And now, SCIENCE! A ten-year experiment to determine whether bio farms are better than farms, for a particular crop. I chose Tobacco for this experiment, because I had to measure the Bio Farm via exports rather than just looking at its production directly.
Bio Farms show up at 1967, so I found a challenge that started in 1965, built a farm, and then built the bio farm when it showed up later. (The crop quality was uniform when I started this experiment; this image is from a few years in.)
I then set the wages to 1, made sure all of my citizens had a job, and imported a bunch of foreign experts. Then I raised the wages to 25 so none of them would look for a better job.
Most of the farmers were the same (below-average intelligence), but there was one ringer on the Farm that had Exceptional intelligence, and his final skill was completely maxed when the experiment ended, and another one with Good intelligence. None of the bio farm farmers had any better than Above Average intelligence. The results are therefore a bit biased, but hopefully still useful. The farmers with Below Average intelligence ended the experiment with about 55% skill. (The Ministry gave a 30% learning boost, and the Literacy Program gave another 30% learning boost.)
If you're curious, the other crop conditions for the bio farm: coffee was a pale green, corn was yellow, and sugar was orange. Tobacco, of course, was a deep green.
There were no problems with transportation during the experiment; the teamsters did their jobs.
The farm produced 6769 tobacco, and the bio farm produced 11578 goods. (This is, of course, horribly inaccurate; either number could be off by 500+ if I ran this experiment again.)
Over the course of the experiment, I exported a total of $203,836 in tobacco, and the price held steady at $1728 per 100 tobacco. That means that the farm was responsible for $116,968 of the exports, leaving the bio farm with the remainder of $86,868 in exports, or 5027 tobacco.
The farm produced 35% more tobacco than the bio farm, but it also had more skilled farmers. In all likelihood, the production of a bio farm is very close to the production of four farms producing different crops.
Also, a bio farm does not degrade the soil, but a normal farm does. I demolished the farms when I was done with the experiment, so you can see how the soil fertility for tobacco was degraded by the farm.
Given that the productivity is fairly similar, but the normal farm degrades the soil, I highly recommend bio farms as more productive over the long haul.
- The construction of a bio farm is about 3x that of a regular farm
- The upkeep + wages (when paying 5/month) is roughly equal to a regular farm (bio farm = 384/year, farm = 408/year)
- The productivity (across all goods) is 2x-4x higher at a bio farm (depending on whether you can find the perfect spot for all 4 crops; the Fertilize! edict will help here)
- Bio farms don't degrade the soil over time like regular farms do
- If you need 2 farms to feed a factory, you will need 2 bio farms to feed the same factory.