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Iowa farm custom rate survey shows slight increases for 2014

AgDM Newsletter
March 2014

The 2014 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey followed the recent trend of small but consistent increases in rates each year. According to William Edwards, retired Iowa State University Extension and Outreach economist, most operations showed increases of 4 to 6 percent over the average rates in the 2013 survey. The survey includes information on tillage, planting, spraying and harvesting grain or forages. Also included are values for miscellaneous services and machinery rental.
The values reported on the survey are the average of all the responses received for each category. The range of the highest and lowest responses received is also reported. The values survey respondents report are what they expect to pay or charge in the coming year. These values are intended only as a guide to help both custom operators and people who hire custom work done arrive at a reasonable rate.

A total of 195 Iowa farmers, custom operators and farm managers replied to the survey. Twenty-seven percent of them reported that they performed custom work for others, 12 percent reported hiring custom work done and 61 percent indicated that they did both.
There are many reasons why the rate charged in a particular situation should be above or below the average. These include the timeliness with which operations are performed, quality and special features of the machine, operator skill, size and shape of fields, number of acres contracted, and the condition of the crop for harvesting. The availability of custom operators in a given area also will affect rates.

Ag Decision Maker offers a decision tool to help custom operators and other farmers estimate their own costs for specific machinery operations. The Machinery Cost Calculator, File A3-29 can be found under Crops, then Machinery, in the Ag Decision Maker table of contents.

The 2014 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is available at your county extension office or online as publication FM 1698 from the Extension Online Store, or as information file A3-10, Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, on the Ag Decision Maker website.

Average Farm Custom Rates Reported for Iowa


William Edwards, retired economist. Questions?
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 641-732-5574, aholste@iastate.edu