Whole Farm > Leasing > Rental Rate Surveys

Cash Rental Rates for Iowa 2013 Survey

File C2-10
Updated May, 2013

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The cash rental rate information presented in this publication is the result of a survey of farmers, landowners, lenders, real estate brokers, and professional farm managers. They supplied information based on their best judgments about typical cash rental rates for high, medium, and low quality cropland in their counties, as well as for land devoted to production of hay, oats, and pasture.  Information about rents for individual farms was not collected. The rental rates summarized in this bulletin do not reflect the value of any buildings or storage structures, manure application contracts, or seed production contracts.

The cooperation and assistance of the landowners, farmers, and agribusiness people who responded to this survey are greatly appreciated. The distribution of the 1,703 responses was 50percent from farmers, 27percent from landowners, 13percent from professional farm managers, 8percent from agricultural lenders, and 2percent from other professions.

Circumstances such as the following may justify a higher or lower rent in specific cases:

  • Small size or unusual shape of fields
  • Presence of terraces or creeks that affect the time it takes to plant and harvest crops
  • Difficult or restricted access to fields
  • High or low fertility levels or pH index
  • Existence of contracts for growing seed or specialty grains, or application of manure
  • Above average local grain prices due to proximity to biofuel plants or feed mills
  • USDA program variables, such as crop bases and assigned yields
  • Longevity of the lease
  • Other services performed by the tenant

The tables of estimated cash rental rates are presented in the accompanying "pdf" file that you can access by clicking here or on the icon above.

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More Information About Setting Cash Rents

Additional information about cash rental rates by county is available from the National Agricultural Statistic Service,NASS, Iowa Field Office.

Details about setting a fair cash rent can be found in the following Ag Decision Maker facts sheets, located under Whole Farm, Leasing, at the following website: www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/.


Number of responses – number of individuals who reported typical rental rates for each county.
2008-2012average yields – based on farm level data collected by National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) for each county.
Average row crop CSR index – average corn suitability rating (CSR) for the highest rated acres in each county, up to 110 percent ofthe number of acres planted to corn and soybeans in that county.
High, medium and low quality third land – quality of land planted to corn and soybeans, using typical corn yields as a reference for land quality.
Typical corn yields – average yields for the high third, medium third, and low third farms in each county as reported to NASS.
Average rents per unit – overall average rent for corn/soybean land in each county divided by the five-year average corn yield, five-year average soybean yield, and the average traditional CSR index value for each county.
Improved permanent pasture – pasture that contains both grasses and legumes and is regularly fertilized.
Unimproved pasture – pasture with mainly bluegrass that receives little fertilizer.
Pasture, $/AUM – rent charged per animal unit month. One AUM is equal to a beef cow and calf grazing for one month. 
Cornstalk grazing – includes grazing of cornstalks but not mechanical harvesting. 
Hunting rights – rent charged to allow hunting on land, per year.

Historic Farmland Cash Rental Rate Surveys:


William Edwards, extension economist, 515-294-6161, wedwards@iastate.edu
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 641-732-5574, aholste@iastate.edu