Planting

AMES, Iowa — Custom farming can provide an additional source of income for those with machinery and experience, or alleviate a farmer of a particular task that they do not wish to do on their own.

Whether the farmer is performing or receiving the custom work, the question always comes up over what to charge. And while rates vary from one operator to another, a new report by Iowa State University Extension provides a look at projected averages for 2020.

The 2020 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey is available in the March edition of Ag Decision Maker online at bit.ly/2WuDVP5 and provides custom prices for common farm tasks in Iowa, compiled from 106 respondents.

According to the report, there was a 3% decline across all categories, with complete harvesting and hauling declining by 4% and bin and machinery rental increasing by 2.3%.

The average price for custom combining corn in Iowa in 2020 is $36.70 per acre, compared to $35.95 per acre in 2019. Spraying, per acre, is $6.70 in 2020, a slight decline from $7.25 per acre in 2019.

In addition to field activities, the report also includes prices for commodity storage, snow removal and farm maintenance, equipment rental and labor prices.

“Subdued commodity prices, lower fuel prices and another year of thin profit margins in crop production on the horizon are setting the tone for overall lower expected custom rates in 2020,” Alejandro Plastina, assistant professor and Extension economist with ISU, said in a news release. “However, some tasks related to manure management might see some price increases, according to the survey respondents.”

Plastina said it’s important to remember the report is simply an opinion poll, and should only be used as a starting point in the process of determining custom rates.

“This report is not to be interpreted as Iowa State University’s opinion of what the custom rates are or should be, but rather what survey respondents report thinking the rates will be in 2020,” he said.