Farm Progress

How much should your custom farm job cost?

A free online guide offers Missouri custom farm rates.

May 30, 2017

2 Min Read
HIGHER CUSTOM RATES: It will cost a little more to have your crops custom-harvested this year. MU Extension revised its 2012 custom rates and saw a slight bump in average corn harvest: from $28 to $30 per acre, with highs of $42.50 per acre.

The University of Missouri Extension released its updated custom rates for farm services guide sheet. It provides a price guide for nearly 150 services.

The services vary from tillage and planting to spreading fertilizer and harvesting grain and hay. Big jobs might be building fence or moving dirt.

A University of Missouri Extension price guide, updated this past winter, is available free online.

2016 Custom Rates for Farm Services in Missouri (G302) lists prices for most services, says Ray Massey, MU Extension agricultural economist.

However, the prices come with no guarantee, Massey says. They were compiled from a mail survey across the state and list high, low and middle rates.

"There's no assurance the average prices cover the actual cost," Massey says. "They're a guide."

The guide was last updated in 2012. "Machinery and labor costs have gone up," Massey says. "However, fuel costs came down."

Little feedback
Massey warned that some survey requests drew few responders. The guide lists the number reporting. If that number is low, it may be less reliable than those with many responses.

For example, the cost of moldboard plowing in heavy soil has only 10 responses. "Few probably need that service," Massey says. The rates are $10 for low and $60 for high. The midrate is $15.

For midrates, half the responses fall above and half below.

In contrast, rates for combining beans drew 61 answers. The low was $22 per acre and the high was $40. Both middle and average rates were $30 per acre.

More on forage
In Missouri, forage is big business. The guide gives many options for harvesting hay.

The midrate to cut, rake and bale a medium round bale is $18.50. The low is $15 and the high is $25.

Farmers use those prices to compare their own cost of owning machinery and having the time to perform an operation, Massey says.

Before making an agreement, both parties must be clear on details. Is net-wrapping bales included? That will make the price higher. Also, does that include both wrapping and plastic cost?

Not surprisingly, most services cost more than in 2012, Massey says.

Download the nine-page guide from MU Extension publications. It is beneficial to both farmers and custom providers.

Source: University of Missouri Extension

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