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24 custom rates on forage and pasture tasks24 custom rates on forage and pasture tasks

Here are guidelines on what you can charge or pay for 24 forage and pasture custom rates.

John Vogel

April 13, 2016

2 Min Read

Spring is prime time for pasture renovation, seeding forage crops and harvesting. It’s also when farmers and landowners begin checking custom rates for hiring jobs done. And those numbers aren’t easy to come by.

The latest information on custom rates for forage-related practices comes from University of Maryland’s 2015 report. For your convenience, the accompanying chart categorizes charges as mean and median values tabulated from 77 custom operators and farmers surveyed evert two years by Shannon Dill, University of Maryland Extension educator. As you can see, charges can vary widely.


WHEN SPEED IS THE NEED: Custom forage tasks are one of the region’s most popular custom charges because timing is everything to feed quality.

The "average" or mean is the mid-point between the top and bottom charges, explains Dill. You get it by adding up the values of all reported charges, then dividing that sum by the number of reports. Median refers to the number in middle of the range. It's less sensitive to extremes, and is a better measure than the average.

Some variations may be due to lack of awareness of local competition or how many jobs are accepted by custom operators, she adds. Other factors include location, field size and topography, crop yields, soil conditions, weather conditions, work quality, equipment size and timeliness.

The full report, including minimum and maximum charges.





Seeding - Grass Drilling/No-Till




Seeding - Grass Broadcast




Seeding - Small Grain Broadcast




Lime (includes Lime and Application)




Manure Loading




Manure Spreading - Solid




Manure Spreading - Litter




Manure Hauling




Spraying - Pesticide Ground




Mowing Hay




Mowing and Conditioning Hay




Raking Hay




Baling - Small Squares




Baling - Large Round Bales




Baling - Large Square Bales




Mow, Rake, Bale Hay - No Haul




Round Bale Wrapping




Bush Hogging




Posthole Digging




Post Driving




Clearing Land




Mowing CRP Acres








Tree Planting

Per Plant



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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