Crops > Machinery > Custom Operations

Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey

File A3-10
Updated March, 2019

download in pdf format pdf format


teaching activity teaching activity


teaching activity teaching activity

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 349 people by the U.S. Postal Service and 183 people via e-mail in early February 2019. The information below is based on a survey of 121 usable responses and 3,716 custom rates provided by Iowa farmers, custom operators, and farm managers. Twenty percent of the respondents perform custom work, 10 percent hire work done, 47 percent indicated doing both, 2 percent indicated doing none, and 21 percent did not indicate whether they perform or hire custom work.

For each operation, 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.

The reported rates are expected to be charged or paid in 2019, including fuel and labor. The average price for diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.94 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 in the last section of this report, 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.

View past publications of the Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey.

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,