Stardew Valley Rancher or Tiller: Which Profession Is Better?

Stardew Valley Rancher or Tiller: Which Profession Is Better?

Building your farm is your main goal in Stardew Valley, and it should be done in the most optimal way possible. Just like in real-life, your farm can either be crop-based or animal-based or both, and the game does provide you with two options at level 5 that can best optimize your farm depending on your play style. So out of these two options, Rancher and Tiller, Crop based or Animal-based, which would I say is the best?

Tiller is the best profession because it makes your crops worth 10% more, but at level 10 you can get the Artisan skill which makes all Artisan goods worth a whopping 40% more. Tiller makes your early to the late game very secure, but Rancher doesn’t offer these decent enough traits and it is animal-based.

Stardew Valley is a game that is heavily reliant on making a tonne of good decisions if you don’t want to pay a tonne of money later on to change a wrong decision. So naturally before making these decisions you should first understand what exactly you are about to get into in the long run, as well as the benefits of the decision and its consequences.

To be honest, a lot of players have mixed feelings on what to decide between the Rancher and Tiller, some prefer the consistency of the Rancher profession, while others would rather save up or convert their crops to Artisan goods and sell them for a huge profit.

Although the correct choice might seem pretty straightforward, if you want your farm to be Animal-based and if you prefer raising animals then you should pick Rancher. While if you prefer to grow crops then you should pick Tiller, it looks simple enough but it isn’t.

This is why I am here to break down each profession for you, provide its pros and cons, and leave you with a conclusive answer at the end that will help you a lot in your decision-making.

Rancher Profession

Stardew Valley Rancher or Tiller: Which Profession Is Better?

If you choose the Rancher profession at level 5, you instantly get a 20% increase in the price of your animal products, which is pretty good. Players already know that the 40% price increase of Artisan goods is far better, but they can’t deny that this 20% price increase in Rancher is also a solid perk. That’s not all, you also have to make a follow-up decision at level 10 between two specializations:

Coopmaster

The Coopmaster specialization makes your coop animals more friendly, it halves the time it would take to incubate eggs, and also increases the quality of all your coop animal products. So this buff applies to all coop Animals like Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Void chickens, and Dinosaurs. 

Shepherd

The Shepherd specialization makes your barn animals more friendly, it gives sheep the ability to produce wool faster and also increases the quality of barn animal products. This buff applies to all barn animals like Cows, Goats, Sheep, and pigs.

Given the choice between the Coopmaster and Shepherd, I’d say the Shepherd has more to offer. They are worth more gold when sold, and their products have more value than that of the coop animals. Overall, I’d say choose the best option based on their level of availability on your map.

Advantages

You get a lot of Animal products by becoming a rancher.

Your Animals products can be sold for 20% more than their actual price.

Disadvantages

It can be time-consuming to watch over the Animals.

The cost of taking care of the animals can be a little bit high.

Tiller Profession

If you go for the Tiller Profession at level 5, you instantly get a 10% increase in the price of your crops. This is already a good enough buff because your farmland already produces a lot of crops, and imagine a 10% increase in the price of each crop.

So assuming you sold 10 tomatoes for 100g, now after that buff, you’ll sell them for 110 gold, which may not seem like a lot but it is still useful pre-level 10.

At level 10 you have to decide between two specializations:

Artisan

Stardew Valley Rancher or Tiller: Which Profession Is Better?

The Artisan specialization makes all your Artisan goods worth 40% more than their usual price. Artisan goods are items you can create on your farm by using various Artisan Equipments. They usually take about a few hours or days in-game before they can be fully processed.

Some Artisan goods don’t have a star quality so they ignore the star quality of the raw ingredients used to make them. The Ostrich Egg is the only exception to this point because the star quality of its Artisan product will always match that of the ingredient used.

Although all Artisan goods receive a 40% increase in their price, items like Oil and coffee do not share from this boost. Other items that share a similar faith include the Tree Syrups which are Maple Syrup, Oak Resin, and Pine Tar. Although they are labeled as Artisan goods, they, however, do not benefit from the Artisan profession.

Agriculturist

The Agriculturist specialization makes your crops grow 10% faster. This buff pretty much benefits more from the Tiller perk, because if your crops can grow faster, you can sell more of them at a 10% price increase within a short range of time.

Just in case you are wondering, there are strategies to employ when deciding between the Tiller and Rancher. The first is just simply to pick the Tiller and work your way to level 10, then pick the Artisan specialization. Once you have it, you can start converting all your products and Animals to Artisan goods.

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This is one of the main reasons why people choose the Tiller over Rancher because converting your animal products to Artisan goods like Mayonnaise or cheese makes them worth 40% more. The second strategy is that you pick the Rancher profession, simultaneously gathering and storing all your Artisan goods.

Once you have stored enough, you can use 10,000g to change your profession later on, but of course, I don’t enjoy this strategy unless I have gathered a huge amount of Artisan goods.

Advantages

The Artisan buff at level 10 is really good.

You can get more out of both your crops and your animals.

You generally don’t have to spend too much time watching over your crops on the farm.

Disadvantages

Stardew Valley Rancher or Tiller: Which Profession Is Better?

The Artisan profession forces you to change your play style.

It is usually not the easiest profession to take, especially if you take the Artisan specialization because you are going to spend a lot of time gathering Artisan goods.

Which Profession Is Better: Rancher or Tiller?

Comparing both traits with each other, there are some pretty definitive traits between them. You have to choose based on how you want your farm to look in the late game. I also gave strategies on how you can perfectly utilize both the Tiller and Rancher profession, so if you feel the playstyle suits you then you can as well give it a try.

Rancher ProfessionTiller Profession
Rancher (level 5) – animal products worth 20% moreTiller (level 5) – crops worth 10% more
Coopmaster (level 10) – befriend coop animals quicker and incubation time cut in halfArtisan (level 10) – artisan goods worth 40% more
Shepherd (level 10) – befriend barn animals quicker and sheep produce wool fasterAgriculturist (level 10) – crops grow 10% faster

Players generally tend to gain more if they pick the Tiller over Rancher at level 10, however that’s not to say that picking Rancher is a bad choice. Naturally, if you would rather care for animals than crops because you find it easier, then picking the Rancher makes a lot of sense, especially when you don’t plan on producing much or any Artisan goods.

There is also the fact that the animal product bonus has been increased from 10% to 20% on patch 1.1, so we could probably be seeing a lot more Ranchers in Stardew Valley after this.

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So which of these professions is the best to consider from both the early to late game? I’d like to think that nursing a bunch of animals whether Barn or Coop from Infancy to Adulthood might be a little bit more time-consuming, but the payoff could be massive especially since you won’t be selling the animals early.

But then again, selling the bulk of my crops or converting them to Artisan goods for the late game does seem a bit more useful and secures more for the player.

Therefore the Tiller Profession is the best because it secures your Early to Late game sale, players start off selling their crops at the Usual 10% bonus then in the late game they sell their Artisan goods at a 40% bonus.

While Rancher doesn’t secure the early game for you, and until you have a lot of animals you won’t feel the strong impact of the 10%(20%) animal products bonus. Although in the late game it is quite effective, still not as effective as the Artisan Specialisation.

  • Hrvoje Milakovic is co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a big cinephile. Apart from that, he likes to read comics, play games and collect action figures. He has been featured on LifeWire, Yahoo and IMDb, to name a few.