I am assuming you are talking about something similar to this?
Posts by Javis
I don't see anything about "growth time:68 sec" in minecraftwiki. Instead, I see "sugar cane grows rather slowly. An individual sugar cane block goes through 16 phases of growth"
So, it's more like 19 minutes per one new block, which is too slow. Also, you will need fermenter. Trees are dropping apples that you can make into mulch. For sugarcane you will need separate fermenter production.
Here is from the wiki regarding sugarcane growth:
"It advances to the next phase whenever it
gets a block
tick, which happens at random intervals."
and Regarding Block tick:
"Because random block ticks are granted randomly, there is no way
to predict when a block will get its next tick. The median
time between ticks is 47 seconds. That is, there is a 50%
chance that the interval will be shorter than 47 seconds, and a 50%
chance it will be longer than 47. However, sometimes it is much
longer or shorter: for example, there is a 1% chance that the
interval will be over five minutes. On average, blocks are
updated every 68.27 seconds"
I look at it as using a moistener and spare wheat vs. using the squeezer and spare apples for mulch vs tree farm.
And I had a nice farm (7 stacked farms) in 1.2.5 that was able to have almost constant cane production, easily able to provide enough cane to keep 4 fermenters fully occupied, with overflow cane going into a generator. I will have to play around with that mod for forestry IC2 crops , to see if I can make it just as effectively in 1.3.2 (although without redpower, I might have to redo some piping)
Ah, I based my calculations off 100 millibuckets per cane, but that makes it even better. And true, dirt would probably be easier, especially when modifying the sugarcane area, and for ease of getting it.
If you are adding in other mods, such as Forestry, has anyone looked at the value of Sugarcane?
By using the surgane harvester and at max size, you can generate a good amount of either EU or MJ.
Some rough numbers: 21x21 square of sugarcane in checkerboard pattern (50% efficient, but it looks nice) minus spots for infrastructure (harvester and tubing) = 218 sugarcane. Average growth time:68 sec (from minecraftwiki) = about 3.2 cane per second [If you go close to max efficiency (~75% or so) you get 4.9 cane/second and can multiply the outputs by 1.5] The added benefit of this is the ability to compact the height, if space is an issue.
1 cane = 120 eu @ 10eu/t: Generator : so roughly 2 generators needed to process 1 field = 20eu/t
However, with processing it gets better
1 cane = 0.1 biomass = 800 eu @ 8 eu/t (or if refined to biofuel in a still 970 eu @ 16 eu/t) : so about 9 bio generators running biofuel at 16 eu/t = 144 eu / t
And, this can be done with a height of 6 (base, water/sand, 3x cane, air), and stacked as high as you like.
Or, 1 cane = 5000 mj (.1 buckets of fuel, which is worth 50k mj), so this setup produces about 15,000 mj/s (800 mj/t, but requires 160 biogas engines and the fermenter and harvesters require energy), which converted with transformers mod = 1875eu/t
Note, my numbers may be off, but it seemed like sugarcane was a good energy source, the only issue is getting the initial 220 or so sugarcane and sand to plant.