Crops > Machinery > Custom Operations

Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey

File A3-10
Updated March, 2020

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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 298 people by the US Postal Service and 192 people via e-mail in early February 2020. The information below is based on a survey of 106 usable responses and 3,022 custom rates provided by Iowa farmers, custom operators, and farm managers. Fourteen percent of the respondents perform custom work, 15% hire work done, 53% indicated doing both, and 18% 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 2020, including fuel and labor (unless otherwise noted). The average price for diesel fuel was assumed to be $2.63 per gallon. 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.

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 Survey Information for other states.


Alejandro Plastina, extension economist, 515-294-6160,
Ann M. Johanns, extension program specialist, 641-732-5574,