Custom rates for making hay perhaps vary more from area to area than custom rates for most other farm operations. Some of that dates from the days when not everyone had balers, and some people would make your hay for a share of the crop. Depending on customs in your community, you may have received half the hay for mowing, raking and baling it. Or in your area, the person who owned the hay may still have expected half the hay plus up to $1 per bale for your half.
Based on data collected through the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture 2021 Custom Rates Survey, the person baling the hay on shares today gets 52% of the crop, on average. However, that’s only based on information from four respondents. There were 97 participants in all, but only four could report on that situation.
“A small number of responses signals report users to be extra cautious when using survey results,” says Michael Langemeier, who coordinated collection of survey data.
“Custom rates in any given area may vary significantly according to timeliness, operator skill, field size and shape, crop conditions, performance characteristics of the machine being used, and other factors,” he says. “Some other things which come into play include the relationship between the custom operator and the person wanting custom work done, competitive pressures and economic circumstances of the custom operator.”
The custom rates for operations shown below should be considered only as a good starting point for setting a final rate, Langemeier urges. More operations are highlighted in other articles. To see the full report for all operations, complete with all qualifying comments, visit 2021 Indiana Farm Custom Rates.