Yes. The tree farm works despite the update to Factorization.

The Factorization 0.8.30 update most certainly broke my wheat farm design, but not in the way I had thought it would, and this isn’t a good thing. What happened was that servo inventories were reduced to a single slot, but wheat harvesting gives you two crops: wheat and seeds. What I thought was going to happen as a result was that the servo would pick up one item and leave the other on the ground. My original plan to deal with this involved a layer of powered rail under the field moving a hopper cart. This would have picked up whatever was left on the ground: problem solved with minimal fuss.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way the update works. What happens is that the servo harvests the first wheat block, getting 1 wheat and 0-2 seeds. Both go into its internal inventory, one, apparently into some kind of buffer. This buffer, when populated depowers the servo attachment, meaning the lacerator refuses to harvest anymore until its inventory has been emptied. This makes servos almost useless for wheat farming.

I say ALMOST useless, because it is possible, if you want to use a lot of iron, to construct a wheat farm that constantly empties the lacerator’s internal inventory. To do this, you have to place the servo rail beside rather than above the wheat block and turn the lacerator on its side. Beneath this rail, meaning alongside the plowed dirt in which the wheat is planted, you can put a chain of hoppers leading back to a central deposit point.

A 3-servo-rail wheat farm using lots of hoppers. Not my first choice in wheat farms, honestly.

This way, the servo never has time to depower its attachment because the buffer is never populated for more than an instant. This is an iron-intensive way to build, though. What I have done in this build is use three servo rail lines: one on one side, one of the other, and one above. The one above carries a servo with a robotic arm and bonemeal. The one on the opposite side from the lacerator plants seeds. With the hoppers underneath the lacerator servo rail, you have to keep the robotic arm servos somewhere else, otherwise their inventories get emptied as well and nothing gets planted or bonemealed. Using special Railcraft rails and some Redstone trickery, it is conceivable that you could use one hopper cart triggered by the servos movement to move block-by-block and keep the servo empty by itself. To be honest, I’m not that committed, so consider that idea pondered and filed away for some Tuesday when I don’t have anything else to post about.

There is some good news, though. The original design, I think I noted, was good for crops like carrots and potatoes, too. In fact, the original design still works perfectly for carrots and potatoes, because what you plant is what you harvest. I’ve tried this out on 0.8.33, so consider it verified. I just don’t want to spend any more time at the present trying to make a wheat farm work against the grain of the mod. Clunky and mechanical is one thing; resistant to a task is another.

The second part of today’s post is a quick note concerning a suggestion I saw on the Factorization forum that the robotic arm can be used to pick Tinkers’ Construct berries and cotton, because a robotic arm really just right-clicks whatever it’s looking at with what is in its inventory, like a Thermal Expansion Autonomous Activator. Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually work, and I have no idea why.

It no work. Why?

Thirdly, finally, and most significantly, I’m going to try and describe to you a working tree farm that uses a lacerator servo to harvest the wood and a robotic arm to replant saplings. It’s not particularly elegant, nor is it 100% reliable. I’m sure someone could improve on this, but I think I’ve put together a reasonable system that considers everything.

A sprawling, not-so-aesthetically-pleasing tree farm, but a working one, nevertheless.

Like the wheat farm, my original design here had to be adjusted because of the servo inventory update, but this adjustment was actually rather simple. I had had the servo harvesting the tree from the top down. Now it harvests from the bottom up, so that the first thing that goes in its inventory is wood rather than a stick (which is what a lacerator makes when it breaks leaves).

Harvest from the bottom up to make sure the lacerator harvests the whole tree.

Rather than doing a step-by-step-how-to-build-this-ludicrosity sort of post, I will, rather, describe how it works. You can figure out the building of it yourself.

1) A sapling grows into a tree, triggering a block-update detector.

I use this simple BUD switch first suggested by SethBling.

Here is the BUD switch in situ. All but the back side of the sensor piston is covered up so that it isn’t triggered a million times as the tree disintegrates.

2) The block update detector triggers a series of Redstone pulses.

Complicated redstone mechanics made slightly less complicated by Project Red.

The setup pictured above works like this: a single pulse comes from the BUD switch (on the left). This toggles an RS latch, which in turn toggles a Toggle latch. The Toggle latch changes state, freeing a Timer to start pulsing in 15 second intervals. A Counter counts to 7 pulses, at which point it toggles the Toggle latch back into its original state, disabling the Timer and resetting the Counter at the same time.

3) These Redstone pulses free the servo from a series of trap commands.

The Timer sends pulses along this Redstone wire which is set adjacent to the servo rail and its trap commands.

Here’s a different view of the Redstone wire and the trap commands on the servo rail.

These trap commands stop the servo in the places it needs to stop in order to harvest the wood of the tree. When this series of pulses is finished, the servo is sent around the rail to its starting place over a hopper.

4) The servo deposits its inventory into a hopper, triggering a different Redstone pulse.

A Redstone comparator generates a Redstone signal when the servo drops the wood it has harvested into this hopper.

5) This second Redstone pulse triggers a robotic arm socket to plant a new sapling and resets the RS latch from earlier.

This line triggers the replanting of a tree sapling …

… and resets the RS latch from earlier.

6) Saplings and apples that fall to the ground are collected by a subterranean hopper cart.

Powered rail keeps a hopper cart moving around to collected items that sit on the dirt directly above it.

Dirt covers the rail but still allows the hopper cart to collect items. Items are deposited in the chest on the right via a hopper chain.

7) Apples are stored and sapling sent to the chest behind the robotic arm for replanting.

I’m using Thermal Expansion because I’m tired. I had originally planned to showcase Factorization and vanilla Minecraft.

I realize this hasn’t been an especially detailed description of this build. If you have questions about it, go ahead and post them in the comments. I’ll try to explain, if I can. The point of everything, though, is that Factorization servos can be used to do many of the farming tasks that we use other mods for.