Stardew Valley | Rancher or Tiller? Farming Skill Guide

Stardew Valley is a great game focused on bringing life to your grandfather’s old farm. The very first skill you’re going to train is farming. Farming is related to planting, growing, and harvesting crops on your farm. It is also related to raising the animals on your farm. Farming can be the most profitable skill in the game depending on the path you take. Once you hit level 5, you’ll be given a choice between two professions in Stardew Valley, Rancher or Tiller? You’ll have to make some other choices along the way as well so be sure to read our complete guide to the farming skill in Stardew Valley!

Stardew Valley Farming Levels: 1-4

stardew valley farming rancher or tiller

After planting and harvesting 13 parsnips or a combination of other crops, you will reach level 1 farming. Congrats! But you have a long road ahead of you till you hit level 10. Along the way, you’ll unlock some useful equipment to help you on your journey. Here are the crafting recipe unlocks for levels 1 to 4.

  • Level 1: Scarecrow, Basic Fertilizer
  • Level 2: Mayonnaise Machine, Stone Fence, Sprinkler
  • Level 3: Bee House, Speed-Gro, Farmer’s Lunch
  • Level 4: Preserves Jar, Basic Retaining Soil, Iron Fence

Basic Fertilizer and Sprinklers are two of the most important unlocks here. The others are all useful in their own right and should definitely be explored, but basic fertilizer and sprinklers are two items you will immediately craft after unlocking them. Basic fertilizer gives your crops an increased chance to be a higher quality. Be sure to remember that quality is decided upon harvesting, so eat a Farmer’s lunch before harvesting any crops! Farmer’s lunch increases your Farming level by 3 giving you a better shot at getting gold or silver crops. The sprinkler is a great addition to any farm. It automatically waters a certain amount of crops in its radius every morning allowing you to save precious time and energy.

Stardew Valley Farming Level 5: Rancher or Tiller?

stardew valley rancher or tiller

At level 5 Farming, Stardew Valley players will be given a choice – Rancher or Tiller? If you pick Rancher animal products will be worth 20% more. Tiller makes your crops worth 10% more. It seems like a pretty straight-forward choice between rancher or tiller right? If you want to raise animals, pick rancher. If you want to grow crops, pick tiller. Well, it actually isn’t such an easy choice. At level 10 you will get to pick between two more professions depending on your choice at level 5. If you plan on raising animals, Rancher actually isn’t the best option.

At level 10 you can pick a profession that makes artisan goods worth 40% more! That is way better than the 20% bonus from Rancher. Almost all end animal products are finished goods, so if you want to raise animals you actually should take Tiller to maximize your late game profit.

Stardew Valley Farming Levels: 6-9

stardew valley farming rancher or tiller
  • Level 6: Cheese Press, Hardwood Fence, Quality Sprinkler
  • Level 7: Loom, Quality Retaining Soil
  • Level 8: Oil Maker, Keg, Deluxe Speed-Gro
  • Level 9: Seed Maker, Iridium Sprinkler, Quality Fertilizer

The Farming level 6 to 9 unlocks for Farming are even more useful than the last ones. Not only do you get upgraded sprinklers, but you get better fertilizer along with a ton of great equipment to use on your farm to make artisan goods. It’ll come in handy when you take the Artisan profession at level 10.

Stardew Valley Farming Level 10: Coopmaster or Shepherd? Artisan or Agriculturist?

At level 10 you will be given a choice depending on which profession you picked at level 5. If you picked Rancher you will have a choice between Coopmaster and Shepherd. If you picked Tiller you will have a choice between Artisan and Agriculturists. Each one is different and depending on your playstyle you might want to pick one over another, however, there is a definite winner in our book for the best profession to take at level 10.

Coopmaster or Shepherd?

stardew valley coopmaster or shepherd

This choice between Coopmaster or Shepherd is pretty much dependent on your playstyle. Are you raising coop animals or barn animals? Depending on the animals you raise, only one will be beneficial to you. So, if you took Rancher we suggest you look at your animals if you need help deciding which profession to take.

They both essentially offer the same benefits. You get to befriend that type of animal quicker and there is a time reduction in production. That’s why these two professions are a toss-up. Pick what fits your playstyle!

Artisan or Agriculturist?

stardew valley artisan or agriculturist

Artisan is without a doubt the best profession in the farming skill tree. When it comes to deciding between Artisan or Agriculturist, its a pretty easy decision. The 40% buff to artisan goods is insane! This can easily make artisan goods the most profitable venture for your farm. Sure, a 10% increase in crop growth is nice, but is it really better than the 40% Artisan offers? We don’t think so.

Also, while Artisan does list oil as an artisan good, it will not be buffed by this profession. We don’t know why it says it right there in the box but doesn’t get buffed, it’s just how the game works sadly.

So, What Farming Professions Should I Pick in Stardew Valley?

So, what should you take in Stardew Valley, Rancher or Tiller? Coopmaster or Shepherd? Artisan or Agriculturist? Well, we think there is a clear winner here when it comes to farming professions. The optimal professions are Tiller and Artisan. The 10% bonus to crops is a nice bonus in the early game if you choose to sell any crops and the 40% bonus to artisan goods is an insane end-game boost to your income. Rancher and either of the two professions after that just doesn’t carry the same oomph as Tiller and Artisan.

Of course, if you have built your whole farm around raising animals Rancher might be a better choice. However, even then, the 40% bonus from Artisan applies to a lot of the finished animal products. At the end of the day, it is up to you and your playstyle. Pick whichever one fits your path!

If you’re interested in more Stardew Valley content check out our other guides on whether to pick Mushrooms or Bats and whether to be a Miner or Geologist!

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