Farming in Minecraft
Farming, either of crops or animals, allows players to plant vegetables on farmland or create ranches for animals to produce food, or other important materials such as leather or wool.
> Which plants can you farm? Click to reveal!
Wheat - Used to make bread and breed animals such as cows, pigs and sheep
Potato - Can be cooked to create baked potatoes
Carrot - Used for hunger management and to control pigs and rabbits
Beetroot - Used to create rose red dye or crafted with a wooden bowl to create beetroot soup
Pumpkin - Used to create jack o'lanterns and both iron and snow golems
Melon - Used to create glistering melon slice
To grow crops, you need access to 4 things: seeds, a hoe, dirt, and water. Seeds for any of the growable plants can be found when harvesting grass, killing zombies, loot in dungeons, or in village farms after harvesting their crops. Fully mature plants will also drop seeds of the same type when harvested.
Seeds can be sown into farmland which is dirt or grass blocks that have been tilled by a hoe. After using a hoe on the selected block, the dirt will become grooved and will be a pixel lower than the untreated block next to it. Then, you’re ready to plant your first seed! To keep your farmland healthy, make sure that there is water within 4 blocks of your planted crops, otherwise the land will eventually dry out and revert to dirt. Crops will grow on dry farmland, though very slowly. Hydrated farmland is much darker than dried out farmland, helping you see if your crop field is properly maintained.
As well as farmland and water, plants also need light to grow. This can either be sunlight, by building your farm in the over-world or by using torches when creating underground farms. Once plants have all these conditions, they will start to grow. Growth happens at random intervals for each individual crop, so your seeds may not mature at the same time. Plants can take anywhere between 5 minutes to 35 minutes real-time to fully mature, depending on their conditions and the luck of the draw. Growth can be sped up by interacting with a crop while holding bone meal.
Wheat will grow slightly yellow when fully matured, whereas carrots, potatoes and beetroot will show the vegetable protruding from the ground. Crops can be harvested by breaking them with or without a tool, but will only produce one seed if they are broken while still immature. Melons and Pumpkin seeds create stalks that don’t need to be broken as they will consistently grow fruit as long as the previous one is harvested.
Harvesting crops one at a time can be tedious, so if you want to find ways of optimising your farms production, there are plenty of sites that offer easy to follow guides on how to set one up such as the Minecraft Wiki’s article on Crop Farming.
Animal farming is slightly more straightforward than crop farming, and can produce some of the best food in the game, as well as useful items!
The only problem with animal farming is that it can be tricky to get started, especially if you don’t have a lead or other ways to make animals follow you. Because of this, most players start with crop farming, then use the crops to set up animal farms.
To make animals follow you to their new home, you need to carry the food that you breed them with. They will then follow you as long as you stay within 8 blocks of them, or they’ll start wandering off. Once you've got them into your pen, start feeding them their favourite food. They will then go into love mode and produce one baby animal. You can breed the animals about every 5 minutes, however babies will take about 20 minutes to grow up.
> Which animals can be farmed? Click to reveal!
Cow - Bred by feeding them wheat
Mooshroom - Bred by feeding them wheat
Sheep - Bred by feeding them wheat
Chicken - Bred by feeding them seeds
Pig - Bred by feeding them carrots, potatoes or beetroots
Rabbit - Bred by feeding them carrots or golden carrots
After breeding a significant number of animals, set to work with your sword, killing as many as you need to gather the materials you want, but make sure you spare at least two of each animal so you can repeat the cycle without having to search the world for more animals to replace them.
There are limits to how many animals you can keep in a pen. If it gets too crowded, animals will be pushed into the walls and either suffocate or, if the walls are fences or glass, pushed right through them. Also if 24 or more animals occupy the same block space, they will start to suffocate as well as seriously slow down your game.
When farming sheep, you don’t have to kill them to get wool, just dye them as desired, and shear them regularly. They also need a fairly large pen filled with grass to recover their wool after shearing.
Chickens are a special case. Not only do they breed after eating seeds, but they also lay eggs which can spawn chicks when thrown, making them very easy to multiply. The annoyance of having to gather the eggs led to the development of egg farms, where eggs are gathered to some central place. Hoppers allow the eggs to be automatically stored, and even brought to a dispenser for auto-hatching. You can find layouts for this design online!