertilizer cart in the spring, so it was higher. At this time our asset report shows $359.996. Up quite a bit from harvest 2002. I guess we got more for the soy than we expected.
  • Dec 2012: Canola price wasn't great at slightly above 800, so we got less than we expected for it. After selling our canola, our loan is down to $405.000 and our asset report up to $377.567. That's just $29.446 up since we bought the field. I guess most of the profit went into loan payments, but we did make a ~$10.000 profit more getting the field loan financed when we did with a good year on just the old field.
$29.446 is starting to become a wage we can live of, though we want to use as much as possible to pay back loan so we can get a higher profit. In the year with the large field and large loan, we payed $22.662 in loan interest. If we manage to pay back the loan, that would make a decent yearly profit. It'll take us more than 10 years at this rate to pay it back though.


For now we'll leave this save be. Have gotten to test some bits.. Want to test out the new UK map instead.. Could possibly return here, but we'll see..

Some conclusions:

  • It is possible to make a profit higher than loan interest arable farming on hard difficulty.
  • Profit is however very small, and with little starting funds, it's very slow going to begin with.
  • Buying used equipment helps a lot on the expense side. Just have to repair often.



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