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2013 Farm Custom Rates

Written by: Kent Thiesse

As would be expected with increasing fuel costs, average 2013 custom rates for farm work have a1so risen, compared to 2012 custom rates. Most custom rates for farm work in 2013 are listed at 3-5 percent above the rates for similar operations in 2012, with an average increase of about 4 percent. In addition to higher fuel costs, increasing cost for new and used machinery, and rising repair costs, are also factors in the higher custom rates.


These results are based on the annual “Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey” that is coordinated and analyzed by Iowa State University. The survey sampled 249 custom operators, farm managers, and ag lenders on what they expected 2013 custom farm rates to be for various farm operations. The Survey summary lists the average custom rate and the range for various tillage, planting, fertilizer and chemical application, grain harvesting, and forage harvesting functions on the farm. The Survey also includes many miscellaneous faming practices, lists average machine rental rates for some equipment, and includes a formula for estimating average machinery rental rates. The Survey also lists average custom farming rates for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Over the years, the average custom rates for farm operations in Southern and Western Minnesota has been very close to the average Iowa custom rates. The complete 2013 “Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey” is available on the following web site:


All listed custom rates in the Iowa Survey results include fuel, labor, repairs, depreciation, insurance, and interest, unless listed as rental rates or otherwise specified. The average price for diesel fuel assumed for the quoted custom rates was $3.50 per gallon. A fuel price increase of $.50 per gallon would cause most custom rates to increase by approximately five percent.


These average rates are only meant to be a guide for custom rates, as actual custom rates charged may vary depending on further increases in fuel costs, availability of custom operators, timeliness, field size, etc. Following are the average custom rates for some common farming practices based on the “2013 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey”  :


Custom Farming Rates :

(Includes tillage, planting and harvesting costs)

  • Corn ------------   $126.65 per acre  (Range = $85.00 - $175.00) 
  • Soybeans -------  $112.40 per acre  (Range = $68.00 - $165.00)
  • Small Grain ----  $83.25 per acre  (Range = $50.00 - $100.00)


Tillage :

  • Moldboard Plow ----------   $16.15 per acre
  • Chisel Plow ----------------  $15.20 per acre
  • V-Ripper (deep tillage) ---  $19.60 per acre
  • Field Cultivator ------------  $13.35 per acre
  • Tandem Disk ---------------  $13.60 per acre
  • Row Cultivator -------------  $12.50 per acre
  • Chopping Cornstalks ------  $11.40 per acre


Planting :

  • Planter With Attachments -------  $18.45 per acre
  • Planter Without Attachments ---  $16.60 per acre
  • No-Till Planter --------------------  $18.45 per acre
  • Soybean Drill ---------------------   $15.75 per acre
  • Grain Drill -------------------------  $14.90 per acre


Harvesting Grain :

  • Corn Combine -------------------  $32.90 per acre ($38.00 with Chopper Head)

                                                                                   ($46.15 per acre with Grain Cart & Truck)

  • Soybean Combine --------------  $32.00 per acre ($43.80 per acre with Grain Cart & Truck)
  • Small Grain Combine ----------  $29.70 per acre
  • Corn Grain Cart (In Field) ----   $6.80 per acre
  • Soybean Grain Cart (In Field) -  $5.60 per acre
  • Hauling Grain (5 mi. or less) --  $0.10 per bushel
  • Hauling Grain (5 – 25 mi.) ----- $0.17 per bushel
  • Grain Auger Use (On Farm) ---  $0.07 per bushel


Harvesting Forages :

  • Windrowing Hay ----------------------  $12.50 per acre
  • Hay Baling (Small Square Bales) ---  $0.60 per bale
  • Hay Baling (Large Square Bales) ---  $10.45 per bale
  • Hay Baling (Large Round Bales) ---  $10.95 per bale ($11.85 per bale with wrap)
  • Corn Stalk Baling (Large Bales) ----  $11.70 per bale ($13.00 per bale with wrap)
  • Silage Chopping -----------------------  $49.85 per hour per header row
  • Haylage Chopping --------------------   $12.70 per hour per foot header width                                                                                                                       



Note --- For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and

              Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. (Phone --- (507) 381-7960) ; 

              E-mail ---  Web Site ---