Farming Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane

Sugar cane is the raw material for sugar and paper. Sugar is used in cooking; paper is used to make maps and books (which you need for Enchanting).

sugar cane in minecraft

Sugar cane can be found growing next to water. It grows up to three blocks high; if you break off the middle and top blocks, leaving the bottom block in place, it will continue to grow. This makes sugar cane easy to farm as you don't need to replant if you harvest it carefully.

A Simple Sugar Cane Farm

Sugar Cane must be planted on dirt blocks that are next to water. It's best to use canals of running water so that cane when harvested will flow to the end of the stream for easy collection.

Simple sugar cane farm

This layout works nicely.

Plant single blocks of sugar cane on all the dirt.

planting sugar cane

Planting complete.

Wait for the sugar cane to grow: remember to make sure that your plantation is well-lit so you don't have nasty surprise when you come back.

planting sugar cane

Ready to Harvest

Harvest the sugar cane by bashing the upper and middle blocks. Job done!

Automated Sugar Cane Farms

If you want a lot of sugar-cane — maybe you're making books for enchanting, or just a decorative library — consider making an automated farm that can be harvested at the push of a button.

It's easy to build automated sugar cane farms that use pistons to break off the top and middle sections of cane, leaving the rest to regrow.

The version I present here uses quite a lot of redstone, but below I will show a different version that uses less materials.


You will need 79 redstone, 32 iron bars, 96 wood planks, 20 sticks, 128 cobblestone and 5 smooth stone for components, plus more stone or cobblestone for building, 16 blocks of dirt and a bucket of water. Plus at least 1 piece of sugar cane to get started!

(The poor man's version requires only 42 redstone, 16 iron bars and 48 planks)

Space Required

This farm is very compact; 11 x 9 x 5 blocks high. You might want to connect several farms together if you want to harvest vast amounts of sugar cane, though.

1. Build The Base

Build the base: an 8-block canal with water placed at one end, flanked by strips of dirt. There is a 1 block-high wall next to the dirt.

planting sugar cane

2. Add Pistons

Make 32 pistons:

piston recipe

Arrange the pistons in two banks of 16 like so:

planting sugar cane

It may help to built a temporary wall of dirt to place the pistons against, if you're having trouble.

3. Wire Up the Pistons

Build a row of blocks level with the top row of pistons, 1 block away. Place redstone torches along the side of these blocks, facing the pistons, and place redstone dust along the top to form a wire.

sugar cane farm wirirng

Wiring up the pistons.

Underneath one end of the row of blocks, place a redstone torch. Place a stone button on the block underneath the redstone torch.

planting sugar cane

The red circle highlights a stone button; it would be easier to see on a different colour background!

Extend the wiring around the back of the farm so that it controls the pistons on the other side. A repeater is needed to make the current go far enough. Make sure you place it the right way round - there is a little arrow on it that points from right to left.

planting sugar cane

Make sure to leave a gap between the pistons at the back of the farm and your wiring.

Test your wiring! Push the button, and all of the pistons should extend momentarily.

5. Finishing Touches and Operation.

Add a roof and lighting if you like, but this is optional. Plant your sugar cane and wait for it to grow.

finished sugar cane farm

The finished sugar cane farm.


finished sugar cane farm

Ready to harvest.

When it is fully grown, push the button to harvest. Almost all of the sugar cane will fall into the water and be brought to you to pick up.

finished sugar cane farm

Push the button and collect your sugar cane.

Scaling up

It's easy to chain together a large number of these units if you want to harvest very large quantities of sugar cane.

Epic Sugar Cane Farm

This farm contains 80 of the units described above and will provide more than enough sugar cane to fill your inventory at the push of a button.

Full Automation

A competent redstone engineer could easily hook these farms up to a clock mechanism to pulse the pistons every 5–10 minutes and provide a steady stream of sugar cane.

Economy Version

Here is a cheaper version of a sugar-cane farm. It uses only 16 pistons, aimed at the middle sections of the sugar cane, and in this picture is operated by a pressure plate (wood or stone) in front of the collection point.

Poor man's sugar cane farm

Instead of using the redstone torches, redstone wire is placed in a line along the top of blocks that are behind the pistons.

Poor Man's Sugar Cane Farm