Tutorials/Sugar cane farming

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Sugar cane must be planted on a grass, dirt, podzol or sand block that is directly adjacent to water (not merely above or diagonal to water). When fully grown it will stand three blocks high of sugar cane. Mature sugar cane should be harvested by hitting the middle block, to avoid replanting. Its growth rate is not affected by light, and it does not need light to grow.

Sugar cane, like saplings, wheat, and cacti, will only grow if the chunk they are on is loaded into memory, so a player should not venture too far from the field.

Sugar cane became substantially more valuable with the addition of villager trading, as sugar cane can be crafted into paper, which can then be exchanged for emeralds or other items.

Manual farming design[edit]

Sugar cane can be farmed manually by hitting every second (from the bottom up) block of mature sugar cane. Water and sugar cane can be placed in different patterns.

A complex pattern of interspersed water blocks can get you about 80% efficiency (plants per block of farm), but harvesting it is somewhat difficult. Slabs or especially lily pads and carpets can be placed over the water to ease harvesting.

Long parallel rows between canals get roughly 65% efficiency, but are much easier to harvest. Also, you have a clear line of sight down the rows, making it much easier to check for lurking creepers or such.

Note that sugar cane needs to be next to water, but not necessarily a source block. Thus you can run 8-block long canals down 1-deep trenches, with source blocks only at the outer ends. 3 canals with 6 rows of cane can feed into a 2-deep canal (also 8 blocks long), which in turn feeds into a hopper. Cover the 2-deep trench with slabs, and one piece of fence over the hopper. This gives you a 9×9 farm with 48 cane plants. Mirror this twice around the hopper, and you have a 17×17 farm with 192 plants. Any cane you miss running down the rows will end up in the hopper, which you can get at through the fence.

Compact farm[edit]

The following video is easy to follow and easy to make.

Semi-automatic farming design[edit]

A semi automatic farming design uses pistons that break sugar cane and send the items to a collection point, where the player can gather it all, or a hopper for automatic gathering. Unlike the fully automatic design in the semi-automatic pistons are triggered by the player.

Water canal design[edit]

In the following design a row of pistons push the sugar cane to a water canal:

A redstone timer can also be attached to the pistons to make them push the sugar cane without having to manually perform the operation. It utilizes the same set up, but has an automatic mechanism attached, and with hoppers and a chest set up at the end of the water canal, the process can be fully automated with ease.

Water canal design without pistons (Bedrock Edition)[edit]

In the Bedrock Edition, a semi-automated farm can be created using the fact that water rushing down next to sugar cane causes it to "pop" and scatter. This Instructable shows how to build a simple farm based on this principle. This setup gives a 60 sugar cane post-replanting harvest with 2 rows of 15 plants. These farms can be combined to make 4 row or 8 row farms.


Tower design[edit]

Instead of using slow water canals to deliver the items to the player, gravity can be used for a much faster retrieval, building a vertical tower farm, as shown in the following video:

Fully automatic designs[edit]

A fully automatic design, unlike the semi-automatic ones, is triggered automatically either by redstone clocks or block detector mechanisms.

Crazy no loss piston worm design[edit]

This design uses a lot fewer pistons, is fully automatic and picks up all of the drops. It can be a little bit unreliable, however.

Daylight sensor[edit]

This design is triggered once every Minecraft day (20 minutes of gameplay) with a daily pulse generator that uses a daylight sensor. The items are gathered by an array of hoppers and stored in chests. The design is stackable.

Hopper Timer[edit]

Using the same diamond shape idea Mumbo Jumbo showcased in his latest LP showcase, this gives you a lot of sugar cane.

Block detector[edit]

This design uses a block update detector (BUD) mechanism that triggers the mechanism when a sugar cane farm grows to its full size. Items are gathered by flowing water and hoppers, that store them into chests. The design is stackable. The more BUDs placed the more sugar cane rate collection achieved, as the sugar cane where the BUD is placed can take much time to grow, while other ones may be fully grown and not generating any new sugar cane blocks.

Slime Block Flying Machine[edit]

This design uses a dual direction slime block flying machine to break the sugar cane. If you intend on making a large farm, you might want to consider one of these designs, because they severely cut down the amount of pistons you need compared to other farms its size.

For a design that is completely lossless and uses hopper minecarts, watch this video:

For a design that is also pretty much lossless and uses slime blocks to push the sugar cane into water, watch this video:

Completely automated design[edit]

A dispenser based clock can be fed via hopper (or dropper, depending on vertical level) chain directly from the farm output. A comparator can be used to measure when the last hopper begins to fill with items, triggering a secondary chain of hoppers to feed further harvest into a chest for pickup. A T-flop can be used to trigger the farm every ten minutes, or a counter can be used to pick any increment of 5, for better efficiency. Note: A pulse limiter is needed between the T-flop or counter output and the farm pistons, else the pistons will simply stay in the extended position and inhibit growth.

Observer farm[edit]

With the addition of observer blocks in 1.11, making fully automatic sugar farms is now much easier. In this design, observers detect when the sugar cane grow to 3 blocks, and activates pistons which push the second layer of sugar cane, causing that layer as well as the layer above it to drop as an item. Then, the sugar cane is picked up by a minecart with hopper underneath, and transmitted to a chest. See the following layered blueprint:

The glass can be substituted for any type of block - using glass just allows the player to see into the farm without having to break blocks. The stone can be substituted for any solid block. Note that the piston should be facing towards the sugar cane, unlike the blueprint, and the "face" of the observer (not the red side) should also be facing towards the sugar cane.

To activate, a minecart with hopper must be placed on the powered rail. Once this is done, you have completed your sugar cane farm. You can go somewhere else and wait for a little while, and sugar cane will collect into the chest.

80% efficiency farming[edit]

The following diagram shows a 12 by 8 farm, utilizing 61 sugar cane and 22 water blocks, with a perimeter walkway.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

While an odd-shaped 80% efficient farm is possible, this design sacrifices some efficiency (79.2% efficient in an 11x7 farm, not counting the walkway) for ease of maintenance by including a rectangle perimeter walkway around the farm. The water placed in the walkway is required for watering the immediately adjacent sugar cane. Lily pads can be placed on the water blocks for convenience; this does not interfere with the sugar cane's growth.

Limitations and mitigation[edit]

The 80% efficiency design mentioned above has a limitation. When harvesting, it is easy to fall into the pools of water. The player must watch where they are going in order to ensure this does not happen. This can be solved by covering the water with either trapdoors, lily pads, slabs, or carpet.

Another limitation is lighting the design. There is currently no set location for lighting. With a larger design, mobs may spawn in the farm and interfere with harvesting or damage the structure. Glowstone, a sea lantern, or a jack o'lantern could be placed at the bottom of each pool of water to prevent this, mainly because glowstone and sea lanterns won't stop emitting light when it's submerged underwater.

The design can be modified to deal with these two limitations by placing glowstone or jack o'lanterns above each pool of water, or above certain pools in a pattern which provides sufficient light. This also allows the farm to double as an oak tree farm, should the player need wood as opposed to sugar cane. Dirt or cobblestone would be placed above the other pools to prevent the player falling in while mining. If the player does not have access to glowstone, torches could be placed on top of dirt or cobblestone on each pool, with the disadvantage of being easily knocked while harvesting.