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This article is about an older version of DF.
General farming flowchart.

Farming is the action of growing crops for food, alcohol production and cloth manufacturing. While small forts can easily be sustained by plant gathering, hunting and trading, farming is vital to large settlements.

Farming is done at a farm plot building (b-p, resize with umkh). It requires seeds and a worker with the "Farming (Fields)" labor enabled.

Depending on where the farm plot is constructed, different crops may be planted. Farm plots built above ground are not suitable for the crops grown on subterranean farm plots and vice versa. Note that the attributes Inside, Outside are of no relevance. You can grow surface plants indoors by channelling out the roof above the desired plot and then constructing a floor (b-C-f) over the open space. Doing this changes the tile from Dark to Light, despite there being a roof (you do not need to make the roof out of glass for this to work).

See the article on crops for details on the conditions needed to grow the available plants.

Introduction to Farming[edit]

After building a farm plot building (b-p, resize with umkh) on soil or muddy rock, you must select which crops to plant there.

Press q and move the cursor over the farm, you will see a list of crops you can select to grow in the current season. You can change which season is displayed by pressing a,b,c, or d. Move the blue selector up and down with - and +, and press Enter to choose a crop to plant during that season (highlighted in white).

You must have the appropriate seeds to plant a crop there. To easily see how many of each seeds you have you can go to the Kitchen menu (z right Enter). Plump helmets are a good beginning crop for a first cave farm, and wild strawberries are a good choice for outdoor fields. Check the crops page for details on different seeds. Only some plants are edible so make sure the seeds you're using will produce food. It's often a good idea to pick a seed which produces a plant which can be brewed. This will create alcohol and also give you a seed to plant again next season.

Instructing a plot to remain fallow z during a particular season will instruct dwarves not to plant in that plot during that season.


Farm SizePotashPer Square

Pressing f lets you toggle fertilization on or off. To fertilize a farm plot, one needs potash, which is produced by processing ash. It greatly improves the yield of a plot, increasing the stack size by up to 4. However fertilization only lasts for one season, and requires plot size / 4 (round down) + 1 of potash for saturation. Therefore fully fertilizing a farm would require burning a large amount of trees each season. The table on the right illustrates the effect of the formula on potash needed per square. Generally, larger farms use less, approaching a limit of 1/4 bar per square. The worst sizes are multiples of 4, it's better to have plots one or two less than a multiple of 4. While costly, fertilization enhances productivity of not only farmers, but many industries down the line, e.g. brewing, cooking, milling and threshing, due to the large increase in stack size of the plants, which are still processed in a single action. Fertilizing grants 30 XP of farming experience for each unit of potash used.

Subterranean Farming[edit]

To grow the six "dwarven" plants, including the plump helmet, you will need an underground farm plot. The seeds and spawn available to your dwarves at embark will only grow underground. Underground farm plots must be placed on soil or muddy stone.v0.31.19

Muddying a stone floor requires temporarily covering it with water: common methods include a bucket brigade or controlled flooding (see: Irrigation) by temporarily diverting a river or pool, using a floodgate or door to stop the flow. You may also find a muddied area in a cavern, but note that each tile underneath the farm plot must be muddied. Most caverns have entire open areas which will be permanently covered in mud, but if you dig into the walls of a cavern or chisel away a pillar, the freshly cut floor area will not be muddied until you get it wet. Underground caverns are dirty, and frequently contain piles of mud that are perfect for quickly setting up farms. However, given the wide variety of creatures found in caverns, you may want to take precautions. Consider keeping a squad close at hand to guard the farm, or walling off a muddied area for your dwarves' exclusive use.

Underground farming is not restricted to soil layers and caverns: underground floor of any material -- rough stone, smoothed stone, ore, gem -- can support subterranean farm plots once there is a layer of mud covering it. See irrigation for tips on getting the right amount of water to the farm plots.

Above Ground Farming[edit]

  • Above ground crops farming is impossible in Ocean and Mountain biomes, even if the farm is built on mud.

Above ground farming is basically the same as underground farming, with the simplifying distinction that above ground plots typically do not require preparatory work. However, there are some complications.

The first complication is that seeds cannot be chosen at embark, as dwarven civilizations do not have access to those sort of plants. They can be bought from elven and human caravans; above-ground plants can be gathered using the Plant gathering designation, and then brewed, milled, threshed or eaten directly (depending on the plant) to produce seeds.

The second complication is that the farming must be done on soil or muddied rock, being above ground. Typically, it is done on the surface, which is dangerous (due to aggressive animals, ambushes and sieges). However, any land which has ever been exposed to sunlight becomes permanently marked as "above ground". So, if you have multiple Z-layers of soil, you can channel some above-ground land, remove the resulting ramps, then construct a floor above, where the surface once was. The (now inside and protected) lower soil will still be suitable for farming outdoor plants like wild strawberries, longland grass, rope reed, and anything else you may find. If your soil is not thick enough, you may still get a secure above ground farm by doing the same with any rock and muddying it. Alternatively, you may build a greenhouse around some soil.

Above ground farms built on unmuddied rock layers will show the message "No seeds available for this location", and you will not be able to plant anything in them.

Some crops require a particular temperature range to grow; so although it may be possible to plant them in any season, to obtain optimal usage of farm plots it may be necessary to coordinate planting with seasonal temperature variations.

Farm plots in action[edit]

Once a farm plot has been built and crops have been selected for the current season, dwarves with the growing labor enabled will begin planting the selected seed. Farmers will not start planting if the tile they would start on is not muddy, even if all other tiles in the plot are.Verify The higher a Dwarf's grower skill in planting, the more plants will be harvested from each seed planted. The farming labor is fairly low in priority, so if you want a full time farmer, it is best to disable all other labors.

Plants take time to grow, depending on their type. Once a plant is fully grown, a dwarf will harvest it. By default, any dwarf will do this. Harvesting plants is not affected by any skill, although it provides a small amount of grower experience. So it's a good idea to set only your planters to harvest, not anyone. To do that, set option "Only Farmers Harvest" oh.

Plants that remain in the field for too long will wither. These plants will eventually rot away. There's no use for withered plants. Also any plants that are still growing when their growing seasons end will be removed. As in DF 2010 farmers will plant up until the last day of the growing season, it might be a good idea to disable the last season of each crop so that seeds are not lost.

Depending on the number of growers and their experience and the rate at which the plant grows, not all squares of large plots may be used. [Verify]

Any farm plot that has both Above Ground and Subterranean tile attributes within the plot will only be partially planted, if at all. Verify using k over each square of the plot and remake as needed to follow the proper attributes.


Create a custom stockpile near your farm which will only accept seeds. This will consolidate your seeds into one place, instead of having them littered all through the dining room. As a single barrel can hold up to 10 seed bags (each of which can hold 100 seeds of a specific type), this stockpile can be only three or four tiles. Alternately, you can make a more traditional sized custom stockpile, which only accepts seeds and bars of potash for fertilizing. It may also be a good idea to set aside a few seeds from each type of crop and forbid them, as a seed bank in case of catastrophe.

You can also create a custom stockpile that will only accept plants, to avoid having it all mixed up with your meat and drinks. It would be a good idea to have this stockpile near your still, farmer's workshop, kitchen, etc. If you suffer from plump helmet overflow, create a plump-helmet-only stockpile, forbid plump helmets from all other food stockpiles, and let the crops in the field die if they can't be picked. It is worth noting that withering crops in the field do not produce miasma.

Use the stocks menu, and go to the Kitchen tab. From here you can see how many of each kind of food you have. If you're running out of a certain kind of seed, toggle the corresponding plant "Cook" setting to red. Cooking plants doesn't leave a seed. If you have too many of a certain kind of seed, toggle the seed "Cook" setting to blue. Just make sure you check on the stocks and toggle it back before you run out, or use the seed bank idea above.

See also[edit]