Perhaps I was a little premature in my quasi-dismissal of Factorization for wheat farming last Friday. Sure, I was frustrated that a perfectly good build had been rendered obsolete as soon as I had designed it, but that doesn’t disqualify Factorization so much as it reveals the inadequacy of my knowledge and use of it. An excellent example of a wheat farm exclusively powered by Factorization and vanilla Minecraft resources has been designed by Broomstone. If you haven’t already, you really should check out his FTB forum thread. He also has an expandable design for a one-servo crystallizer distribution solution that is far more elegant than what I have suggested. I have recently maxed out the capacity of my Factorization Building of Ore-Processing Awesomeness and will soon be expanding the crystallizer section of it to compensate. I will probably be adapting Broomstone’s design.

I’ve also had occasion recently to revisit my not-fully-developed Factorization wheat farm 2.0 from two posts ago in my survival world. The occasion of this re-visitation is a total renovation of my survival world farm. It had become apparent to me over the last couple of weeks that my old farm just wasn’t cutting it: lots of wasted space, practically no automation, crops I no longer needed (cotton), and not enough of the crops I did need. The problem was that my farm/garden had never really developed past my initial build early in the game. It worked great when I was sleeping in a hut, using stone and iron tools, and still hadn’t found my first diamond. But I’m in late middle-game (or early late-game), now, having already gone to the End and killed the Ender Dragon. So I decided to bulldoze the whole thing and start from the ground up.

I could have done everything with Forestry, but I’ve done that before, and quite honestly, I just don’t like the autofarms. What I wanted to do was create a fully or almost fully automated set of crop farms using vanilla resources and/or some basic mod resources in creative ways. The first thing that needed a redesign was my pumpkin and melon farm (we’ll return to the wheat farm below). Adapting some designs I found on YouTube, I now have a fully automatic pumpkin and melon farm that is essentially vanilla Minecraft ready, with the exception of some of the decorative blocks (quarried stone from Natura) and the method of transporting the items from the farm to the storage facility (Itemducts from Thermal Expansion). It produces lots of food very quickly, alarmingly quickly when a Lamp of Growth from Thaumcraft is used.

My vanilla redstone-powered pumpkin and melon farms.

The way this farm works is based on the fact that melons and pumpkins, being solid blocks, can conduct a redstone signal. When they appear, they conduct a redstone signal that activates a sticky piston connected to a piece of glass (which does not conduct a redstone signal) above the pumpkin or melon. Hoppers along the sides collect the harvested items and transmit them to a chest. The slabs sit on top of some of the hoppers.

I have a manual cut-off switch on each farm that sends a steady redstone signal to the sticky pistons. When the pistons are extended, there is no place for the pumpkins or melons to appear.

Setting up automatic Natura berry harvesting was simple enough. I could either have used Thaumcraft harvesting and gathering golems or Thermal Expansion Autonomous Activators. I chose the TE solution for the sake of space and self-maintenance (golems can be killed).

I only use enough Autonomous Activators to harvest the first level of berries bushes. They send the berries into Itemducts beneath them. You can see part of my vanilla cactus farm on the right.

Nothing beats Factorization for reed farms at this point. I reduced the size of the one I had to a line of 10 reeds and introduced a cut-off switch, because my old reed farm was producing way more than I needed.

This brings us back to wheat and Factorization. Rather than trying Broomstone’s ingenious fully automatic design, I decided to take a crack at making my half-hearted suggestion from two posts ago a viable and useful system. With some rather inelegant redstone trickery, I have successfully created a rapid wheat-growing system that uses three servos and is essentially powered by bonemeal. When the bonemeal runs out, the system stops. With a mob grinder like what I have, I’m never short on bonemeal, so this system works really well for me.

My servo wheat and reed farms. The wheat farm is 16 wheat blocks long plus 5 more blocks for redstone and stuff.

The farm from the opposite angle. The servo over the water plants seeds, the one directly above the fields applies bonemeal, and the one over the hoppers harvests the wheat.

The redstone is a little complicated, but here are the key points: 1) each servo sends a redstone signal that initiates the next servo when it is finished with its run and before it stops on a trap signal; 2) the bonemeal servo requires two inputs (a Project Red AND gate is there just right of the center of the picture), one of which is the planting servo’s return; 3) the second input is a steady signal coming from a comparator which reads whether or not there is bonemeal in the bonemeal servo’s supply hopper, meaning the system stops after a replanting when there is no more bonemeal; 4) the lever is an override switch; 5) the button is the starter, for when new bonemeal is added.

Another view of the redstone. It’s probably not the most compact design, but it works. You can see the seed hopper in the bottom left.

Generally somewhere between 66% and 75% of the wheat matures with the double pass of bonemeal.

I’m planning to make another of these for barley, because barley seeds have useful Thaumcraft aspects that are different from those of wheat seeds. I may use my old design for potatoes and carrots, or I may do something else entirely. We’ll see.