Farthest Frontier – Farm Plots and the Fertility and Soil Mechanics

Farm Plots and the Fertility and Soil Mechanics

Farming is the staple of life that feeds the world. Without farms, food would be scarce. People will have a hard time finding food throughout the winters. Along with farms, we need a way to store it so it does rot so fast. Use rootcellars for this purpose. Its a good idea to build them close to each other, farms and rootcellars.

There will be a schedule for 3 years you setup once the farmers finish tilling the fields. (fig 1)

You can select what to do each year by selecting the year row which should show a popup window to the right. This window has several crop plants and 2 maintenance modes to choose from. Each plant has a certain soil fertility level that the soil needs to match so you get the most yield. The trick is to try to come out ahead on the fertility scale at the end of the year. At least break even is desired. (fig 2)

You should also setup a compost yard so you can use the end process to add fertilizer the plots.

Over time we can apply sand or clay to adjust the fertility of the soil. The crops you plant need to have a soil affinity, meaning the soil and crops should be similar otherwise you will get consistently low yields.

After looking at both of those screens, we have 2 systems to deal with, fertility of the soil.

Soil compatibility is huge in order to get top harvests. Look at the center bottom of figure one. You see a multicolored strip with red yellow and green. You want the crops soil preferred type to be in the green on this scale. The farther away you are from the sweet spot, the lower and lower your yield will be. I try to plant the same type of crops on this plot so I don’t have to mess with the clay/sand to balance it out.

Over time we can apply sand or clay to adjust the fertility of the soil. The crops you plant need to have a soil affinity, meaning the soil and crops should be similar otherwise you will get consistently low yields.

I tend to make 3 plots in a group and decide what each plot will grow and set the soil and leave it. Each plot is slightly different so the crops grown will be different. The alternative is to set it in the winter so that spring the mix will be added. You should also setup a compost yard so you can use the end process to add fertilizer the plots. The compost is also applied in the spring each year if available.

To use compost, over time a sybol will appear over your compost yard. Click on the yard and you will see a green button to press to be able to select the field to apply it to.

The 2nd part of this farm mechanic is also tied to fertility. So we had soil compatibility and soil fertility, both separate yet both needs attention to get bumper crops each year. (Figure 3).

Notice when you use the F key you get a fertility overlay that shows where the good soil is. This is where you want to put your farms. (I have yet to test for orchards.) During the very early phase, at least start a farm plot of 5×5 or 6×6. It takes them a year to build it so best start it early. Place wooden fencing around it if you have animals nearby such as deer who will happily relive you of your reward for your hard work.

As long as you start it on very fertile ground you will have a few good growing years before it decays to a yellow tint on the F overlay.

The trick is to keep it there and don’t let it degrade at all. There are 2 metrics, rocks and weeds, that you need to use the hoeing skill on until they are gone or less than 2 or 3 %. In the following years, if you plant clover and are careful which crops you plant, your ground can stay fertile a very long time with no compost needed. You MUST leave a field fallow or growing clover 2 out of the 3 years, depending on what you grow.

There is one more metric to keep in mind. Down towards the bottom of fig 2 is a stat called Impacts Fertility. Most crops damage this number which means its lowering your fertility by sucking out all the nutrients such as wheat. Look at that whooping -5 for starters and then on top of that there is another -1 to -5 added to that. 1 wheat crop can knock off 10 points, meaning you need at least 2 clover crops to fix that deterioration. Its possible if you grow 3 wheat crops in 3 straight years to really knock a good deal out of the soil.

This game treats the grains as one once they leave the fields and hit storage. Here we have 3 types of grain – wheat, buckwheat and rye. Check out the impact fertility to see wheat is most destructive.

This is my field after its built. I added the first year of crop to plant and need to add the next 2.

See all those weeds and rocks? The maintenance option to hoe the field will reduce those 2 negative metrics. If you have enough food production from hunters, fishers and a forager hut, I would recommend to grow clover and hoe in the first 2 or 3 years to get the weeds and rocks very low. It will up your yields.

After hoeing and clover for 2 years, I set the 2nd year to grow spring peas and then back to clover. We can safely remove the hoeing operations from the schedule and add in food there now. Just be careful you don’t undo all that work in a couple years. Add clover in once each year and a crop each year. You will get consistent high yields this way.

Look at the crop info screen and notice another metric called weed suppression. Some crops will stop the weed cold and others will allow them to grow fast. Its all a balancing act.

1 – Make 3 fields 5×5, 6×6 or 10×10. Early game small fields work best and later game its okay to build bigger fields. Just beware that diseases require you to rotate different crop types on the field so you don’t let the disease get out of control and wreck that field or fields. It can move from 1 field to another if the crop type is the same. ROTATE those crop types each year.

There is one more mechanic to bee aware of- Apiaries. Place one in the middle of a field as its farmers that take care of the hives. They are not considered food, but you can sell the honey on the market to help get your trade going. You want the wax to make candles for your town, plus you can sell any over stock to traders as well.

There is rumors that it helps crop yields but I have not seen any evidence that its a big gain. You can also place apiaries near your arborist fruit tree farms, or if you gather your blueberries into a patches near your forager huts.

Here is some screenshots of a a couple plots of 2 groups with 3 plots each. This 1st screen shows a new field that has my set rotation for new fields after we have established a secure food supply. We have no need to rush so get those fields right so they can blast some food out.

This shot shows the difference in fertility to my other group that has gone thru my rotation to get that fertility up.

This last shot shows what one of my plots looks like after the 3 years of continuous maint/clover.

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