Updated March, 2024
File A3-10

Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey

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. The Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey was mailed to 394 people by the U.S. Postal Service and 407 people via e-mail in mid-February 2024. The information below is based on a survey of 130 responses and 2,805 custom rates provided by Iowa farmers, custom operators, and farm managers.

For each type of work, the average rate from the survey, the median, and the range are shown. The average is calculated as the simple average of all responses. The median is the middle number among the ordered responses (from smallest to largest). The reported range excludes the minimum and the maximum values to avoid reporting outliers.

New for 2024 is additional insight into who responded to each operation shown. The sources of the 2,468 usable rates reported for custom tasks are: 48% service providers, 32% service users, 8% both service providers and users, and 12% unknown. The sources of the 69 rates reported for machinery rentals are: 38% machinery owners, 35% machinery renters, 11% machinery owners and renters, and 12% unknown. The sources of the 108 rates reported for wages are: 81% employers, 7% employees, 2% employer and employee, and 9% unknown.

The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2024, and they include fuel and labor (unless otherwise noted). The average price for diesel fuel (highway-retail including taxes) was assumed to be $3.92 per gallon (as projected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in early February 2024). Rental rates for some machinery items are shown in the last section of the report, along with a worksheet for estimating rental rates for other items.

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.

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

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.

View past publications of the Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey.

Links to custom rate data from other states can be accessed here.

Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, 515-294-6160, plastina@iastate.edu
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 515-337-2766, aholste@iastate.edu


Alejandro Plastina

extension economist
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Ann M. Johanns

extension program specialist
View more from this author