When it comes to farm equipment purchases, livestock producers think about the ease of maintenance, while crop producers think more about the predictability of it, according to a 2014 survey of 800 livestock and crop producers across North America.

Producers in the study who reported a significant portion of their income as generated from livestock operations say they look for low maintenance and easy-to-service equipment from an innovative manufacturer. Those who reported a significant portion of their income as generated from crop operations also rate innovation near the top of their list, but reliability and resale value rate even higher. The study was sponsored by Case IH.

“A big difference between livestock and crop producers when it comes to equipment is usage,” says Ryan Drollette, Farm Management Specialist from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Livestock producers run their equipment every single day, while crop producers are running them for longer periods of time during select seasons.”

The usage differences mean livestock operators are using their equipment every day and are performing maintenance as needed. Making that daily process simpler and less time consuming for producers can mean higher efficiency for that operation.

“Having quick service stations on equipment is key,” says Drollette, a former dairyman himself. “If I can head out to the barn and do my daily maintenance check without having to crawl around the machine, I can get to work that much sooner.”

The research confirms that livestock and crop producers also retain their equipment differently. While livestock producers may keep their equipment for five to 10 years, crop producers buying new equipment tend to trade more frequently, according to Case IH hay and forage product specialist Brett DeVries. Spending is part of this equation, and the research shows that pricing and discounts are of medium importance to livestock producers while they are at the bottom of the average crop producer’s list.

“The longevity of the equipment matters to the more value-oriented livestock producer,” DeVries says.

Like in any business, the quest for higher profits requires smarter, more efficient technology. The same goes for producers and this concept is not lost on them, which the research proves. Both livestock and crop producers rank an innovative manufacturer as their No. 3 purchase consideration.

“Investing in the right new technology can be profitable for any operation, but specifically for a livestock operation if it can help cut down on labor costs,” Drollette says. “After all, it boils down to the people: those that are working on your operation and those that are working for your operation.”