Surviving Mars: Dome Buildings: Farm

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main article: Food and Dome Buildings


Using Farms, Botanists can produce the best amount of food until the arrival of fully automated farming. In order to independently support a large amount of colonist, creating an efficient early farming system should be a high priority.


Regular Farms are a straight upgrade from Hydroponic Farms after you manage to secure the large amount of real estate the occupy.

A unique feature of the farm is that since they do not require maintenance, they are immune to workers that have the Idiot trait disabling them.

Soil Quality[edit]

In order to understand soil quality, one has first to have a firm grip on how performance works.

Each worker contributes 100 points basic performance. This is then increased or decreased based on the Morale of the worker. Not having the required specialization decreases this amount by 50 points.

A farm requires 6 workers, and all yield numbers are based on that.Having 6 totally average workers with the required specialization result in 600 performance points. This is then divided by the number of required workers to reach 100 points. This is the "Building Performance" of the farm.

If you had a theoretical worker that performed at 900 performance, then that worker working alone would generate a Building Performance of 150. However, that is not achievable in practice. A more realistic scenario is having 6 workers that have top Morale each, resulting in around 150 performance, and then having some bonus that adds another 10 or 20 points on top of it, resulting in a combined Work Performance of around 1000.

After the Work Performance has been calculated and thus Building Performance is available, if the current shift is working on a Heavy Workload, then the Build Performance is boosted another 20 points. If you got a single guy with a Work Performance of 55, after dividing by 5 (yes 5, not 6. I don't know whey they coded that way, I assume it's an oversight), we get a Building Performance of 11. If we then activate Heavy Workload, those 11 is not increased by 20%. A flat 20 points is added, increasing it from 11 to 31. However, at 0 Building Performance, being unmanned, Heavy Workload will not increase it from 0 to 20.

The Building Performance the is multiplied by the base yield of the crop to arrive at the actual yield. So Soybeans have a base yield of 40. If the Building Performance is 120, then the final Yield of the Soybeans will be 48. At 200 Building Performance, the yield is 80.

Soil Quality increases the building performance by 1 point for each percentage above 40. So a 90% farm has a Building Performance of 40 even when unnamed. If we take the single person from the above example that resulted in a Building Performance of 11% at 50% soil Quality, we get a Building Performance of not 11, but 51 at 90% Soil Quality. Add Heavy Workload and it increases to 71 performance. Yes, this means that a single non-specialized worker that would otherwise be performing at 10% can work at 80% with 100% Soil Quality and Heavy Workload. A competent Botanist that has a Work Performance of 136 would be at a Building Performance of 27 (136/5=27,2) alone on 50% Soil Quality on a Normal Workload. That same worker will reach 87 Building Performance on a Heavy Workload with 90 Soil Quality.

What this means is that Heavy Workload and 100% Soil Quality combines to give a basic Building Performance of 70, as long as you have anybody working there, and then add the actual Work Performance of whoever is there on top.

Increasing Soil Quality[edit]

Farms automatically gain 1 Soil Quality each Sol they aren't used. That might appear slow on paper, but I was surprised at the progress while playing. Having a farm doing nothing gained 15 Soil Quality while I was struggling to keep the colony fed during 3 cycles of crops.

Another tactic would be to put as little effort as possible to plant some crop that raises soil quality. This would put Idiots, Lazy and Alcoholics to good use. The problem is that if the effort put in is to small, then the crop will fail and that will not increase the Soil Quality. At the moment, I do not know how the code for calculating Crop Failure works and what data it relies on.

Split Farming[edit]

With a thorough understanding of how Soil Quality works, we arrive at the conclusion that 6 Botanists with 150 Work Performance can:

  • all work on a normal shift on 50% soil Quality on a single farm to reach 150 Building Performance,
  • all work on Heavy Workload on 100% soil Quality on a single farm to reach 220 Building Performance,
  • Have each one of them work alone on a 100% Soil Quality Heavy Workload on 6 different Farms, each one of the farms having a Building Performance of 70+(150/5=30)=100, for a total of 600 Building Performance.

If the crop is Soybeans, then the difference is between having a yield of either 40*2,2= 88 or 40*6= 240 food at the end of the 5 sols.

This tactic comes at the cost of water and real estate. Having more farmers work on an active farm does not increase water expenditure while increasing yields. Split farming greatly increases water expenditure in order to maximize the yields per Performance. The 6 Botanists working on the same Farm planting Soybeans (2 water) will yield 88/2 = 44 food per water, while them working on one farm each will produce 40/2 = 20 food per water. So the 6 Botanists on 6 Farms would require 12 water to produce the 240 food instead of 2 water to produce 88 food. This does not consider that building more Domes to acquire the increased real estate required. On the other hand, those 12 water can be reduced to 3,6 water with a Water Reclamation System if 6 workers are spent on that task, reducing the effectiveness of the food per performance by half, abstractly speaking, decreasing the 240 food yield down to 120. Still better than 88. `

Of course, this isn't an issue if you happen to have 10 extra water that otherwise would not be used filling a lake... speaking of that, why aren't you filling 5 Huge Lakes in order to reach fully automated farming faster (+0,5 per sol)?



The crop that can be grown on Farm have higher yield than those Hydroponics.

Before going into the differences in yields, here are the basic differences:

Basic comparison
Issue Hydroponics Farms
Requires tech No Yes
Numbers of hexes required 3 10
Workers required 3 6
Advanced material required for construction 2 Polymers Nothing
Maintenance 5 Electricity , 1 Metal Nothing

In order to compare, we need to figure out how much a crop produces on average per day. But that is not enough, as we also need to take into account the number people that contributed to that yeild. So need a value that takes the average yield per sol, and divide it by the performance put into it. I'll call that value "Y/S/P".

Fast growing crop comparison
Crop Building Yield Sols Y/S Workers Y/S/P
Wheat Grass Hydroponics 2,5 1 2,5 3 0,83
Wheat Farm 17 2 8,5 6 1,41

As can be seen from the above, the Farm almost doubles the yield per performance even when taking into account that it requires a larger workforce.

This disparity becomes even greater as soil quality increases.

Slow growing crop comparison
Crop Building Yeild Sols Y/S Workers Y/S/W
Leaf Crops Hydroponics 12 4 3 3 1
Soybeans Farm 40 5 8 6 1,33
Potatoes Farm 55 5 11 6 1,83
1 Soybeans + 1 Potatoes Farm 95 10 9,5 6 1,58
1 Soybeans + 1 Potatoes with 100% Soil Quality Farm 142,5 10 14,25 6 2,375
1 Botanist with 150 Work Performance on 1 Soybeans + 1 Potatoes with 100% Soil Quality Farm 95 10 9,5 1 9,5

The Farm offers a direct 33% increase in yields with Soybeans. That is actually initially lower YSP than Wheat, but as soon as Soil Quality has increased, the initial shortcoming will be turned into a permanent increase in yeilds.

Gene Adaptation crop comparison
Crop Building Yeild Sols Y/S Workers Y/S/W
Rice Hydroponics 15 4 3,75 3 1,25
Fruit Trees Farm 88 8 11 6 1,83
Corn Farm 70 5 14 6 2,33
1 Fruit Trees+ 1 Corn Farm 158 13 12,15 6 2,03
1 Fruit Trees+ 1 Corn with 100% Soil Quality Farm 237 13 18,23 6 3,04
1 Botanist with 150 Work Performance on 1 Fruit Trees+ 1 Corn with 100% Soil Quality Farm 158 13 12,15 1 12,15

External links[edit]