Crops > Machinery > Custom Operations

Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey

File A3-10
Updated March, 2016

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Many Iowa Iowa farmers hire custom machine work in their farm business, or perform custom work for others. Some farmers rent machinery or perform other services. The information below is based on a survey of 182 Iowa farmers, custom operators, and farm managers. Eighteen percent of the respondents perform custom work, 14 percent hire work done, 43 percent indicated doing both, 3 percent indicated doing none, and 22 percent did not indicate whether they perform or hire custom work.

For each operation, the average rate from the survey, the median, the range, and the responses are shown. The average is calculated as the simple average of all responses. The median is the response that splits all the ordered responses (from smallest to largest) in half. The reported range consists of the second-lowest value and the second-highest value in the sample.

The values in the table below are rates expected to be charged or paid, including fuel and labor. The average price for diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.00 per gallon. This rate schedule is intended only as a guide. Actual custom rates may vary according to availability of machinery in a given area, timeliness, operator skill, field size and shape, crop conditions, and the performance characteristics of the machine being used. Rental rates for some machinery items are shown on the following page, along with a worksheet for estimating rental rates for other items.

Note: All rates include fuel, repairs, depreciation, interest, labor, and all other machinery costs for the tractor and implement.

The Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is presented in the accompanying "pdf" file that you can access by clicking here or on the icon above.

Links to Custom Rate Survey Information for other states.


Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, 515-294-6160,
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 641-732-5574,