A new study has found that the main factor in farmers’ machinery purchases is their own experience with a brand or machine.

The study, by Advanced Coatings, found that the most important factor in determining what agricultural machine a farmer will purchase is their (and their close friends’ and colleagues’) own experience, and this was reflected in their loyalty to the leading Irish brands.

Kate Gaynor, MD of paint manufacturer Advanced Coatings, said farm machinery dealers, on the other hand, 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.

She also said 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 Irish machinery trade, she said, was dealing with significant structural change in Irish farms – including 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.”

She said 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 immense value to agri-marketers in helping them to understand purchasing behaviours.”