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Check out 2023 custom rates for grain harvest

Here are updated Indiana custom rates for various harvest operations.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

May 3, 2023

2 Min Read
combine harvesting corn into cart
HARVESTING GRAIN: If you’re reevaluating custom rates for harvest that you charge or pay, this information may prove useful. Tom J. Bechman

Custom rates summarized in the recent 2023 Purdue custom rates survey indicate rising prices for harvesting and hauling grain. Percentage increase may not be much larger than for other operations, but because combines are a high-dollar item and custom combining rates are relatively high compared to other operations, numbers appear to move up faster than they do percentagewise. Call it “sticker shock” for custom combining rates.

The average charge for combining and binning corn and wheat is now above $40 per acre, with combining soybeans and hauling them to the bin right at $40 per acre. Michael Langemeier, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist, tracks custom rates and conducts a survey every other year. The latest survey, released recently, is based on results from 81 voluntary participants.

Rising custom harvest costs

Even though costs for custom harvesting are increasing, you don’t know if they include full ownership and operating costs unless you pencil out all possible costs, Langemeier says.

“Sometimes people help neighbors or have other goals in mind, so we can’t always assume that all custom rates include all costs,” he explains. “If you are doing it as a business, make sure you are covering all your direct and indirect costs.”

Related:Purdue releases 2023 custom rates for planting, tillage

For several operations, costs have increased consistently since the 2017 survey. However, rates for several harvesting operations experienced a slow rise from 2017 to 2021, followed by a much sharper increase since then.

Indiana custom harvest rates for 2023

For example, the rate for combining and binning corn held steady from 2017 to 2021, at $35.15 and $35.66 per acre, respectively; then it jumped to $41.78 in the new survey. That’s just under a 20% increase in two years.

Combining wheat alone, not binning or hauling it, shot up from $26.85 in 2021 to $35.27 this year, for an increase of over 30%. The increase from 2017 to 2021 for the same job was only 5%.

The cost of both new and used machinery, fuel, and repairs also have shot up by sizable percentages over the past two years, Langemeier notes. See the full 2023 Purdue custom rates survey results online.

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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