Farming is a complex business, and many Ohio farmers use outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform a task is more cost-effective and saves time.
A new report published by Ohio State University looks at custom rates in Ohio. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work,” or more simply, “custom work.” A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.
The complete Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2020 report is available online.
Ohio farm custom rates
This publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 377 farmers, custom operators, farm managers and landowners that was conducted in 2020. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required; all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc.; and the labor for the operation.
Some custom rates published in this study vary widely, possibly influenced by:
• type or size of equipment used (e.g., 20-shank chisel plow vs. a nine-shank)
• size and shape of fields
• condition of the crop (for harvesting operations)
• skill level of labor
• amount of labor needed in relation to the equipment capabilities
• Cost margin differences for full-time custom operators vs. farmers supplementing current income
Some custom rates reflect discounted rates, as the parties involved have family relationships, or are strengthening a relationship to help secure the custom-farmed land in a cash or other rental agreement. Some providers charge differently because they are simply attempting to spread their fixed costs over more acreage to decrease fixed costs per acre, and they are willing to forgo complete cost recovery.