March 2023

Custom rate survey guide released for 2023

Many Iowa farmers hire some custom machine work in their farm business or perform custom work for others. Others rent machinery or perform other services.

In order to help producers and custom operators examine the market, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publishes the Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey.

This year’s survey, published in March, includes 94 responses and 2,621 custom rates for tasks related to tillage, planting and seeding, spraying, harvesting, farm labor and more. Additions to the survey for 2023 include ground (broadcast) spraying with a self-propelled, tall-crop sprayer and liquid fertilizer high clearance application with drop hose and Y spray nozzle.

Most custom rates saw an increase of 10-15%. Custom planting ranges from $12.50 to $45 per acre, depending on the type of planter and setup. Combining corn shows an average of $41.30 per acre and combining soybeans averages $39.90 per acre, an increase of 12.4% and 10.7%, respectively. Table 1 shows historical prices for select operations. This year’s publication, as well as previous reports, can be found on the Ag Decision Maker website.

The survey assumed diesel prices would be $3.39 a gallon in 2023, based on forecasts from the US Energy Information Administration. The survey may lag changes in diesel prices and other inputs in some areas. This means that for custom farming practices that involve these inputs, the cost may change more frequently.

The information in the survey is meant to be a starting point for farmers and agribusiness to engage in conversations and negotiations. The survey is not meant to set the rate for a particular practice or operator. This is an opinion survey and represents the responses of participants.

This survey is only possible with the participation of Iowa farmers, custom operators, and farm managers. To join the survey list for 2024, email the survey authors. For more information, Plastina can be reached at 515-294-6160 or, and Ann Johanns can be reached at 515-337-2766 or

table 1

Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, 515-294-6160,
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 515-337-2766,


Alejandro Plastina

extension economist
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Ann M. Johanns

extension program specialist
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