In the online game CountryLife, profit maximization can be a style of play that leads to monoculture, not very interesting to look at but satisfying to achieve.
Profitability of CropsEdit
Here is a table showing the growing times and profitability of the crops in CountryLife, as of May 2010:
This table lists all the crops and the commodities that can be produced from them, in order of increasing growing time. The cost, selling price, profit and profit per hour are the number of CountryLife coins for one unit of the commodity--a "unit" being one pail of milk, one jar of jam, and so on. The time to produce a commodity is determined by the crop with the longest growing time that goes into producing that commodity. In the case of bread, there are three primary crops, corn, wheat and clover, which are processed to make eggs, flour and milk, which are then used to make bread. Of those three crops, corn has the longest growing time, so it determines the rate at which bread can be produced.
It is important to know the assumptions behind the profit calculations when interpreting the values shown on this chart. Specifically,
- The chart shows the profit for one unit of each commodity. For field crops, one unit is the amount that can be grown on one tile or square of plowed land. For trees, however, one unit is the amount of fruit that is produced by one tree. Since each tree occupies an area less than one square, the profit per square of land planted with trees depends on the efficiency of the layout. See the article on trees for a discussion of the profitability of farm layouts that combine trees with field crops.
- Processing times are not included in the chart. Processing times are quite short, compared to growing times, and, except for pollination, all processing can be done while the next crop is growing. Consequently, processing does not determine the rate at which a commodity can be produced.
- Input costs are strictly based on the seed costs of the primary crops that go into each commodity. The profit calculation does not include the amortization of equipment costs. Since the machines and animals last forever, their initial cost can be spread over a (theoretically) unlimited number of production cycles, so those costs per unit approach zero.
- Honey is assumed to have zero cost. Honey can be considered a by-product of growing clover and is essentially free. Honey is an important component in profit maximization strategies on large farms, but it can tend to pile up on small-scale farms. A surplus of honey is not a bad thing; it just means you need more fruit trees to make use of it.
- Trees are assumed to have zero cost. Most players will get all their trees as gifts from neighbors; there is rarely any reason to buy trees. If you buy a tree, it can take several weeks for it to produce enough fruit to pay for its original purchase.
Other CountryLife profit spreadsheets have been published on the web which include opportunity costs in the profit calculations for some of the processed products. For example, there is one which includes the sale price of honey as an input cost for jam, under the theory that the honey that goes into the jam could have been sold for 5 coins. While that type of analysis is sometimes appropriate in economics, it does not apply to cost accounting.
Strategy: If you can visit often throughout the dayEdit
If you have trees, you will need honey to make jam to maximize the return on their fruit; for that, you will need to grow some clover (4 hours, therefore not good value growing overnight), which leads to milk and maybe cheese production. But wheat has a convenient growing time (12 hours, i.e. two efficient plantings per day) and corn (20 hours) is good for overnight growing (using the clover fields) then feeding to chickens for eggs. Ultimately, your best earner will be bread as soon as you have a baker, needing equal amounts of eggs, flour, and milk, earning 8.75 coins per hour of growth.
Once you have a mill and a baker, you can sell your sheep and devote all wheat production to making bread. Keep the Angora Rabbits and grow carrots overnight in the space that you devote to growing clover during the day.
You should not be planting tomatoes, grapes, or berries (except some blueberries to fill a 3-hour space when time hasn't worked perfectly).
- Monoculture based on Angora Sweaters
- 0700 hr: plant carrots in every field. feed any carrots left in your barn to your Angora Rabbits and feed the resulting Angora Hair to your weaver, in each case collecting and restocking with the standard four clicks on the output whenever two units have been produced. Ultimate return when you visit the barn to sell: carrots cost 75, sell for 118: profit 43, i.e. 5.375 coins/hour (minus a fraction because the actual time from one harvest to the next will be longer than 8 hours by the few seconds that must elapse between harvesting and replanting).
- 1500 hr (or a minute or two later, depending on your speed at harvesting and planting and on the precise growing time, which may not be exactly as stated): harvest carrots then repeat above process.
- 2300 hr (+): do it all again, but leave the carrots and unused hair until the morning so that you can get 6 to 7 hours' sleep.
- Profit per plot per day: 16.125 (minus a fraction as noted above)
- If time delays have mounted up making bedtime too late, replace one of the day shifts with clover (harvested only after it's pollinated - unless you decide that you can't afford the space for a beehive), followed by blueberries (or blueberries followed by clover), to cover a 7-hour (+) period. Either sell the clover, or convert it to milk if you can afford the space for a cow and time to deal with it. Sell the blueberries and honey, or combine them to make jam if you can afford the space for a jam'r and time to deal with it. Yes, there are a lot of ifs and buts!!
- One weaver produces one sweater per minute, 1440 per day at full production but only 960 in 16 hours of tending. So it can cope with about 320 fields if you want 8 hours for sleep etc. If your ranch is 19x19 or bigger, buy a second weaver. Calculate how many rabbits you need in a similar way.
- Bread and extras (not needing weaver but probably more profitable if you have one)
- 0700 hr: plant wheat in one-third of your fields, clover in the rest. Feed unused clover to cows after it's pollinated; feed corn to chickens and supply Dutch Mill and baker with whatever you can throughout the day.
- 1100 hr: Harvest clover, replace with corn. Continue with ongoing feeding duties as above.
- 1900 hr: Harvest wheat and replace with more wheat. Feeding as above until bedtime. If your wheat is now in much greater quantities than your milk and eggs, feed some wheat to a sheep and sell the wool (or save it up for use in a weaver).
- Next day, same again, though the planting times will be a few seconds later because the actual time from one harvest to the next will be longer than 8 hours by the few seconds that must elapse between harvesting and replanting.
- Profit per six plots per day: (cost of 4 clover, 4 corn, and 8 wheat subtracted from sale price of 4 bread and 4 wool sweaters (minus a fraction as noted above) - ?
- If time delays have mounted up making bedtime too late, replace the daytime wheat shift with two shifts of clover (harvested only after it's pollinated - unless you decide that you can't afford the space for a beehive) followed by blueberries, to cover an 11-hour (+) period. Either sell the clover, or convert it to milk if you can afford the space for a cow and time to deal with it. Sell the blueberries and honey, or combine them to make jam if you can afford the space for a jam'r and time to deal with it.
Strategy: If you cannot visit oftenEdit
For players who can spend only a few minutes a day on their ranches, maybe only at one specific short period (e.g. late evening), different factors apply. If you want to maximize profit despite the "handicap", you will probably plant lots of:
- corn, feeding it to chickens for eggs to earn about 1.7 coins per hour
- tomatoes for ketchup, earning 1.4 coins per hour if you harvest 23-24 hours after planting
- pumpkins, a high-value item if sold once a day
You may be particularly keen on getting your high-level friends to gift you banana trees.
Top products in order of profit per hour per unit areaEdit
Whereas the chart above shows the profit per unit of the goods sold, it does not take into account the plantable area required to produce the ingredients for those processed goods. For most things, it is the same; for example, one square of land can produce one unit of carrots which can be processed to make one sweater. However, if a product has more than one ingredient, one must either devote more time to growing each ingredient sequentially or devote more plantable area to growing them concurrently. The primary example is bread, which is produced, indirectly, from three crops: clover, corn and wheat.
In this table, the profitability of the processed goods is compared based on equal crop area devoted to their production, whether it is one square or an entire field. It assumes that each crop is harvested as soon as it is ready.
- Orange Jam - from honey and oranges using a jam'r; sell for 57; profit 52: 2.60/h but up to 10.40/h if trees occupy only a quarter of a field space
- Cherry Jam - from honey and cherries using a jam'r; sell for 45; profit 40: 2.22/h but up to 8.88/h if trees occupy only a quarter of a field space
- Apple Jam - from honey and apples using a jam'r; sell for 37; profit 32: 2.00/h but up to 8.00/h if trees occupy only a quarter of a field space
- Angora Sweater - from Angora Hair (which derives from carrots converted by an Angora Rabbit) using a weaver; sell for 118; profit 43: 5.375/h
- Wool Sweater - from wool using a weaver; sell for 95; profit 60 in 12 hr: 5.00/h
- Bread - from eggs, flour, and milk using a baker; sell for 285; profit 175 in 36 hr: 4.86/h (sequential crop production)
- Cheese - from milk (ex clover) using a Cheese Master; sell for 32; profit 17: 4.25/h
- Raspberry Jam - from honey and raspberries using a Jam'r; sell for 113; profit 13: 2.60/h
- Blackberry Jam - from honey and blackberries using a Jam'r; sell for 145; profit 15: 2.50/h
- Grape Jam - from honey and grapes using a Jam'r; sell for 135; profit 25: 2.50/h
- Wine - from grapes using a winemaker; sell for 130; profit 25: 2.50/h (the same as for grape jam, so maybe don't buy a winemaker once you have a jam'r)
- Milk - from clover using a cow; sell for 25 (profit 10: 2.5/h) or use much more profitably in cheese or still more profitably in bread
- Angora Hair - from carrots using an Angora Rabbit; sell for 94 (profit 19: 2.38/h) or use much more profitably for Angora Sweater once you have a weaver
- Wool - from wheat using a sheep; sell for 63 (profit 28: 2.33/h, slightly better than flour) or use much more profitably for Wool Sweater once you have a weaver
- Blueberry Jam - from honey and blueberries using a jam'r; sell for 97; profit 7: 2.33/h
- Flour - from wheat using a Dutch Mill; sell for 62 (profit 27: 2.25/h) or use much more profitably in bread
- Ketchup - from tomatoes using a Ketchup Wiz; sell for 55; profit 35: 2.19/h
- Egg - from corn using a Chicken Coop; sell for 102 (profit 42: 2.10/h) or use much more profitably in bread