Comparators should sense how far along in development a crop is. This would allow for more automatic farming by use of redstone.
The suggestion I am proposing is that crops should cause block updates (bud switch activation) when they grow. This would make it so that bud switches could be used to detect when something has grown (wheat, cocoa, etc.). Another idea would be for dispensers to be able to plant crops. This would allow for fully automatic farming. I don't think it would be too OP because of the amount of redstone required to automate one crop.
Below I've there are some screenshots of a redstone contraption that senses how many times a block update happens, and preforms a function (piston breaking cocoa beans) after so many block updates. I've probably over-complicated it, but it is functional, other than the fact that cocoa beans (and other crops) growing do not register with the bud switch as block updates.
I think this would be a good idea, that would build on what Minecraft already has rather than trying to add new things.
EDIT - 12/9/2015:
Comparators would be a nicer alternative to bud switch activation. Proposition is now for comparators to sense how far along a crop is in development. Thanks to Broccoli_Monkey for the idea!
Comparators would be just as good, if not better alternative. The bud switch idea I came up with in the pictures above works like this:
Every time something triggers the bud switch a sticky piston with a redstone block extends and retracts. This activates a dropper, which transfers the item out, essentially counting the number of block updates. When the dropper is empty, a piston breaks the crop and the items are all funneled back into the dropper. All one would need to do is plant the crop again.
Though I will admit comparators sound like a much easier alternative. The idea then would be once the crop is fully grown, the redstone signal will extend far enough to activate a repeater which activates a piston breaking the crop. Much simpler than the bud switch idea.
I gotta say, this is one of the most clever ideas I've ever seen.
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
Yeah, that guy in the avatar is me. I'm *that* strange. It happens. Sometimes people act like that. Just go with it. I can offer help with suggestions even before you post them - NOT make your suggestions - but help you with them.