Farm Ireland

Friday 21 October 2016

New research shines light on machinery-buying decisions

Published 02/12/2015 | 02:30

Irish manufactured machinery such as this McHale silage baler 'tends to be more rugged and of higher spec than anywhere else in the world', according to a new report.
Irish manufactured machinery such as this McHale silage baler 'tends to be more rugged and of higher spec than anywhere else in the world', according to a new report.

A new study has found the most important factor in determining what agricultural machine a farmer will purchase is their own, and their close friends' and colleagues first-hand experience, and this was reflected in their loyalty to the leading Irish brands.

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On the other hand farm machinery dealers took the view that after sales service was the critical factor in the purchase decision. Dealers are the main source of initial information on new machines, but farmers look to their own or their friends' past experience first when making up their mind.

Nevertheless, the research showed that younger farmers are not as brand loyal as their predecessors, and are comfortable buying new brands.

Their search behaviour is also much more intensive than ever before; they research the market and they want to 'test-drive' or see demonstrations of machines before committing themselves.

The study, just published by Kate Gaynor, MD of paint manufacturer Advanced Coatings, breaks new ground as no academic or commercial study has ever examined the factors in Ireland that determine a farmer's decision-making process when making a capital purchase of farm machinery.

The most significant structural change in Irish farms has been the increase in farm size and a reduction in numbers employed.

It follows that farmers are increasingly dependent on mechanisation on the farm and the consistent increase in machinery ownership figures bears this out.

This is a market of key importance, both internationally and nationally.

The value of the global market is expected to exceed €196bn ($220bn) by 2017.

The Irish agricultural machinery market is strong, generating exports of over €100m in 2010, and competition is intense among manufacturers and dealers.

This study will be of great value to agri-marketers in helping them to understand purchasing behaviours.


Enterprise Ireland concluded that Irish-made farm machinery "tends to be more rugged and built to a higher specification" than anywhere in the world - possibly because of the tougher climate on machine and stronger crop yields achieved here.

As a result products tend to be superior on high quality land, which is a serious export advantage for Irish manufacturers.

It is noteworthy that good quality technology is now expected and taken for granted in this market, making it less of a critical factor in the purchase decision.

"Farmers are complex purchasers who blur the lines between commercial and retail buyers," said Ms Gaynor who carried out the recent study. "Farmers' capital purchase decisions are not necessarily as objective as they are in the industrial world.

"They are influenced by many psychological and social factors deriving from their own experience. Marketers of farm machinery need to engage more with farmers when they are considering a new purchase.

"They should use trade shows, live demonstrations, and participate in community activities such as vintage machinery shows, to strengthen that 'word-of-mouth' bond," added Ms Gaynor.

Ms Gaynor is the owner and managing director of Advanced Coatings, which is the largest Irish supplier of paint systems to the agricultural machinery market.

The objective of the study was to assess the principal non-economic factors affecting the capital purchase of farm machinery in Ireland. Advanced Coatings works with some of Ireland's largest machinery exporters, and supplies high-end paint systems into specialist paint shops nationwide.

The company independently tests paint for clients, including other manufacturers' paint, and audits its own customers' painting processes and systems. They compete internationally with companies from the USA and Germany.

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