Surviving Mars: Food

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  • You need to initially build a Hydroponic Farm (2 Polymer). With it, you can grow Leaf Crops. The in game information states that it produces 12 food after 4 sols, meaning a harvest of 3 food per sol.
  • All yealds can be increased with 50% to 100% with with high Morale Japanese Botanists on a heavy workload.
  • With 3 Botanists that result in a building performance of 149, increased to 169 through Heavy Workload, I got 21,6 food after 4 sols, for a total of 5,5 food per sol, or each botanist that creates 50 buildings performance before heavy workload creates 1,8 food per sol. Each Botanist can feed themselves and 8 other people.
  • 3 non-Botanists producing a building performance for 69, 89 with Heavy Workload produced 10,9 food, or, each producing 0,9 food per sol, each worker can feed themselves and other 3,5 people instead of 8.


  • You will need a Hydroponic lab further ahead when it gets time to plant seeds.
  • A farm requires 6 workers to work for 5 sols to produce 5 seeds (not counting performance). The farm will consume 2 water, improve soil by 10% and give 0,3 oxygen.
  • The Hydroponic will require 3 instead of 6 workers to work for 1 sol to produce 1 seed (not counting performance). Now is better than later. It will consume 0,6 water instead of 2. It will not improve soil, as there is no soil to improve and provide 0,1 oxygen instead of 0,3.


  • When you get the tech, build a Fungal Farm (3 Electronics). It will increase the base yeald from 3 per sol to 5 per sol, as well as increase the number of botanists that can work from 3 to 6, and also move the workplace outside the Dome, freeing space for other activities. Also, it produces a constant stream of food, the same way a Polymer Plant does, not waiting for sols in order for the harvest to be ready.
  • Those same three Botanists working in a Fungal Farm would produce a building performance of 97. That would result in 5,9 food per sol, or 1,96 food per Botanist per sol. This increases the number of other people they can feed from 8 to almost 9.
  • The Fungal Farm would require 10 energy, 2 oxygen and 0,5 water. The Hydroponic Farm would require 5 power. 0,6 water and produce, not consume, 0,1 oxygen. So the Fungal Farm would require 5 more energy and 2 more oxygen+water, in exchange for more workplace for 6 botanists instead of 3, have them produce better and take 0 place in the Dome.


Main: Surviving Mars: Food: Farming

  • The farm is a bit tricky to work with. Potatoes state that they produce 55 food in 5 sols, 11 per sol. That is a lot more than 5 sol the Fungal farm claims. However. The farm has soil quality, and it starts at 50%.
  • Those same three farmer produce a building performance of 98 in the farm. After 5 days, the farm has a yield of 53,7 potatoes. There was a food and electricity shortage that lowered the farmers work performance during the test to 96 towards the end, and then down to 84 during the last few hours.
  • The above test suggests that the numbers provided for each crop is based 50% soil quality. The wiki states that at 0% soil quality, the farm gain -50% performs and at 100% soil quality, it performs at +50% performance.
  • The above information suggest that a single botanist would produce 3,6 food based on potatoes per sold at 50% soil. That would feed 17 other people, up from the 9 of the Fungal farm.
  • At top soil quality, the farmer would alternate between Soybeans and Potatoes in order to maintain soil quality. They have a combine production of 95 over 10 sols, so 9,5 per sol, increased by 50% due to top soil quality, for a total of 14,25 food per sol, divided by 3, so 4,75 per farmer and day. Almost 23 other people, up from 17 producing potatoes with 50% soil quality.
  • However, you wouldn't produce potatoes at 50% quality as that would lower it to 40%. You would produce Soybeans for +10%, and then top it off with Cover Crops assuming you are rushing for that.
  • The Soybeans give 8 sols per day instead of 11, so initially, the farm will produce 2,7 food per farmer and day, so about 12 other people, up from 9 that the Fungal farm enables.
  • So a farm is initially an upgrade from 9 to 12 other people, and in the long run, it will reach 23 other people per farmer.
  • However, the above requires a long time investment, and it will eventually be rendered obsolete by the arrival of open farming, since that requires drones instead of botanists to work.
  • So the life-span of the farm starts when you get it, and ends at open farming. And during that period, it needs to start early in order to reach good soil quality. And stay in place, you can't move the farm around.
  • Farmers require Luxury to be happy. So if you need to have a Casino or feed them polymers in order to boost their Comfort. On the other hand, failing to increase their Comfort to 70+ will cost you only 5 work performance, so about 5% less yield.
  • The only real benefit in increasing Comfort for a farmer above 70 is to increase children. No children at 30 comfort, each point above that counts towards the 1000 needed for a child.
  • You should early on pick a spot for a farming Dome and stick to it.
  • A farm requires 6 farmers, so Apartments with its 24 residential space can cover for 4 farms. That would drain (2,4+2)/2*4 =8,8 water. Using a Water Reclamation System we can lower that to 2,64 water. Considering that the system requires 6 people to operate, and we have only 10 hexes for those 10 people and to cover the interest of the farmers, its better to take it all the way and have 6 farms, and have the farmers live in a attached Dome. We get then 13,2 water required, reduced to 3,96. That's a saving of 9,24 water.4
  • With the Gene Adaptation bio tech, you can alternate between Fruit Trees and Corn. Those same 3 farmers would then produce a total of 158 food per 13 sol. The results increase with 50% for best soil (I assume) to 237 food per 13 sols, or 182 food per 10 sols. 18,2 per sol. That results in 6 food per farmer per day, feeding a total of almost 30 people per farmer. The 6 farms in the Dome would employ 36 farmers that would be able to feed almost 1100 people.
  • The full farming dome would require (2,4+3)/2*6= 16,2 water, lowered to 4,86 with a water spire, for a saving of 11,34 water. I think it's actually cheaper to just spam some Moisture Vaporator.
  • Wait, maybe alternating between Corn and Fruit Trees isn't the optimal way.
  • If we go corn, corn, corn, corn, Cover Crops, we get:
    1. 14 per sol, 100% soil, so 14*1,5= 21 food per sol.
    2. 14 per sol, 90% soil, so 14*1,4= 19,6 food per sol.
    3. 14 per sol, 80% soil, so 14*1,3= 18,2 food per sol.
    4. 14 per sol, 70% soil, so 14*1,2= 16,8 food per sol.
    5. 2,4 per sol, 60% soil, so 2,4*1,1= 2,26 food per sol.

That averages to 15,5 per day. Yeah, that's lower than the 18,2 per sol for alternating.

Outside ranch[edit]

  • Does not require Botanist. That means that unskilled labor perform with no penalty So it's a complement to the farms.
  • With a building performance of 147, 9 unskilled workers produced 422 food in 12 sols with cows. That's 35 per sol, 3,9 food per worker and sol. With that, each worker can sustain almost 19 other colonists.
  • Comparison:
    1. Hydroponic farm: 0,9 food per sol per unskilled worker.
    2. Hydroponic farm: 1,8 food per sol per Botanist.
    3. Fungal farm: 1,96 food per Botanist per sol.
    4. Soybeans in 50% soil in a indoor farm: 2,7 food per Botanist.
    5. Cow: 3,9 food per unskilled worker.
    6. Corn and fruit in 100% soil in a indoor farm: 6 food per Botanist.

However, the cows require:

  • 3 water (corn+fruit: 2,2)
  • 4,5 oxygen (corn+fruit: 0,6 produced, not consumed)
  • 12 sol of growth. That is a lot of time. (corn+fruit: 7 sol)
  • Cutting them off will kill ALL of the cows within a time, maybe a day or less. The timer restarts to 0 sol. (corn+fruit are fine with prolonged times with no water)
  • Ticking off the Vegans, having them lose instead of gaining comfort.

Goat require half the growth period (6 sol), half the water and less than half the oxygen, but produces 15 instead of 25 per sol.

The Outdoor farm is a huge boost in food during the early period before the indoor farms take off. And they do not require botanists!

Indoor ranch[edit]

There is chicken that requires very little oxygen, water and growth time, but oxygen is costs a little bit of metal, water should be abundant if you scout efficiently and growth time is irrelevant if you organize it properly. The best food per work hour is then the Turkey.

The Turkey produces 12 food per sol with 6 unskilled laborers. 6 Botanist can produce 6 food per sol in a Hydroponic using 2/3 of the water and no oxygen. These does improves with Gene Adaptation, from 6 per day to 7,5. The Hydroponic

Just performed a test.

  • 3 Botanists in 1 Hydroponics producing Leaf Crops. Buildings performance of 163. After 4 sol, it produced 18,9 food. That is 1,58 per botanist and sol.
  • 6 unskilled in 1 Indoor ranch producing Turkey. Buildings performance of 148. After 5 sol, it produced 89,8 food. 3 per unskilled laborer and sol.

The drawbacks is that the ranch requires 10 hexes space in the dome minimum, pisses off vegans and will eventually be made obsolete by the regular farm. Soybeans in 50% farm produce 2,7 food per Botanist.


You can trade away 50 concrete for 60-70 food.

Open Farm[edit]

Eventually, after a lot of investment, you get food through Drones, spending no labor at all.


  • Hydroponics: Almost 2 food per worker/sol. Best for planting seeds. Take only 3 hexes and produces enough to have you survive early game. Can reduce Dome oxygen consumption, might be handy in an emergency.
  • Fungal Farm: 5% better output than Hydroponics, and each hour instead of every 2nd sol. Requires tech. Requires 0 hexes in the Dome. Outdoor work.
  • Indoor ranch. Best early game food source, almost 3 food per worker/sol, 50% better than Fungal Farm and Hydroponics. Requires no botanists. But takes a 10 hexes and pisses of Vegans. Might be too much food for too much space and pissing of people during the early game when you have food anyway, and you value space and Comfort very high.
  • Trade: 50 Concrete for 60+ food. Starting about sol 25. A lot of food for Concrete that you should have in abundance.
  • Outside Ranch: Almost 4 food per worker/sol. Requires no botanists. Pisses of Vegans. Requires 0 hexes in the Dome. Outdoor work. Requires huge waiting period before yield, 12 sol. Great until Farms improve their Soil quality and the university has educated enough Botanists to fill the slots there. Will allow you to use the Concrete for your own projects. When the big expansion phase starts. The food will be handy to feed a lot of people.
  • Farm: Starts at 3 food per worker/sol and ends at 6 food per worker/sol. Requires dedicated and constant work to improve soil quality and have them in a Dome to lower water usage, and do so before they get obsolete. Will be able to feed over 1000 colonists with a couple of dedicated Domes.
  • Open Farm. Endgame solution. Free food with no human labor involved. Will require huge amount of resources during very long period of time.