Food production

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The food production chain in RimWorld results in edible food to keep your colony sustained. There are multiple ways to obtain raw ingredients for refined food, and refined food itself.

Farming

The most common way to produce food in RimWorld is to farm it. Vegetarian ingredients are obtained by growing crops, and meat ingredients are obtained by rearing livestock.

Crops

RimWorld has five main crop types: corn, haygrass, potatoes, rice, and strawberries. Each plant in turn has their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages, making them all distinguishable from one another.

Each crop will be roughly summarized here, but each crops' own pages will go into more detail on that particular crop:


Corn

Corn plant.png

Advantages:

  • More health points than any other crop (150 vs 85)
  • Less labor-intensive, particularly for growers
  • Yields a lot of corn per harvest
  • Corn has a long shelf life
  • Grows well in rich soil

Disadvantages:

  • Long time between harvests means that supply is less consistent
  • More risky when it comes to crop loss
  • Can't be sown in hydroponics basins
  • Grows poorly in gravel

Usage:

  • Supplement food supply alongside other more stable food sources.
  • Grow when short on growers or lack enough freezer capacity.

Haygrass

Haygrass.png

Advantages:

  • Hay stacks up to 200, compared to 75 for other raw foods.
  • Exceptionally good nutrition output
  • Hay has a long shelf life if covered by a roof.

Disadvantages:

  • Can't be sown in hydroponics basins
  • Hay is only indirectly edible by humans by making it into kibble. Even then, they won't like it.

Usage:

  • Supplement food for grazing animals when pastures are depleted.
  • Make kibble along with unwanted meats like insect or human meats.

Potatoes

Potato plant.png

Advantages:

  • Grows well in gravel

Disadvantages:

  • Potatoes have a slightly shorter shelf life
  • Grows poorly in rich soil and hydroponics

Usage:

  • Grow in areas lacking fertile soil such as deserts.

Rice

Rice plant.png

Advantages:

  • Grows quickly, so food supply is consistent
  • Grows well in rich soil and hydroponics

Disadvantages:

  • Grows poorly in gravel
  • Yields little rice per harvest
  • Very labor-intensive

Usage:

  • Start off your food production by growing this first.
  • Grow in hydroponics basins for rapid production.

Strawberries

Strawberry plant.png

Advantages:

  • Berries don't give any negative thoughts when eaten raw

Disadvantages:

  • Inferior nutrition output compared to other crops
  • Berries have a short shelf life

Usage:

  • Provide food for caravans taking medium-length trips.
  • Grow when short on cooks.

Animal products

Though plant-based foods can sustain your colonists, you will usually need animal products if you're going to make better meals for your colonists.

There are two kinds of food products that can be yielded from animals: milk and meat.


Meat

MeatBig cropped.png

Meat is butchered from any freshly killed animal. The amount of meat obtained is dependent on each animal, and the butchery efficiency of the cook. In general, better cooks can make more out of each dead animal.


Milk

Milk.png

Milk can be obtained from some female tamed animals. It requires handlers to milk them occasionally.

Livestock rearing

Rearing livestock is a good choice for constantly providing these animal products for use. Milk in particular can only be obtained by milking livestock, outside of trading.

There are two factors you will want to consider for livestock (solely for food production): nutrition efficiency and production rate.

Nutrition efficiency

This refers to how effectively the animal converts nutrition consumed to nutrition produced (either by milking or butchering). The grass on the map contains plenty of nutrition which in inaccessible to colonists, and requires you convert them to meat or milk before being consumable by colonists.

For meat:

  • Megaspiders have the highest efficiency of all animals with 0.716 nutrition generated per unit input. However, colonists don't like insect meat, and megaspiders can't be farmed.
  • Foxes have the highest efficiency for regular meat with 0.561. They need to eat meat, thus there is significantly less food available.
  • Pigs or wild boars have the highest efficiency for herbivores with 0.246.

Production rate

This is pretty straightforward. It is affected by the reproduction and growth rate of meat-producing animals.

Other methods

Foraging

Early-game, you're not going to be able to set up a farm straight away; foraging is your best bet for keeping your colony sustained at this point. Forage for berries and agave, and hunt wild animals.

You can also scavenge kills from predators, if they left anything behind, but be careful not to end up as prey yourself.

Biomes

Different biomes have different foods available to foraging.

  • Temperate forests are good in terms of food; you will have a good number of animals to hunt and berries to forage.
  • Boreal forests have troves of raspberries waiting to be harvested and a decent number of animals during summer. Things get tougher during winter when animals leave and plants freeze over, making them inedible (though that doesn't stop you from harvesting berries).
  • Arid shrublands have large numbers of agave plants growing, providing lots of food (though agave fruit doesn't taste good raw), and large animals that yield lots of meat.
  • There's little to eat in a desert and even less in an extreme desert. Foraging is not a good choice there.
  • Ice sheets yield little food, with a lot of land being unable to grow plants. Hunting is usually the only choice and there's little to hunt.
  • There's nothing to see on sea ice.

If you're lucky a herd of migrating animals will pass by, regardless of biome, providing valuable food especially in food deficient areas.

Hunting

Between growing enough food to be self-sufficient and taming enough animals to set up a sustainable meat/milk farm, you will most likely have to resort to hunting for meats and leather.

Trade

Trading gives lots of food instantly without much work from your colonists, but is more expensive marketwise than growing your own food.

For colonies growing lots of food crops, trade can help obtain animal products such as meat in bulk for cooking quality meals in exchange for crop produce which is often in excess.

Processing food

Eating raw food isn't really favorable to your colonists, usually netting them a -7 mood penalty. Besides, cooking food makes it easier to digest, allowing colonists and animals to obtain more nutrition from them. Raw food can be made into several varieties of cooked meals or processed foods.


There are a few common considerations when picking the meal(s) to produce:

  • *Work Efficiency* How much work each full unit of 1 Nutrition takes; relevant if cooking time is limited
  • *Nutrient Efficiency* How much output nutrients can be obtained from input raw nutrients; relevant if food sources are limited
  • *Spoil Time* How long food lasts if not frozen. Especially relevant for low tech situations, hot climates and caravans
  • *Storage Efficiency* How many nutrients fit into one stack, useful if freezer space is limited. However non- and slow-spoiling food does not need Freezer space to begin with.
  • *Weight Efficiency* How much it weights/nutrients, relevant for Caravans
  • *Mood Effects* Food can change the mood of Humanoids dependent on the food given
Meal Name Work Efficency (Work/1 Nutrition) Nutrient output (Nutrition out) Raw Nutrients (Nutrition in) Nutrient Efficiency (Nutrition in/Nutrition out) Units/Full Stack Storage Efficiency (Nutrition/Tile) Weight/Unit Weight Efficiency (Nutrition/Kg) Others
Simple Meal 5.5 c. 0.9 0.5 180% 10 9 0.44 2.045 c.
  • Trivial Production
  • Short Spoil Time (4 days)
  • High Work Efficiency
Fine Meal 8.8 c. 0.9 0.5 180% 10 9 0.44 2.045 c.
  • Slight Upgrade of Simple Meal (+5 Mood)
  • Needs 2 kinds of Resources (one Vegetarian)
Lavish Meal 14 1 1 100% 10 10 0.44 2.27 c.
  • Slightly better Storage/Weight Efficiency and Mood at worse Nutrient and Work Efficiency
Pemmican 12.5 0.8 (0.05) 0.05 160% 75 3.75 0.02 2.5
  • Yields 16 Units per cooking action (per unit value in Brackets)
  • Very long Spoil time at low tech, making Freezing largely unnecessary
  • Needs 2 kinds of Resources (Meat and Vegetarian)
  • Abysmal Storage but good Weight Efficency
Packaged Survival Meal 26.6 c. 0.9 1 90% 10 9 0.40 2.25
  • Does not Spoil
  • Terrible Nutrient and Work efficiency
  • +5 Mood similar to Fine meals
Nutrient Paste 0 0.9 0.3 300% 10 9 0.44 2.04
  • Counts as Awful Meal
  • Does not cause Food Poisoning
  • No work required
  • Extremely high Nutrient Efficiency
  • Not intended for Storage/taking along
  • Produced on demand from a Nutrient Paste Dispenser, making it unsuitable for animal feed and vulnerable to energy outages and
Kibble 2 2.5 (0.05) 2 125% 75 3.75 0.02 2.5
  • Does not spoil
  • Yields 50 Units per cooking action (per unit value in Brackets)
  • Needs 2 Ingredients (any 2 different)
  • Edible by most animals and humans (with a mood penalty)

Food usage guide

Colony meals

  • Simple meals are usually the first stop. They can be made from everything humans can eat raw.
  • One should then upgrade to Fine meals as soon as possible, as it offers better mood and nutrition at no other penalties other than the need for animal ingredients.
  • Lavish Meals are a investment that should only be undertaken carefully. While they offer a mood improvement and are very satisfying, they have a poor nutrient efficiency. If food sources get scarce, downgrade to Fine Meals or Simple Meals.
  • If space, food sources or cooking time are at a Premium, Nutrient Paste can be used. However the mood effect offsets its convenience. It is also subject to energy outages so at least some reserves of other food should be prepared.
  • Outside of the growing Season, reserves of slow spoiling food and meals from hunted meat are common sources. A proper winter at sub-zero temperatures can make food storage much easier.

Fodder (Herbivore)

  • Grazing is the option picked by most Herbivores by default. They will simply eat wild plants within the allowed area. As long as it is not off-season or there is a truly large amount of animals, most maps can sustain Herbivores with ease. Automatically done in caravans if possible.
    • Animals can also eat raw plants from your crop fields. This however is extremely ineffective as the plants themselves yield a whole lot less then harvesting them.
  • Kibble allows Herbivores to eat nutrient sources not normally part of their diet. In particular, excess meat (especially Human/Insect meat) and animal products can be turned into animal feed. The only real advantage towards meals is that it last forever, can be made with Hay and has better Work Efficiency.
  • Simple Meals and Pemmican may sound odd, but are a viable option. They offer a higher nutrient efficiency (170% and 160% vs 125%) and storage efficiency (3.75 vs 9) than Kibble, while giving the same option to mask the use of Flesh. They also do not need management of pops actually working the butchers table.
  • Hay has same nutrition per Unit as Kibble and most Vegetables but over twice as Weight and Storage efficient and grows rapidly. Use to supplement herbivore food when the map is not supplying enough grass to feed everyone.

Fodder (Carnivore)

  • Most carnivores by nature can eat raw corpses. While doing so provides Nutrition, it removes bodyparts and thus meat yield from Butchering.
  • Raw meat is another natural Option. Butchering may not yield a higher effective Nutrition than eating the corpses, especially when done by inept cooks.
  • Simple meals and pemmican are an option as they are with herbivores.
  • Kibble is slightly more interesting for carnivores. It allows the use of vegetables - including the very effective Hay - for feeding them.

Caravan Food

When sending out a Caravan, spoil time and weight are of utmost importance. Easily spoiled foodstuffs (most meals, raw meat) utterly unsuitable for anything but short distances. Be warned that time until rotting are affected by ambient temperatures.

  • Raw vegetables have a surprisingly long shelf life so they should not be underestimated if the mood penalty for Raw Food can be taken.
  • Pemmican is a natural Solution for Caravans. It offers very good spoil time at acceptable weight and Nutrient efficiency
  • Packaged survival meals last indefinitely, but has way worse Nutrient and Work efficiency than anything else. That makes it only useful for extremely long range travel or in high Temperature climates where even Pemmican rots fast.
  • *Grazing* once again, Herbivores can Graze. However this option is dependent on the Tile and Season so it can change during Travel.
  • If no Grazing is possible, Hay is somewhat preferable over Kibble for Herbivores, if you can gather enough of it.
  • *Kibble* is useful for feeding carnivores and even Herbivores during really long stretches of non-grazing world tiles.

To-Do List

  • Detail some of the best options for livestock to rear
  • Consider biomes for food foraging
  • Risks of hunting
  • Advantages and disadvantages of each means of production
  • Insect farming and cannibalism

To ensure that no information added is outdated, data could be extracted from the following spreadsheets:
Animals[1]
Plants[2]