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2016 Pennsylvania custom rate guide arrives

Spring and summer custom rate charges are mixed. Pennsylvania's 2016 machinery rate guide has few surprises. See Maryland's comparatives.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

May 23, 2016

1 Min Read

It’s back, by popular demand! Pennsylvania’s 2016 custom rate survey is now available – after a 2015 state fiscal pause. Overall, Pennsylvania custom charges rose only 1% compared to 2014, according Adam Pike, statistician who coordinates the survey.

For your convenience, we’ve posted comparative 2016 spring and summer custom rate charges for Pennsylvania and 2015 values compiled in a University of Maryland Extension survey.


Custom rates usually include the cost of hiring the machine plus fuel and operator labor. But they vary considerably due to differences in efficiencies of equipment used in mountain and valley fields, demand for the services and operator eagerness to do custom work. The values reflect the average of the middle 80% of all reported rates.

For comparative purposes, we’ve included Maryland’s 2015 custom rate median values which, according to Shannon Dill, University of Maryland Extension educator, is less sensitive to extremes and is a better measure than the average.

Biggest rate-changers were...
Here are a few major fall tasks that made the biggest percentage shifts from 2014 to 2016 in the Keystone State:
* The silage blower rate jumped 56%.
* Custom silage chopping, hauling and silo-filling declined 15%.
* Silage-bagging in the smaller bags declined 21%
* Bushhogging dropped 10%.
* Post hole digging declined 13%.
* Manure pumping rose almost 21%.

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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