Time to really get serious about growing that hemp for... clothing, as Rust has introduced a new update, and it's all about farming.
The rework focuses on giving players a more in-depth system for farming, in which "all conditions of a plant are now important" - with better conditions giving better rewards. For the best yields, you'll need to get the lighting, water saturation, ground condition and temperature of your plants right.
Thankfully, there's an info panel to help with all that, which shows you real-time progress on conditions as you change them, along with the plant's requirements. "Each plant type can have different resiliences to the various conditions, meaning some will grow more easily in certain areas than others," explains the blog post.
There's also a new item called the composter which lets players "stick stuff in, wait a bit, [and] get fertiliser out". Something that makes great fertiliser is horse dung - a new item which presents itself from a horse every 20-25 minutes. Amazingly, admins also have the ability to adjust a server's poop rate with the command "dungTimeScale". I will be conducting experiments to discover the limits of this. Although sadly, according to player reports, it seems you cannot throw the poo.
A little more high-brow is the new plant genetics system, which lets you play god with some good old-fashioned artificial selection. Each plant has six gene slots, each of which affects a different attribute (such as growth rate), with green genes being good, and red being bad. Players can clone plants should they like the genetic makeup, or crossbreed to create their own strands. Once a plant reaches the crossbreeding stage, it will check nearby plants for their genes - and if enough share the same gene in the same slot, this will overwrite the original plant's gene.
The update's now live along with the usual monthly wipe for official servers, so most people should be on a level playing field to mess around with these tools. Or crop field, rather.