A Sowing Machine (or Sower, Seeder) is a piece of equipment whose purpose is to sow Crops. Each model of Sowing Machine can only sow certain types of Crops. Sowing Machines need to be filled with seeds, and then dragged across a suitably-prepared field by a Tractor. Certain Sowing Machines can prepare the field themselves, as they work.
There are 7 types of Sowing Machines in the base game. The differ from one another in a variety of ways, including the types of Crops they can sow, their working width, and whether or not they can cultivate while sowing.
List of sowing machines in Farming Simulator 15Edit
These machines can only sow crops on top of cultivated soil that does not contain any seeds or plants.
($ / day)
|Max. Working Speed|
(kW / hp)
|600||3.0||14||74 / 100||Three-point hitch|
|21,000||70||Potato||2,650||3.0||12||50 / 68||Three-point hitch|
|57,000||130||Potato||3,975||6.0||12||75 / 102||Drawbar (Ball)|
|2,396||6.0||20||66 / 90||Drawbar (Ball)|
|9,000||9.0||20||132 / 180||Drawbar (Ball)|
These machines can sow crops on top of any soil without the need for pre-cultivation. They destroy whatever was in that soil.
($ / day)
|Max. Working Speed|
(kW / hp)
|4,050||6.0||20||132 / 180||Three-point hitch|
|12,000||9.0||20||235 / 320||Drawbar (Ball)|
Notes for Tables Edit
* The power requirements listed in the shop (and in these tables) are entirely misleading, and do not even serve well as rough guidelines for selecting your towing tractor. Please read the individual articles of each Sowing Machine for more accurate information on power requirements and towing tractor options.
Sowing Machines are responsible for one of the most important steps of Crop-growing: seeding the soil. All crops grow from seeds, and almost all Crops (with the exception of Grass) must be re-seeded after every harvest, so that they can grow anew. This requires having a Sowing Machine on hand at all times.
Sowing can normally only be performed on land that has been specially prepared before hand, either by Plowing or Cultivating it with the appropriate machinery. Seeds can only be sown into soil that has been prepared this way and has not been seeded yet. Several of the Sowing Machines in the game circumvent the extra Plowing/Cultivation step by cultivating the ground themselves simultaneously, as they sow. This makes them highly efficient in both time and effort.
Before it can start working, the Sowing Machine must be filled up with seeds. Each Sowing Machine has a tank that can hold a certain amount of seeds, which are acquired from the Seed Pallets back at the farm. Seeds cost money, though the expense is usually fractional compared to the profit of the crops themselves. A Sower will not work without seeds, although Hired Workers can buy their own seeds automatically if they run out (at a much higher price than normal, however).
Once the soil is ready and the seeds have been purchased, the Sowing Machine can be towed to the field and activated. Most Sowing Machines must be unfolded from their transport configuration into a working configuration. Additionally, the vehicle towing the Machine must be able to provide enough power to run the Machine - otherwise it will refuse to activate. Some of the larger Sowing Machines require a massive tractor to provide sufficient power.
A non-cultivating Sowing Machine will only seed patches of soil that are cultivated/plowed and do not contain any seeds yet. They will completely ignore any soil that already has plant matter in it - whether seeds, growing plants, ripe plants, or even the remains of plants that are left after a harvest. Cultivator Sowers, on the other hand, will destroy any plant matter they encounter, putting new seeds into the soil to replace whatever was destroyed.
Most Sowing Machines can sow more than one type of crop, and can switch between types freely even while they are working. You may select your desired crop type either before or after filling the machine with seeds. Seeds are "generic" when loaded into the machine, but turn into the specific crop you chose only once they are sowed into the ground.
Preparing the Ground Edit
- Main article: Cultivators (Farming Simulator 15)
The process of Sowing cannot be discussed separately from the process of preparing the ground for sowing.
Sowing can only take place on soil that has been prepared in advance - removing any plant matter and reconstituting the ground to make it suitable for seed growth. This process can be done by running either a Cultivator or Plow across the field. Whichever machine is chosen for the task, it will destroy any plant matter it runs over, and rearrange the soil appropriately.
This process needs to take place after every single harvest, since the harvest leaves plant roots and stems behind, which need to be removed. You do not need to wait until after the harvest though - you can just as easily Cultivate or Plow plants at any stage of growth, including even seeds that haven't even sprouted.
There is no difference between Cultivation and Plowing as far as the game is concerned - both will destroy plant matter and leave the ground ready for Sowing. There are, however, functional differences between Cultivators and Plows, which leave Cultivators somewhat (or even greatly) superior for this particular task.
Cultivator Sowers Edit
Two of the Sowing Machines available in the base game, namely the Vaderstad RAPID A 600S and the Horsch Pronto 9 SW, are in fact combination Cultivators and Sowers - two devices rolled into one. Each of these has two separate working heads situated directly behind one another; the front one cultivates the ground, while the rear one immediately sows the soil.
Since these machines perform both cultivation and sowing simultaneously, the remove the need for a separate pass to cultivate the ground. This saves up a lot of time and effort. These machines can be set to work immediately after a harvest is completed, and require only one pass to get the field growing again. This gives them a major advantage over all other Sowing Machines.
Note, however, that both Cultivator-Sowers in the game can only plant certain types of crops - Wheat, Barley, Canola and Grass - but not others. For Corn, Sugar Beet and Potato, you will always need to plow/cultivate before sowing.
Filling the Sower Edit
Each Sowing Machine in the game has an internal tank capable of holding a specific amount of seeds. The machine will not do anything unless it has at least 1 liter of seeds in the tank, and it will need hundreds or even thousands of liters of seeds to sow an entire field. Therefore, before any sowing can be done, the machine must be filled with seeds.
The most straightforward way to get seeds is to refill at the Seed Pallets at your farm. This is a pile of colorful bags and boxes on top of a pair of wooden pallets, which should be easily recognizable. In Westbridge Hills, the seed pallets are located in a small courtyard just off the main courtyard in your farm. In Bjornholm, the Seed Pallets are out in the open, right across from the Potato/Sugar Beet/Wood Chip storage barn.
To fill the Sowing Machine, simply tow it close to the Seed Pallets, and hit the correct button to begin refilling. Refilling will stop automatically once the tank is full, or if you happen to drive the Sowing Machine away from the Seed Pallets at any time. You can also stop refilling manually, by hitting the Refill button a second time.
Seeds cost money to purchase, they are not free. A large tank of seeds can easily cost several thousand dollars. The price of seeds is hard to calculate exactly, but is very close to $0.605 per liter of seeds. Therefore, the largest Sowing Machine in the game (the Horsch Pronto 9 SW, which has a 12,000 liter tank, will cost 12,000*0.605 = $7260 to fill. Again, you may stop the filling process part-way if you want to conserve money.
Filling a Potato Sower Edit
Potato Sowers are different from other Sowers, because the "seeds" that they use are actual potatoes. This can easily be seen once the Sower is filled, since they have open-topped tanks.
The open-topped tanks are not just for show, however: you can fill these machines with actual potatoes acquired from your previous potato harvests. There are several ways to do this. The easiest and most straightforward way is to drive the Potato Sower under the appropriate conveyer lift behind your Potato storage shed. Once the Sower is underneath the lift, it will be filled with Potatoes near-instantly. Of course, this requires you to have some potatoes in the storage shed to begin with.
Potato Sowers can also be filled in many other ways, such as with a Front Loaders shoveling potatoes into them. Potato Sowers can even be filled directly by a Potato Harvester, or even an Auger carrying potatoes.
Filling a Potato Sower with harvested Potatoes is slightly cheaper than filling it from the Seed Pallets, if we take the normal top price of Potatoes into account. However, since prices can change radically up or down, using harvester Potatos can be either more or less profitable. If you're not pressed for money, save your potatoes for times of Great Demand instead.
Of course, the ability to refill your Potato Sower with actual Potatoes does have one functional advantage: You can keep a cache of Potatoes close to the field you want to work (for example, in a Tippers) and unload them into the Sower every time it runs out of seeds. This saves time on driving back to the farm to refill. Remember that you may need a Front Loader, Auger, or other device for this process.
Towing and Activation Edit
About half the Sowing Machines in the game have a Three-point hitch, which can be attached to any Tractor in the game. The other half have a Drawbar (Ball), which can be attached to a wider variety of vehicles - including the Lizard PiQup and even most Harvesters.
To work a field, a Sower must be unfolded, lowered, and activated. Although the in-game store reports specific power requirements for each Sower, these are actually very misleading. The majority of Sowers can be activated by any vehicle that can tow them. This includes tractors, harvesters, and in some (but not all) cases even the Lizard PiQup.
The only Sower that actually cannot be activated by all tractors is the Horsch Pronto 9 SW, which requires its towing vehicle to provide at least 96 kW / 130 hp. It will not activate if towed by a weaker tractor.
The Grimme GL 660 is the only Sower that can both be attached to a Lizard PiQup and activated by it - which means that the PiQup can actually be used to work a field with this Sower. Although several other Sowers can also be attached to the PiQup, they cannot be activated while attached to it - the game will simply not offer the option to activate the device.
Of course, regardless of whether the towing tractor can activate the device or not, some tractors are simply too weak to drag a working Sower around at reasonable speeds. Tractors with less than 130 hp will struggle with most Sowers, especially when towing a working Sower uphill. The physically-smallest tractors, such as the New Holland T4.75, have another problem: the weight of some Sowers will lift the tractor's front wheels off the ground, preventing the vehicle from driving properly at all. You may use a Weight to try and offset this problem if possible, or otherwise keep the Sower lowered to the ground even during normal transportation.
Harvesters Towing Cultivator-Sowers Edit
The majority of Harvesters (excluding the Krone Big X 1100) have a Drawbar (Ball) hitch at the back, which can be connected to the larger Sowing Machines. This can be used for transporting a Sower around using a Harvester, but it can also be used to operate the Sower behind the harvester as it works!
This opens up a very interesting method of cutting down work times, by using a Harvester with a Horsch Pronto 9 SW Cultivator-Sower behind it. This combination allows you to perform all three steps of field-work simultaneously: the Harvester itself cuts a ripe crop, while the Pronto cultivates and re-seeds the ground behind it, all in one go. Other Sowers cannot be used for this maneuver, since they either cannot be attached to a harvester, or cannot cultivate as they sow. The Horsch Pronto 9 SW is the only Sower that fulfills both requirements.
This maneuver is not quite as simple as it sounds, of course. For starters, you cannot hire a Worker to do this kind of job for you. Secondly, the disparate working widths between the Harvester Header and the Pronto 9 SW means that you need to ignore the wider one and work only based on the narrower one. For example, with a wide 10.5 meter Harvesting head, you'll need to ensure that you make 9.0-meter wide passes, not 10.5 meter-wide passes, to make sure that the Pronto 9 does not miss any part of the field.
Note: The game is not designed with this possibility in mind, and there may be an unconfirmed bug that screws up with your harvest yields when performing this task.
When a properly-activated Sowing Machine passes across the field, it will expend the seeds in its tank to sow any valid patches of field with the type of seeds you have selected. Remember that the seeds in the tank are "generic" - they will only turn into the selected seed type as they are sowed into the ground.
A "Valid" patch of field is one that has been either plowed or cultivated, and does not contain any plant matter - including seeds of any kind, partially-grown plants, ripe plants, or post-harvest plant remains. When encountering a piece of field that is not "Valid", the Sower will simply pass over it without expending any of its seeds.
Note of course that Cultivator-Sowers (see above) automatically destroy any plant matter they encounter, as well as cultivate the field. For them, the only "Invalid" patches of field are those that have already been cultivated, and contain the same type of seeds that the Cultivator-Sower is set to plant. They will, however, destroy any other plants, including even partially-grown plants of the same type that they are sowing.
Seed Usage Rates Edit
Depending on the selected type of seeds you are sowing, the Sowing Machine will expend those seeds at a different rate while working.
The table below illustrates the amount of seeds required to sow one hectare of land, depending on what crop you are sowing, as well as the calculated cost of that amount of seeds (at $0.605 per liter):
|Crop Type||Liters used per Hectare (approx.)||Cost per Hectare|
Note the massive amount of Potatoes required to sow a single hectare. Potato Sowers are not proportionally larger than other Sowers, which makes this a serious problem: they will require constant refilling.
You can use the table above to figure out the amount of seeds you'll need to buy to sow one of your fields (you'll need to know the field size, however, which cannot be determined in-game without special mods, except when first purchasing the field). If you're pressed for cash, you can buy just the right amount.
This will also help you determine whether you need to buy a larger Sower than you currently own.
Again, remember that the Sowing Machine will ignore any piece of land it cannot legally sow (see above), and will not waste seeds on it. Therefore, you cannot make "mistakes" sowing over already-sown patches of field.
Visual Appearance Edit
A sowed piece of land has a specific appearance: For most crops, it looks like regular cultivated land, with thin, dense dark lines running along it, but has a slightly brighter, more orange shade of brown than un-sowed land. This is most noticeable when sowing an empty cultivated field: you'll see the ground behind you turn brighter as you pass.
Potatoes are one exception. When potatoes are sown, the ground behind the Sower will change radically. It will have very wide lanes of light brown, with narrow dark brown lanes between them. This makes a Potato field instantly distinguishable from any other crop.
The other exception is, of course, Grass. When sowing Grass, the ground will immediately turn green behind the Sower. It is not immediately ripe for mowing, of course, but can be difficult to distinguish from harvestable grass at a glance.
Once you've learned to spot the difference between un-sowed and sowed land, you can more easily spot any parts of the field that you may have missed.
Hired Workers Edit
There is one important difference between manual and automated sowing: A Hired Worker can sow even when the Sower's seed tank is completely empty. However, if this occurs, the Hired Worker will automatically pay for more seeds as he works. He won't actually fill the tank, instead money will simply drain out of your bank account for every liter of seeds used in the sowing process.
Note: This does not mean that you can just let your Hired Worker sow on an empty tank without problems! The seeds purchased by your worker are significantly more expensive than the seeds purchased manually at the Seed Pallet (see above).
Ridge Markers Edit
Every Sowing Machine in the game has the ability to extend a Ridge Marker to either side. You can use the appropriate button to extend a Ridge Marker to one side. The next press will fold that marker back, and instead extend the Ridge Marker on the other side. A third keypress will fold both Ridge Markers back in.
A Ridge Marker Plows a narrow strip of land off to the side of your Sowing Machine as it moves. When you reach the end of the field and turn around, this strip will indicated to you where you need to place the center of your tractor, in order for the next sowing pass to be perfectly aligned with the one you had just completed. When done properly, this can get you perfect coverage of the field easily, when you're manually driving.
Using a Ridge Marker is somewhat risky, specifically because it works like a tiny plow. Any plant matter touched by the tip of the Ridge Marker will be destroyed, just as it would if an actual Plow passed over it. The Ridge Marker is far too narrow to be used as an actual plow, but its impact on the field is the same.
Therefore, each time you complete a pass on the field, you will need to switch the Ridge Marker to the other side of your Sowing Machine, to avoid destroying the seeds that you had just planted. This will need to be done many times while working on a single field, and can be somewhat tiring.
All in all, Ridge Markers are more of a realism feature than an actual necessity. Even if your driving skills are not perfect, it is easier to just slightly overlap each pass with the previous one. Remember that already-sown patches of field are not re-sown if you overlap them (see above), so you wouldn't be wasting any seeds. And if you still have problems driving manually, you can always use a Hired Worker to do the job.
Finally, note that Hired Workers will never use Ridge Markers. As soon as a Worker is hired, both Ridge Markers will be automatically folded back into the Sowing Machine, if they were extended.