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Topic Subject: Farm production and irrigation, or: Pecunia is confused
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posted 10-22-02 06:16 ET (US)   
This morning, I decided to do some tests with farm production and the effects of irrigation. I choose an open play map to do this (settings: Steel age, peaceful cities, no disasters, Map: Fo Yu Testin, random seed: this)

Climate: humid
Crops available: Rice and Soybean

I built a small city of 252 people, set up a farm, warehouse, inspector and well, and also an irrigation pump, which could be switched on/off if needed by a road tile. I laid out a farm, waited a year, let the harvest go into the warehouse, and noted the amount of food the farm produced. Food was then either given to the heroes or deleted (delete warehouse & rebuild warehouse). I tested 2 or 3 years per farm 'layout', and tested with both not irrigated and all irrigated. The results I have confuse me, and not just a little.

- In the following situations, North is always in the top left corner.
- The table with production lists 2 numbers for every situation, the first is the one I got in the first year, the second in the second year. After that the numbers repeat (if they are different).
- In all situations, there are 36 rice paddies, and 33 soybean fields. Fertility is 65% on all tiles.
soybean field
rice paddy

Situation 1:
Farm House

Not irrigatedIrrigated

Conclusion: do NOT irrigate your rice fields!

Situation 2:
Farm House

Not irrigatedIrrigated

Conclusion: you can irrigate your rice fields or not, the production will stay about the same. But.. be sure to irrigate your soybean fields.

Situation 3:
Farm House

<table border="1" cellpadding="2" Not irrigatedIrrigatedRice121220(!)20Soybean111188
Conclusion: WOW, you'd better irrigate your rice fields! but be sure you don't irrigate the soybean fields...

Situation 4:
Farm House

Not irrigatedIrrigated

Conclusion: is this how it is supposed to work?

I am really confused at the outcome.. the amount of fields is the same in every layout, yet production sure isn't the same. Any thoughts on this?

Angel Pecunia | HG Downloads programmer and techie
Caesar IV Heaven | Children of the Nile Heaven | Citadel of Poseidon (Zeus/Poseidon) | The Great Wall (Emperor)
posted 10-28-02 16:50 ET (US)     26 / 55  
Good work I'll have to start testing again soon..

The list of climate modifiers from one of the model files:

Crop Humid Temperate Arid
Bean Curd 0.7 0.85 0.75
Cabbage 0.7 0.85 0.65
Millet 0.7 0.85 0.75
Rice 1.05 0.7 0.5
Wheat 0.7 0.85 0.75
Hemp 0.4 0.55 0.35
Tea 1.0 0.8 0.6
Lacquer 1.0 0.8 0.6
Mulberry 0.8 1.0 0.85

I guess BreakAway employees are laughing their ass off at our attempts to find a 'solution'

Angel Pecunia | HG Downloads programmer and techie
Caesar IV Heaven | Children of the Nile Heaven | Citadel of Poseidon (Zeus/Poseidon) | The Great Wall (Emperor)
posted 10-28-02 21:49 ET (US)     27 / 55  
Let us know what you come up with Pecunia.

I've just about given up trying to figure out what's going on with farms. The more I test, the more I read, the more confused I get.

posted 10-29-02 08:05 ET (US)     28 / 55  

Thanks for your posts.

They have been really interesting.

Pecunia - You made a comment on your previous posts indicating that you do not use warehouses with your mill in a "Get" mode. The problem being as soon as the shop lady took goods, the mill carts would take off, get goods, and come back only to find the farm delivery walkers had filled that void.

I'm opposite from you in that I keep my mill in a "Get" mode and don't have that problems as I always make sure I have the warehouse room available for any surpluss goods. Thus I never have the farm delivery people waiting to place goods. It also give me the opportunity to store a lot of surplus goods in warehouses for gifts/demands and allows me to get a good visualization of where the game stands on certain goods.

Just two different ways of playing the same game.

I am enjoying your work on crop irrigation and have tried a few experiments of my own. My style is not to mix crops on a single farm for I like to shut down certain crops and with mixed farms that is not possible. I seldom use irrigation for I have found that it has not been needed. Maybe in the later senarios it will be required.

Keep up the good work but it sounds like from reading this post there is no easy answer as to farm production, crop layout and irrigation.

Good gaming,

posted 10-29-02 15:27 ET (US)     29 / 55  
The results of the tests I did the past few hours:

Test map: Juchengshi
Climate: Temperate
Farm crops tested: soybean, millet, cabbage (all on separate farms)

My farm layout was this:

Farm House

On all farms, the workers worked in the same pattern, and the % complete at harvest time never varied.

% complete per farm tile (noted when a farmer was harvesting the field):

97 94 92 89 95 94
86 84 81 80 78 91
87 73 Farm House 83 81
76 75 70 70
65 65 62 59
56 53 51 50 62 59 58
53 47 45 50 48 47 43

I made a little campaign that would start in the next age (iron, steel) in the next mission.
Starting dates:
1. Bronze: 500 BCE
2. Iron: 200 BCE
3. Steel: 1000 CE

Tests were ran for 6 years per mission/age: 3 years without irrigation, 3 years with irrigation.
Every single time, the farm produced 13 loads, sometimes 14. Nothing more, nothing less.

My conclusions:
1. Irrigation doesn't seem to work on 'best farmland' (65% fertile)
2. The iron age modifier (15% extra production after 300BCE) doesn't seem to work either.

Next thing: I took a look at the numbers the Agriculture Ministry reports: it says that 1 farm in this situation would support 696 people. That means one farm *should* produce 20.9 loads of food per year.
The way this seems to be calculated:
1. there are 38 fields
2. fertility = 65%
3. climate modifier for crop = 0.85
4. fields are assumed to be at 100% complete at harvest time.
Total farm production: ( #fields * fertility * climate mod.) / 100 = loads of food, in this case, 38 * 0.65 * 0.85 / 100 = 20.995, close enough to 20.9 IMO.

Just out of curiousity: I put a farm on totally bare land (on that same map), laid it out exactly as shown above, let it run a year without irrigation.
Production: 2 meagre loads.

I let it run again for a year, but with irrigation added this time.
Production: 9 loads.
Fertility there was 10%

Seems irrigation only works for non-optimal fertility (<65%).

Angel Pecunia | HG Downloads programmer and techie
Caesar IV Heaven | Children of the Nile Heaven | Citadel of Poseidon (Zeus/Poseidon) | The Great Wall (Emperor)
posted 10-29-02 22:34 ET (US)     30 / 55  
Nice work Pecunia. That takes care of irrigation and the iron age modifier. You almost inspire me to return to my testing.
posted 10-31-02 01:19 ET (US)     31 / 55  
nice work pecunia. I wonder why it is so erratic with multiple crops on the same farm? That seems to be what changes things the most. But like i said b4, a couple farms is usually enuff to support my cities.
posted 10-31-02 14:24 ET (US)     32 / 55  
Forgive me if this question has been asked before, but I'm new here...

I notice that some people prefer to use a 2x2 farm as opposed to a 3x3. Why is that? Is there any reason that you would not use the max. number of tiles you're allowed to increase the production?

posted 10-31-02 14:34 ET (US)     33 / 55  
I just used a strip of only 2 tiles instead of 3 because I was testing stuff..

If you have a farm (food) with only one (1) crop, your farmers won't be able to tend all fields well enough, and they certainly won't be able to harvest ALL 69 fields in the harvest month. So if you only have one crop available it *might* be wise to only lay out 2 tiles. I said *might* because with the results I've now seen I'm not even sure of that...

For orchards (silkworm shed, tea, lacquer) the production isn't more when you use all available tiles, even with only 20 tiles of mulberry trees I was able to get just as much silk from the shed as with all tiles.

Angel Pecunia | HG Downloads programmer and techie
Caesar IV Heaven | Children of the Nile Heaven | Citadel of Poseidon (Zeus/Poseidon) | The Great Wall (Emperor)
posted 10-31-02 14:38 ET (US)     34 / 55  
weir0013: The problem is that the larger farms and orchards don't always increase production. See this thread for a discussion of farm layout:,4452,120,60

I always use 9x9 farms when there are 2 or more crops. I try never to have single crop farms. Hemp farms I build 8x8. But orchards seem to produce the same or more with 6x6 layouts than the 8x8 allowed by the game.

posted 10-31-02 22:33 ET (US)     35 / 55  
Pecunia, that was brilliant, checking the figures for the agricultural ministry!
I looked at my rice tests and used your formula. I replanted my farm to look like yours (38 tiles). However I did not get such high % complete figures. The total for my farm was 2592 out of a possible 3800. I must have hired the slow workers.
So, the ministry of agriculture says I can support 861 people:
    38*.65*1.05 = 25.93 bags of rice
    861*.25*12/100 = 25.83
    monthly supply 2.2 *12 = 26.4

With the % complete total I had I would therefore expect:

    25.93* 2592 / 3800 = 17.68 bags of rice

I actually harvested 15.

Now for the REALLY interesting bit. I turned on the irrigation. The ministry of agriculture said I could now support 1393 people! So:

    38*1.05 = 39.9 bags of rice
    1393*.25*12/100 = 41.79
    Monthly supply of 3.5 * 12 = 42

Being conservative, I would therefore expect

    39.9*2592/3800 = 27.21 bags of rice

I harvested a meagre 12!

I think we can definitely assume that there is a bug here somewhere.

posted 10-31-02 23:48 ET (US)     36 / 55  
I did a number of tests in the Bronze Age on farms growing millet and cabbage in a temperate region. One of the main things I tested for was the effect of access road placement on production. I laid out 7 farms, each attached to its own storage yard, but where the access road touched the farm at a different place. Farm one's road touched at the center SW tile; farm two's at the SSW corner; and so on to farm 7 which left the building at center NE. All farms were on fertile ground with no irrigation & I tried to place all fields in the exact same way from farm to farm, except, of course, where the access road made that impossible.

In placing the crops I always tried to place the tiles closest to the access road first in 3X3 or 4X3 "squares". I also placed all the millet fields on the SW "half" and the cabbage fields to the NE.

One of the strangest results was that the millet yields varied widely based on how close the fields were to the access road tile, a lot more than cabbage yields did. With cabbage, it didn't matter a lot if the fields were on the near side of the farm or the backside of the farm, though the closer to the AR the slightly higher the yield (low 900; max 1400). With millet, the spread went from a low of 700 to a maximum of 1100 in one test and 900 to 1200 in another on the same farm/AR layout (the only difference between the two test runs that I can think of is how the fields were placed, i.e. which was laid first, millet or cabbage and in precisely what order).

I also saw that when the fields were laid out as in farm 1 or farm 7 (all the fields of one kind on the side of the farm closest to the AR and all of the other on the side most distant, and, therefore, half of each crop to the "left" of the AR and half of it to the "right") that crop growth on the left half was exactly the same as crop growth on the right.

I was originally interested in the behavior of the farmers, wondering if I could figure out what controlled their behavior, if it made a difference how far the farmer had to walk to get to the next tile, or how many were working on the fields by harvest time and what was it that controlled how many were spawned in a season. Some farms, I noticed, had 12 or more farmers tilling the fields by harvest time, while others had as few as 8. Watching the behavior of the farmers as the season progressed, I noticed that sometimes when a farmer returned to base, pretty soon two new farmers would emerge, but curiously sometimes only one would. As you might expect, the farms with the most farmers had the higher yields. I spent a lot of time counting farmers and wondering if there was some variable or randomizer effect that the computer calculated each time a farmer returned to base, but when I ran the same test from a save after crops had been placed the results were the same as the previous run no matter what the configuration, which led me to conclude that the number of farmers that appear depends only on how productive a configuration the program determines the farm to have and is not affected by the actual movements of the farmers themselves as the crops "grow".

My conclusions:

Access Roads emanating from the center tile of a farm tend to result in higher production.

The productivity of a field seems to be determined by some combination of placement order and closeness to the AR.

Further testing required!
I hope these observations and ideas prove helpful.

posted 11-01-02 21:08 ET (US)     37 / 55  
I've spent parts of the last three days looking at the farming system in depth. A few points:

1. Irrigation is working fine for single-crop farms and sheds (tea, lacquer, raw silk, and hemp).

2. There IS a problem in the harvest cycle for the Farmhouse. That is what is causing the inconsistent results that Pecunia first identified. The problem is not in the irrigation, fertility or iron age calculations. Those work fine. Rather it seems that the harvesters are not bringing out large enough baskets!

If a harvester visits multiple tiles before returning to the farmhouse, there is an overflow (okay in the code itself, not his/her basket) and all of the harvest from that worker is not credited back at the farmhouse. The problem wipes out much of the benefit of irrigation since irrigated farms produce more (and thus have more of the crops "spilt" on the ground by this bug).

Rest assured this will all be addressed by us. The farms were balanced so the current volume of farm output IS what we intended ... the benefit of irrigation is what is being compromised. We will rebalance everything so irrigation has its intended bonus effect going forward.

posted 11-02-02 00:02 ET (US)     38 / 55  
Excellent, Gobi Bear. I guess we'll have to find another part of the game to obsess about.
posted 11-02-02 02:46 ET (US)     39 / 55  
Thanks for clarifying, Gobi!

I knew there would be a more or less simple explanation for this

posted 11-02-02 15:05 ET (US)     40 / 55  
My thanks also Gobi Bear, for letting us know.
posted 11-03-02 10:01 ET (US)     41 / 55  
I just finished the first (Shang) campaign, and planned to do some testing on farm production. I'm glad I checked here before .
Thanks for the explanation, Gobi Bear! Now that we know, we can turn elsewhere I'm sure there are many other things that still need to be investigated... and cheers to Pecunia, that was excellent work!

Angel Baltic

posted 11-04-02 11:18 ET (US)     42 / 55  
I was playing the mission last night where you build the Grand Canal and noticed that my farms were producing more on the tiles next to the road so I decided to place roads almost all the way around the farm. These extra roads were connected to the main access road to the Mill. I don't have any "scientific" data to back it up but I know they did produce more on all of the tiles, after I placed the roads, but I don't know how much.
posted 11-06-02 13:45 ET (US)     43 / 55  
Just a basic Q about irrigation - do you folks place irrigation ditches right around the farms, or just on 1 or 2 sides?
posted 11-06-02 15:02 ET (US)     44 / 55  
Hi Wen. Irrigation works up to 5 tiles away so you will usually need it on most of 3 sides to cover the whole farm.
posted 11-06-02 16:13 ET (US)     45 / 55  
With a range of 5 tiles, irrigation ditches only have to be on two opposite sides of a farm. The irrigation can even be on the opposite side of a road and still provide full coverage. All of the farms in the example below are fully irrigated.

Farm House Farm House Farm House
Irrigation Pump
Farm House Farm House


posted 09-17-05 09:31 ET (US)     46 / 55  
give me map
posted 09-17-05 13:19 ET (US)     47 / 55  
Welcome to our forums lyj_study.

What "map" are you wanting? I don't understand your request.

posted 09-17-05 16:07 ET (US)     48 / 55  
If I understand correctly, the odd results of irrigation are for the unpatched version of Emperor, but have been fixed in the patched version. Please tell me if I am wrong.

I have the distinct impression that there are "diminishing returns" if you plant all 69 tiles of farm around a farmhouse. Tiles that are visited early in the growing season and frequently as time goes by might grow three or four times as much crop as a tile that is first visited only in the month before harvest.

Has anyone studied the question post-patch? I.e. if you are short on cash, and/or the growing season has already started, how many tiles should you plant to get the best return on your money?

For things other than trees, that is. I remember that you should only plant two rows of trees around a house, not three.

posted 09-17-05 23:24 ET (US)     49 / 55  
The patch readme file states that "Farm production has been improved to show a better bonus for irrigation, iron plows, and fertile ground."

I just finished searching the forums and can't find a thread in which agriculture output was analyzed in the post-patch game. I seem to recall it was discussed once, and maybe I just can't find it.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
posted 06-21-20 09:18 ET (US)     50 / 55  
A necro thread. Some forums don't like this, but it seems sensible to add to this one.

Having got to "The Mongols are coming" and wanting to build my farms on the ideal farmland N of the wall. I was disconcerted to find that the single small pond won't take a water pump. Since I suspect that any invasions will come from the N, I didn't want to build my main city there.

So the question was, how much difference does irrigation make? Very few threads on this and this is the latest one. And no memorable rule of thumb, unless I missed it.

I would have said it was intuitive that irrigation was a good thing in every circumstance, and I've always done it if I can.

So for the record, I made some quick and dirty tests, to get an approximation. It's not meant to cover every crop and every circumstance. But I did run each test several times, from before the start of the growing season with full employment.

So for single crop rice paddy on ideal farmland (65% fertile) one farm with 38 fields. I got 2400 rice if irrigated and 1700 if not. Increase c 40%

For one farm on mix of Poor/Good/Rich farmland (34-56% fertile) with 23 fields each of Bean Curd/Cabbage/Millet.
I got 3700 total if irrigated and 2200 if not. Increase c 68%.

So it appears (as has been mentioned) that the poorer the cropland the greater the improvement, but if is still worth while on any land.

It might be possible with exhaustive testing that a universal empirical formula could be worked out, but quick and dirty is the way to go ;-)

So my rule of thumb is Irrigation increase c 40% on ideal cropland, c 70% on less good cropland.

If anyone thinks this is wrong please post a correction but hopefuly not 15 years in the future.
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