August 26, 2004
'Custom'-made Purdue study lists rates for hired farm work
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Farmers who hire a neighbor to perform fieldwork or other common jobs are paying more today than four years ago, according to a recent Purdue University study.
"Indiana Custom Rates 2004" found that while custom rates for tillage, planting and harvesting have gone up, they aren't significantly higher than in 2000, the last time the study was issued. In some cases, the rates are about the same or lower, said Craig Dobbins, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist.
The Purdue study lists about 60 custom farming services in such areas as land preparation and machine rental. Each listing includes an average rate, a range of high and low charges, and the number of people who supplied cost information on those services.
Rates were determined from surveys conducted in March and April by Purdue and the Purdue-based Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service, Dobbins said.
"We sent surveys to farmers who do custom work and/or have custom work done," he said. "We simply asked them to report the price that they were paying or charging for various kinds of custom work operations. These included tillage operations, harvesting, planting operations for corn and beans, and miscellaneous operations done around the farm. This is a report of where the market stands for these various operations."
The 2004 study is an update of the previous custom rates report, Dobbins said.
"There have been several changes that have occurred since 2000 in terms of increased machinery prices and, of course, fuel prices being higher," he said. "Those all have some influence on custom rates."
Examples of average rates listed in the Purdue study include:
Applying herbicides and insecticides with Highboy sprayer - $5.44 per acre.
Planting conventional till corn in 30-inch rows - $12.56 per acre.
Planting no-till soybeans, drilled - $13.45 per acre.
Combining soybeans - $21.76 per acre.
Combining corn at a yield average of 135 bushels per acre - $22.29 per acre.
Baling hay in small, square bales - 50 cents per bale.
"For those farmers who do work for their neighbor or are thinking of hiring some custom work, this report might be a good place to start when trying to decide what constitutes a reasonable charge," Dobbins said.
"Indiana Custom Rates 2004" - Extension publication EC-130-W - is available online.
Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Craig Dobbins, (765) 494-9041, email@example.com
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