DF2014:What is the best crop
|This article is about the current version of DF.|
There is no "best" crop, but some are clearly superior to others, depending on your needs and available resources.
Many dwarves prefer the humble plump helmet, which can be grown year-round, eaten raw, cooked, or brewed into wine, and many early fortresses rely on the plump helmet crop as a staple of their diet. All above-ground crops are all-seasons as well, the best of which are probably sun berries, hemp, and whip vines. For a table summarizing the crop products, limitations, and values, refer to the main Crop article. Because of occasional above-ground inconveniences, having an underground plump-helmet farm or at least some plump-helmet seeds may be useful emergency preparation.
Four principal seeds available at the beginning of an expedition (cave wheat, pig tail, plump helmet, sweet pod) all produce underground crops that can be made into booze worth 10☼. Above ground crops will require you to trade or gather for seeds, but the best of them that can be farmed are sun berries, which produce sunshine worth 25☼.
Keep in mind that dwarves care more about the diversity of available booze than its value.
For quantity, cave wheat and sweet pod mature in 42 days, vice 25 for the other crops, so they may yield less alcohol per farm plot. Plump helmets mature in 25 days and grow year round, which may be a good starting point for your alcohol industry, but exclusive dependence on it will cause stress.
In terms of sheer dwarfbucks, sweet pods produce the most valuable foodstuff: Dwarven syrup (100☼). In terms of quantity and value, other good crops are quarry bushes (which yield 5 quarry bush leaves when processed) and whip vines (which can be milled into whip vine flour). Diversity in meals is also important to dwarves.
All plant thread is equally valuable (at 2☼ per unit), so the main decision is between a seasonal underground crop (pig tails) or one of the year-round above-ground crops (cotton, rope reeds, hemp, flax, jute, ramie, kenaf).