Comparison between buying and selling equipment for a contract, leasing the equipment, and borrowing it from the contractor.
Guide to Cultivating Contracts
Hello farmers, I was told by quite a couple of people that cultivating contracts are a good way to make some money since there's no upfront costs like you get with for example fertilizing or sowing contracts.
And at first glance it seems to be great money but I still want to put this to the test and this will be where I share my findings with you, so if you're interested in my findings read on, if not that's fine no hard feelings.
The contract I chose was a very big field, it was a massive 818 ha for $539.938.
It took 27.9 hours of cultivating, which was done in 2 in-game days at realtime game speed, spread out over several real life days and at this point in the above picture the contract was done.
I bought a Fendt 1050 and a Flexicoil ST820 for a total of 553k.
I chose the Fendt 1050 because it had over 500 horsepower that the ST820 required and for the least amount of money.
Profit When Buying and Selling Equipment
Now you might think $540k reward divided by 27.9 hours so you earned $19.354 per hour that's great!
However let's consider the following... Let's say I bought my equipment just for this contract, or for this amount of time, putting it like that that would be more accurate, and then I sold it after 27.9 hours of non stop working it, no time spend driving around from field to field just non stop working hours.
My initial purchase cost is $553k after 27.9 hours of use which is less than 5% of it's lifetime my equipment would sell back for $150.396.
That's a $402.604 loss on equipment in the case of buying it and selling it after the contract (or multiple contracts, the time used is what really matters) so:
540k - 402k results in around ~138k profit for the 27.9 hours cultivating, that's around ~$4946 per hour cultivating by hand.
However there's one more problem with this, it doesn't account for fuel and repairs, which is quite a bit I didn't quite keep track, however it wouldn't be much of a stretch if I said it cost me around 25-30k but it's probably a bit more, my log is too convoluted with repairs from other equipment to extract something accurate, I really wish I kept track of this!
The last thing missing are helper costs, personally I did not spend on a helper so I can't provide accurate numbers for that but most people will probably be hiring workers and I would probably guess spending $250 an hour on a helper would maybe come close, so let's assume that's another ~$7k in that time span.
The actual profit in those cases would be closer to $100k which is around $3600 an hour.
So is it worth using your own equipment on cultivating contracts? I don't believe so!
Profit When Leasing Equipment
Now let's look at the leasing costs and the profits.
Initial leasing costs combined is $28.203.
I spend 2 in game days so that's a total of $11060, game speed is really important here, if you play on 5x that would be 5x more.
Now for the hours, I stayed under 28, even though it's barely it would still only charge me for 27 hours so that's the number I'll use here. 27 * (7707 + 3906) is $313.551 + $28.203 + $11060 = $352.814 spend on equipment for this contract.
Which is already less than the 402k I lost on buying and selling the equipment so:
540k - 353k and the result would be around ~$187k now lets subtract about 38k in fuel and repairs and helper cost like I did in the buying/selling section which makes the actual profit around $149k or around ~$5340 per hour.
Leasing in this case would be better than buying and reselling the equipment after 27.9 hours. This might not always be true, especially not if you play on 5x or higher game speed and if you leased for very small fields or I should say for very short amounts of time, because the initial leasing cost could be higher than the actual money you earn. But in theory if you leased for this amount of time, and played on realtime speed you will still be making more money on contract work when you lease as opposed to buying your equipment.
Profit When Borrowing Equipment
Now I had the chance when I first started this contract to borrow the same cultivator however I believe it was a different tractor either way it was only about 90k to do so. At the time I didn't think I'd note all this down so no screenshot available, however, I don't think I even need to do the calculations here, I mean 90k on equipment costs and the advantage of not having any repair costs alone already shows it's a clear winner by miles! (No pun intended)
I believe it's safe to conclude that when doing cultivating contracts borrowing equipment will result in the most profit, especially when you take into account that equipment has a lifetime and after 600 hours should be replaced and repair costs keep getting higher and higher every hour it's used.
I also don't think field sizes influence the reward for example a field of 11.20 ha rewards $7390 that's almost $660 per ha multiplying that by 818 is around $540k so size doesn't seem to influence it.
So you could look at this one humongous field as multiple contracts, the biggest field in ravenport is I believe about 15 ha, that's quite a few contracts down there, the result however should be the same and the profit per hour shouldn't be all that different when doing cultivation contracts in a span of 27.9 hours :)
So my concluding suggestion would be to always use borrowed equipment for cultivating contracts I don't know about other contracts as I have not put that to the test, and honestly not looking all that forward to spending probably double that on harvesting 818 ha.. Anyway, reserve your own equipment for fields that you own. The costs for borrowing do seem to vary across equipment, ranging from ~15% to like ~35% of the reward money, at least that's what I have observed so far, in this case it was around 16-17% but I'd say even at double that it would have resulted in more profit per hour.
Feel free to give your input or if you think it's incorrect, there's a few bits here and there I had to guess, like the costs for helpers, fuel and repair costs, but I think they are fair guesstimates however I welcome any corrections or feedback!
A very useful thing to know is that some equipment that you borrowed from a contract can actually be used outside of the contract as well like tractors and trucks, sometimes you have contracts that come with really good 500+ horsepower tractors and expensive trucks, as long as you do not collect your money you can use these to do whatever you want, which can come in really handy early game when you just can't afford your own large tractor yet. Keep in mind though that this does not apply to harvesters, mowers, cultivators and basically anything used on a field, you will get a message that you can't use it outside of the contract. Just don't tell the contracting farmer you abused his 400k tractor to take care of your own fields all week when you return it!