Purchasing Cows Edit
Cows may be purchased at the store, under the "Animals" category. Each cow costs $2,500
Purchased cows will automatically be placed in your Cow Pasture. Don't worry if the cows that you have brought do not appear in their pasture, to save on resources the game will only render around a dozen cows, but it will still take into account as many cows as you've bought when determining their production and consumption rates.
You may sell cows for $1,250 - half their purchase value.
Each Cow has an upkeep cost of $40 per day. If the Cows are cared for in any way (whether by feeding them or bedding their shed with Straw), they will give a net profit through the Milk that they produce. If left without any feed or straw, however, Cows cost more in upkeep than they bring in profits - a net loss of around $6 per day
Cows are responsible for creating three types of materials: By default, they only produce Milk, and in small quantities. Getting cows to produce more Milk, and/or Manure and Slurry, requires extra work and materials, and is essential for making any profit off cattle at all.
Regardless of anything else, each Cow will produce a set amount of Milk per day, based on the current Productivity value. All produced Milk will accumulate into the Milk Tank at the Cow Pasture. All Milk in the tank is sold automatically at midnight each day, for the price of exactly $1 per liter on the easy difficulty.
The Milk Tank cannot be accessed or manipulated in any way. The only way to check the amount of Milk that has accumulated so far is through the information screen, under the "Cows" subheading. In FS15, you can drive or walk up to the milk tank and see how much Milk has accumulated.
As long as the cow shed contains any Straw Bedding (see below), each cow will also produce a set amount of Manure. Manure is a type of fertilizer that can save you a lot of money (since it's basically free). However, it is generated much slower than Slurry (see below), and the range of equipment for using it is somewhat limited. Manure will collect in a small enclosure next to the Cow Pasture.
As long as the cows are being fed - on any substance (see below) - each cow will also produce a set amount of Slurry. Slurry can be used as a fertilizer, and is especially effective due to the equipment available to haul it in bulk directly to the field. Slurry will accumulate in a special tank at the Cow Pasture, which looks different on each of the default maps.
This important value tracks the relative rate of production for your Cows. The higher the Productivity value, the more Milk your cows will produce. Note that the amount of Manure and/or Slurry produced, if any, is not affected by the Productivity value.
The productivity value is tracked for all cows as a group, rather than individually. Each Cow will produce the same amount of Milk each day as all other Cows you own.
When initially purchased, cows have a productivity rating of only 5%. In order to increase productivity, cows can be fed on a variety of feed types (with different feeds and combinations of feed providing different productivity bonuses), and Straw may be spread within their shed for an extra small bonus. The highest productivity rating possible is 100%, which requires cows to be fed on Total Mixed Ration, and their shed to be bedded with Straw. The following sections explain how this is done.
Again, the Productivity value only affects the amount of Milk produced each day, by each Cow. The table below shows the approximate amount of Milk produced this way, depending on what type of care you have given to your Cattle:
|Feed||Productivity||Milk per Cow per Day|
|Grass OR Silage||35%||237|
|Grass OR Silage, w/ Straw Bedding||44%||300|
|Grass AND Silage||70%||472|
|Grass AND Silage, w/ Straw Bedding||80%||550|
|Total Mixed Ration||90%||607|
|Total Mixed Ration, w/ Straw Bedding||100%||674|
Notes on Table
- Remember that each Cow has a maintenance cost of $40 per day.
- At 5% feed, Milk production is not sufficient to offset each Cow's maintenance costs, resulting in a net loss.
- All figures are approximate, and probably rounded from the actual numbers.
Cows can be fed in order to increase their productivity level (generating more Milk per day), as well as to produce Slurry. Cows may be fed any of three different substances: Grass, Silage, or Total Mixed Ration. Hay can substitute for Grass, but provides no benefit despite the extra work required to produce it.
Feeding cows can be an expensive and time consuming task. If cows are not fed at all, they will have a very low productivity rate of 5% (i.e., making 5% of their potential amount of Milk per day), and will not produce any Slurry whatsoever. Productivity will increase as soon as the cows have something to eat; the productivity depends on what kind of feed they are given, and whether or not the cow shed has Straw Bedding (see below). As long as any type of food is available, each Cow will also produce a set amount of Slurry.
To feed the cows with any substance, that substance must be dumped into the trough at the Cow Pasture. A map may have more than one such trough, but all food dumped into any trough ends up in the same place anyway.
- Main article: Grass (Farming Simulator 15) The easiest way to keep cows fed is to feed them mowed Grass. This substance can be acquired by mowing fresh grass using a Mower, collecting it with a Loading Wagon, and unloading the wagon directly into the trough at the Cow Pasture. While cows are feeding on Grass, their productivity increases to 35% if no Straw Bedding is available, or 44% if Bedding is available.
Loose Hay can be used instead of Grass, to achieve the same exact result. The game does not distinguish between Hay and Grass for straight cow-feeding purposes, despite the extra effort required to create Hay.
While there is any Grass in the feeding trough, it will be consumed at a rate of 151 liters per Cow, per day, until it has all run out. Note that if there is any amount of Total Mixed Ration in the trough, Grass will not be consumed at all.
- Main article: Silage (Farming Simulator 15) Silage is a more complicated feed to produce. It is just as effective as Grass when fed to cows on its own.
Silage is created by dumping Grass or Chaff into a fermentation bunker in large quantities, covering that bunker with plastic, and then waiting for the material to ferment (a process that can take several game-world hours). Silage can then be picked up with a Front Loader and universal bucket, or similar equipment, and dumped into the cows' feeding trough.
Another method of acquiring Silage is to ferment round bales of Hay by wrapping them in plastic using a Bale Wrapper. This instantly turns the Hay bale into a Silage bale of the same volume (4,000 liters).
While cows are feeding on Silage alone, their productivity will be 35% if no Straw Bedding is available, or 44% if Bedding is available.
While there is any Silage in the feeding trough, it will be consumed at a steady rate of around 114 liters per Cow, per day, until it has all run out. Note that if there is any amount of Total Mixed Ration in the trough, Silage will not be consumed at all.
Grass and Silage Edit
Whenever the feeding trough contains both Grass and Silage at the same time, cows will consume both substances, raising their productivity to 70% if no Straw Bedding is available, or 80% if Bedding is available.
This is the most efficient type of feed that does not require a Mixer Wagon or Straw.
Total Mixed Ration Edit
- Main article: Total Mixed Ration (Farming Simulator 15)
Total Mixed Ration is the most effective, but most time-consuming type of feed. It is a specially-made mixture of Grass and Silage, with the optional addition of Straw. It can only be made using a Mixer Wagon. When the wagon contains the proper ratio of these substances, the resulting TMR can be dumped into the feeding trough.
While the feeding trough contains any TMR, the cows will consume only this substance. Their productivity will rise to 90% if no Straw Bedding is available, or 100% if Bedding is available. TMR is the only way to achieve 100% productivity.
While there is any TMR in the feeding trough, it will be the only material consumed. Any Grass or Silage present will not be consumed until the TMR runs out. TMR is consumed at a steady rate of 250 liters per Cow, per day.
Slurry Production Edit
- Main article: Slurry (Farming Simulator 15)
As long as there is at least one type of feed in the cow troughs, Cows will produce Slurry - a fairly-efficient type of fertilizer. The rate of production of this fertilizer is exactly 236 liters per Cow, per day. It is not affected by your Cattle's Productivity value.
Slurry will collect into a special tank next to the cow pasture. In Westbridge Hills it is a large black open-top tank next to the fence on the northern side of the pasture. In Bjornholm it is an underground tank, right next to the entrance to the cow shed, with a little red pump next to a boarded-up hole in the ground.
From this tank, Slurry can be loaded directly into Slurry Spreaders, or ferried by large tankers to the field. The base game even provides a very large field tank, so that the fertilizer can be stored close to the work areas. Note that the Slurry tank at the Cow Pasture can only hold up to 1,200,000 liters of Slurry at any time. If it reaches this limit, Slurry production will be put on hold until room is made for more Slurry.
This combination of a "free" fertilizer (essentially a simple byproduct of feeding your cows) with a good variety of equipment to utilize and transport it, makes Slurry one of the most cost-efficient fertilizers in the game. It does have several downsides, such as needing to wait for it to be produced in large enough quantities. However, if you're also running a Silage production operation, the Slurry at the Cow Pasture can simply be an extra addition to the copious amounts of Slurry already being produced at the Bio Gas Plant.
As explained in the previous section, Straw Bedding can be introduced into the cow shed in order to boost productivity by a small amount. In addition, Straw Bedding is required for cows to produce any Manure.
Straw is created by harvesting a Wheat or Barley field with a Harvester that is set to create a "Straw Swath". This leaves a trail of Straw on the ground behind the harvester. The straw is a completely free byproduct of harvesting these crops. Straw can then be picked up in loose form by a Loading Wagon, or in bale form by a Baler.
Loading Wagons can unload Straw directly into the cow shed by driving right next to it. If in bale-form, the Straw must first be dropped into a Bale Shredder or Mixer Wagon, and then unloaded into the cow shed.
While the cow shed contains any amount of Straw, the Productivity rating of your cows will rise by a certain small amount, depending on what the cows are eating at the time:
The amount of straw is calculated using a ratio: straw:cow - 300:5 Meaning that you need approximately 300 litres of straw every 5 cows that you own.
Example: 5 cows = 300 litres - 10 cows = 600 litres - 15 cows = 900 litres - 20 cows = 1200 litres - etc.
|Feed||Produc. W/O Straw Bedding||Produc. W/ Straw Bedding||Difference|
|Grass OR Silage||35%||44%||9%|
|Grass AND Silage||70%||80%||10%|
|Total Mixed Ration||90%||100%||10%|
The amount of Straw in the cow shed will decrease over time, at a constant rate of 75 liters per Cow, per day. Once the Straw runs out, the cows' productivity will drop as appropriate, and the cows will cease producing Manure.
Manure Production Edit
- Main article: Manure (Farming Simulator 15)
As long as there is any Straw left inside the cow shed, your cows will produce Manure. This substance is a fertilizer, which accumulates in a small enclosure next to the Cow Pasture, over time. Manure is produced at a steady rate of around 190 liters per Cow, per day. It is not affected by the Cattle's Productivity value.
Manure is a poor fertilizer in terms of efficiency. Although it is entirely free once produced by Cows (requiring only Straw Bedding, which is also free), the amount of work involved is substantial. Furthermore, it is slower to produce compared to Slurry (see above), and a large number of Cows will need to be purchased and cared for in order to produce large enough quantities for fertilizing even medium-sized fields, within any reasonable period of time.
Finally, the equipment that spreads Manure on the field is not quite up to par: It can only be filled with a Front Loader (which you'll need to use manually to shovel Manure from the enclosure into the spreader), and it will need constant refilling - which requires driving all the way back to the Pasture each time.