A Pile or Heap is a physical object in Farming Simulator 17 that is created whenever any machine or other game effect dumps loose cargo onto the ground. Each Pile contains a certain amount of one particular material.
More of the same material can be dumped directly onto a Pile, causing it to grow in size. Material can be removed from the Pile using special machines like Loaders, Loading Wagons or Conveyor Belts. Two or more existing Piles containing the same material can be combined together into a single, larger pile using a variety of methods. Piles containing different materials do not interact with one another, and will never mix together.
Piles in Farming Simulator 17 are expanded greatly from previous versions of the game, where only certain materials could be dumped on the ground (particularly Straw, Grass and Potatoes), in very specific locations, and only very few machines could create or work with them. In FS17 most types of loose cargo, including all types of Crops, can be dumped on the ground to create a Pile; they can be dumped almost anywhere on the map; and almost any machine that can store loose solid material can now dump that material out as a Pile. A few game effects also create Piles autonomously over time, such as Animal Pens creating piles of Animal Dirt.
Player-generated Piles can be used to store large quantities of material outside of a Silo. In the base game, these piles are not affected by weather. Their only disadvantage is that it takes more work to load the contents of a Pile back into a container than it is to fill up at a Silo.
Piles appeared as a gameplay concept in previous versions of Farming Simulator (particularly Farming Simulator 15), where they were created during the Harvesting process ("Straw Swath") and the mowing of grass; when dumping Potatoes, Beets and Wood Chips in the designated storage sheds at the farm; and during the process of creating silage. These piles functioned much the same as they do in Farming Simulator 17, but there were very few ways to interact with Piles.
The concept was greatly expanded in Farming Simulator 17. Now it is possible for almost any cargo-carrying machine to dump its cargo on the ground, creating a Pile of materials. A variety of machines have been added to interact with Piles, including ways to reshape piles, combine them together, or load them back into containers or other machines.
When cargo is dumped on the ground by any method, the game automatically creates a world object to contain it. This object's size and shape is determined by the amount of material it contains. Very small piles are little more than a flat patch of material on the ground; Larger piles become naturally conical,and grow taller and taller as more material is dumped in. The game uses a physics simulation to keep the sides of the pile from becoming too steep.
Piles are physical, tangible world objects. Both the player avatar (the farmer) and the various vehicles and machines in the game will walk/drive over a pile rather than through it, as though the pile was part of the terrain. The pressure from a machine driving over a pile can actually cause it to flatten out, taking up more horizontal space but becoming less steep/tall. This is extremely important in processes like creating Silage, where vehicles need to drive over the pile repeatedly to flatten it out as much as possible.
The game tracks the exact size and shape of each and every Pile on the map accurately, and will save that data to the savegame files so that the piles remain exactly the same unless deliberately altered by the player or the game in any way.
A Pile can only contain one material (whichever material was used when creating the pile in the first place). Any attempt to add another material to the pile will instead create a second pile next to it for that material. Any attempt to combine two piles of different materials will fail, at most pushing the two piles closer together but never combining them. Any machine attempting to collect materials from two piles simultaneously will only collect from one pile (with a few notable exceptions).
Valid Materials Edit
In Farming Simulator 17 Piles can be created from any loose solid cargo material. This includes all of the following:
- Sugar Beet
- Solid Fertilizer
- Wood Chips
- Total Mixed Ration
- Pig Food
A Pile can only contain one type of material. Pouring another material onto the pile would instead create a second, separate pile for that material next to the first pile. Two piles of different materials can never mix; If pushed together (e.g. by a Leveler) they will refuse to mix and will remain separate.
There is no way to measure the amount of material in a Pile, other than by collecting it all.
Creating Piles Edit
Piles can be created in the world either by automatic processes or as a result of a deliberate player action. The resulting Piles are functionally identical.
A Pile is created as soon as loose material is placed or dumped on the ground. There is no minimum amount of material that must be dumped in order to create a pile - even 1 liter of material is enough.
Piles can be created almost anywhere on the map. Exceptions include asphalt roads and other permanent public spaces on the map (e.g. in town), inside bodies of water, the main asphalt courtyard of your farm, and specific places where dumping materials causes another effect instead (e.g. Sale Points, Feeding Troughs). Piles can be freely created on fields, including on growing crops, without causing any damage or interfering with the field's growth.
Automatic Piles Edit
Several gameplay features create Piles automatically, without any direct input from the player. They include the following:
- Animal Pens that contain any number of animals create Animal Dirt piles over time, in a designated area right in front of the Feeding Troughs. Every X minutes of game-time, a new pile is created inside the designated dirt area, containing a small amount of basic food material corresponding to what the animal normally eats, e.g. Grass at the Pasture. Once the pen reaches 100% Dirtiness, it will cease to create any more Animal Dirt piles until some of them are collected or moved away.
- Manure is also created at certain Animal Pens, as long as the animals have Straw bedding. A single pile of Manure will appear in a designated area, typically a concrete bay next to the pen. This pile (and the amount of material inside it) will grow as more and more Manure is created, up to a given limit.
During the harvesting of Wheat and Barley, it is possible to set the Harvester to create a "Straw Swath". When this setting is enabled, the harvester will leave behind a long "trail" comprised of numerous Piles, each containing a small amount of Straw.
The same effect happens when cutting Grass with a Mower, leaving a long trail of numerous Loose Grass piles. However unlike Harvesters, each mower head leaves behind its own trail. For example, a tractor using three mower heads will leave behind three distinct trails.
Tedders and Windrowers also leave behind trails of Piles, although they are essentially converting pile materials and rearranging tiles, respectively. A Tedder changes the content of each Pile it touches from Grass to Hay without changing the amount of material; whereas a Windrower simply combines all Piles it touches at the same time into a single pile, leaving a new trail that contains all of the material from the original piles.
New in Farming Simulator 17 is the ability to dump the contents of a machine out on the ground. Nearly any machine that can carry or contain loose solid materials can dump its contents this way. Dumping content creates a new Pile, or adds material to an existing Pile, as appropriate.
Containers, and especially Tippers and Loading Wagons, dump their cargo out of a designated door. Some models have multiple doors, which allows the player to decide which side of the container to dump through.
Most other machines, particularly Havesters and Auger Wagons, dump their cargo out of their main hose as in the same way as they would dump into another machine. This allows great precision when dumping, especially when using machines whose output pipe can be controlled and moved manually.
Finally, Farming Simulator 17 offers a variety of Conveyor Belts designed to move cargo from place to place. It is possible to set the final piece in the chain to dump its cargo on the ground. This is primarily useful when shifting a pile to a different location, or when you want to have an easy access point for machines to dump their cargo onto the belt and have it immediately transported to a less-reachable location to create a new pile or add to an existing one. The Vertical Belt pieces are specifically designed to be able to create very large and wide piles at the destination.
Note that dumping has to conform to the valid placement rules. If attempting to dump materials at an invalid location, no materials will be dumped (or lost) until the machine's output point is moved to a valid location (usu. by moving the machine itself).
Adding Materials Edit
When dumping materials (by any method described in the prev. section) onto an existing pile, instead of creating a new pile the game will simply add the materials into the existing pile, making it larger.
This only occurs when the material int he pile is identical to the material being dumped on top of it. The game is not capable of combining or mixing materials in a single pile, nor is that a desirable outcome to begin with. If attempting to pour a different material onto an existing pile, it will simply create a new pile of that material next to the existing one.
As the pile grows in size, the game automatically monitors and adjusts its shape to make sure that it is not too steep. Piles have a certain maximum slope angle, and if that angle is surpassed the materials will simply spill down the side of the slope - making the pile wider instead of taller. Thus, a large pile will have roughly the same shape as a smaller pile.
Removing Materials Edit
The game offers quite a few methods for removing materials from a Pile. Each method requires different tools, and is typically useful for different purposes.
When removing materials from a pile by any method, the amount collected into the machine is identical to the amount removed from the pile - nothing is ever lost.
If the pile at any point contains 0 materials, it simply disappears from the game.
- Loaders are a common way to clear piles. The loader must be fitted with a Loading Tool that can carry the materials in the pile, otherwise it will not interact with the pile at all (instead colliding with it like a solid object). If the tool is valid, it will instead remove materials from the pile upon touching it. This will make the pile proportionally smaller (or make it disappear entirely, if it becomes empty). The loader can then dump the materials into a container, or create a new pile elsewhere. Buckets and Manure Forks are the most commonly-used tools for this purpose.
- Loading Wagons function similarly to Loading Tools, except they must be turned on and driven over the pile in order to collect the materials. Loading Wagons can only carry a very specific set of materials, and will not interact with any other type of pile. They are mostly used to collect the trails of Grass, Hay and Straw left behind by the appropriate machines, but can technically be used collect from any other type of pile that contains those materials.
- Pickup Headers installed on Forage Harvesters perform the same function as a Loading Wagon, although their use is radically different. Read the article on Pickup Headers for more details.
- Pickup Belts are specifically designed to collect materials from a pile and dump them onto a Conveyor Belt system in order to move it elsewhere or load it back into a container. They require some effort and money to set up, but after that can do the same job as a Loader except much more rapidly.
Note that Levelers also technically collect materials from Piles, except they cannot hold on to that material. Thus, they are used to reshape piles instead, as explained in the next section below.
Reshaping Piles Edit
One important factor about Piles is that they take up valuable space. Since large Piles are essentially physical obstacles that could be difficult to navigate over or around, it is often necessary to reshape a pile in order to make sure it doesn't interfere with the movement of vehicles, other piles, etc. Furthermore, in the process of creating Silage it is of paramount importance to maintain a flat pile, as explained below.
The simplest, but most time consuming method to reshape a pile is to collect the materials from it and dump them elsewhere on the pile. This can be done in any of the ways described above. For example, you could use a Loader with a Bucket to scoop up an errant part of the pile that has spilled unto a access road, and dump it on the other side of the pile to keep it out of the way.
The least time consuming way to reshape a pile is to use a dedicated tool called a Leveler. This is a shovel similar to those used on bulldozers, with which a tractor or other similar vehicle can push parts of the pile. The Leveler works like a Bucket, except it cannot actually hold onto any materials; Instead it will automatically dump whatever materials it is carrying as long as there is room for them underneath the leveler. The size of the leveler determines how much material it can contain before it stops interacting with the pile and must be dumped out.
Finally, as explained below, it may sometimes be necessary to flatten a pile to ensure that it is not too steep. This can be done by simply driving any vehicle over the pile. The heavier the vehicle, the more effect it'll have. When a vehicle drives over the pile, the game attempts to relocate the materials at the top of the pile off to the sides, widening the pile while making it shorter in height. This spreads the pile out, taking up more space, but reduces the steepness of its sides. When done correctly, the result is a pile that can easily be driven over by vehicles - a very important part of the process when creating Silage.
Silage Piles Edit
In order to create Silage, it is necessary to dump a large quantity of input material (typically Chaff) inside the Silage Bunker, compress that material down by driving over it repeatedly, and finally cover it with tarpaulin to allow the natural process to turn the material into Silage. However, the bunker is a narrow space flanked by concrete walls on both sides, and dumping a large quantity of materials on spot can form a very steep pile that vehicles will be unable to drive over - making it difficult if not impossible to compress the pile and start the fermentation process.
Therefore, after dumping materials into a Silage Bunker, you'll need to use one or more of the methods described above to flatten the pile as much as possible, making it easier for vehicles to drive back and forth over it.
The best tool for this job is a heavy Wheel Loader equipped with a Leveler. With this setup, you can use the Leveler to push materials off the top of the pile to make it flatter, then use the vehicle's own weight to flatten it even further by driving over it. This also has the side-effect of compressing the pile, which is a necessary step before you can start the fermentation. The Leveler can also be used to easily push any materials back into the silage bunker if any of it spills out while the pile is being flattened.
The desired outcome of this is a flat, low pile covering most or all of the silage bunker's floor, while not having any steep peaks that could interfere with vehicular movement. When done correctly, it will allow additional trucks to come in and easily pour more material onto the pile without struggling to climb any steep peaks - and will also bring you some way towards 100% compression of the pile. Repeat the process until the bunker is full and the pile is as flat as you can manage; and then simply drive back and forth over it with a heavy vehicle (the Wheel Loader is very suitable for this job) until the material reaches 100% compression. This method also makes it easier to later collect the resulting Silage from the bunker when it's ready.
Using Piles for Storage Edit
There are certain processes in the game that generate piles by default, and the process of creating Silage in bulk necessitates creating piles. However beyond these mandatory pile-related activities there are also possible reasons to create piles voluntarily in order to store materials outside. This has advantages and disadvantages compared to other storage methods.
Crop Piles Edit
With Crops and Wood Chips, you have the choice of storing the product of your harvest in your Silo or at nearby Train Stations. However in both cases the drive from the field to the storage facility is time-consuming (especially when the Harvester also needs to be unloaded constantly to continue the harvest uninterrupted). Furthermore, the storage space in these facilities is limited, and while the Silo can be expanded in size this costs a lot of money and physical space at your farm. One alternative is to store your crops in Containers until it can be taken to a sale point - but containers are very expensive and cannot hold a lot of material.
The other alternative is to use Piles. The harvester itself can taken to dump its material each time it is filled up, in a large pile just off the field. It can also be dumped out right on the field itself, although this can interfere with the harvest and is not advised. Instead, the harvester can dump its contents into a Tipper as normal, and then that Tipper can be taken off the field to dump the crops there.
A Crop pile has no practical limit to its size or capacity, so even a huge field's output can be stored in a single massive pile without any problem. The crop pile will not go bad regardless of weather, waiting until the price of the crop rises enough to make it suitably profitable.
The best way to collect the crops back from the pile is to set up a Conveyor Belt system next to the dumping spot. The only pieces required are a Pickup Belt and a Vertical Belt connected together. When a valid Container is towed underneath the Vertical Belt, it will automatically suck materials out of the pile and fill the container. You can quickly fill several containers this way with very little effort. When more crops are collected, you simply need to dump them close to the Pickup Belt's input area for them to load automatically into the belt system. With just two belt pieces required (using the pieces available in the base game), this entire system costs only $17,000.
Unstorable Crops Edit
Some Crops cannot be stored at the farm Silo at all, including both Potatoes and Sugar Beets. The only closed storage option available for these crops is a Train Station, and these have a limited storage capacity that cannot be expanded.
As a result, long-term storage of these crops requires the creation of Piles at least temporarily, in the same way described above for regular crops. However, since unstorable crops are designed to require this, the game also features several additional machines to make the process of collecting the piles much simpler.
Firstly, a Pallet Packer can be used to transform the contents of the pile into Pallets very quickly. A single Conveyor Belt piece (specifically, the cheapest piece, a Pickup Belt) can automatically suck up any amount of these crops straight from a pile into the Packer, which will automatically generate Pallets of the appropriate material. These can then be stored in stacks taking up much less space than a Pile, or loaded unto a Bale Trailer for sale or storage.
Secondly, a Sugar Beet Collector can be used to very quickly perform the same job as an entire Conveyor Belt system to load a Pile of Sugar Beets into a Container. It is a very expensive machine compared to conveyor belts, but can move quickly to another field if necessary. Another disadvantage is that it cannot work with any other crop.
Seeds and Solid Fertilizer Edit
Seeds and Solid Fertilizer are two of the most important materials in the game. However both materials can only be purchased at the store in town, in Pallet form. Taking the pallets as they are to the farm or to the machines that use them is a very long and involved process which requires using a Loader to stack them up on a vehicle, then carefully transporting them to the destination and unloading them there in one way or another.
A good alternative to that method is to emptying them into a Tipper, and then dumping the material on the ground at the destination in a large Pile. The process of emptying Pallets into a Tipper is significantly quicker, and Tippers are significantly easier to move around. The resulting pile can then be shoveled into Sowing Machines and Fertilization Machines as necessary. Alternatively, a simple Conveyor Belt system can be set up to automatically pick up the seeds/fertilizer from the ground and dump them straight into any machine that is brought to the pile. This is possibly the cheapest way to create and manage a Seed/Fertilizer refilling point at your farm or near the fields themselves.
Of course, this method is rivaled by Auger Wagons, which can cut out the need to create Piles at all. A single Auger Wagon can both store these materials and dispense them automatically to any valid container. Furthermore, the Auger Wagon can be moved freely to wherever its contents are required. Auger Wagons also take significantly less space than a large seed/fertilizer Pile. Nevertheless, the Pile method does have two important advantages: There is no limit to the size of a pile; And the Conveyor Belt pieces required to efficiently draw materials from a Pile are much cheaper than any Auger Wagon.
Animal Feed Edit
Beyond the need for Straw and Water, Animals require also one or more materials as feed (typically Crops and/or Grass). These materials must be periodically dumped into the animals' Feeding Trough to make sure that they remain productive. In the base game, there are no storage facilities near any of the Animal Pens, which poses a problem.
It is of course possible to store these materials in Containers next to the animal pens. However Containers cost quite a bit of money, and can only store a limited amount of materials each. If several different materials are required as feed, you will need one container for each material as well.
The alternative is to simply dump the materials in piles close to the Feeding Trough. A Loader with a Bucket can then be used to scoop materials up from the appropriate pile and dump them straight into the trough. A few scoops are typically enough to satisfy the animals for several days. The best type of dedicated Loader for this task is usually a Front Loader, which can also handle various other tasks around the animal pen as required.
Alternatively, Conveyor Belts can be used to connect the piles directly to the Feeding Trough. If properly connected, such a belt system will automatically draw materials from the pile and dump them into the trough whenever there is room inside. However this method can take up a lot of space, which is typically very limited around the animal pens in the base game maps. It can make movement around the pen area very difficult if not outright impossible without moving the belts out of the way each time a vehicle needs to pass through.