2016 Custom Rates for Farm Services in Missouri
Raymond E. Massey
MU Extension Economist
Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Rates are available in print or as a PDF file.
The rates reported in this guide are based on a statewide survey conducted by mail in the winter of 2017. Farmers, agribusiness firms, aerial applicators and land improvement contractors responded to questions on the rates they were charging or paying in 2016 for custom services, excluding the cost of materials being applied.
There is no assurance that the average rates reported in this guide will cover your costs for performing the service or that you will be able to hire a custom operator in your area for the rates shown. Calculate your own costs carefully before deciding the rate to charge or pay. Before entering into an agreement, discuss with the other party all the details of the specific job to be performed.
Custom rates cover the cost of machinery, fuel, labor and, occasionally, a product such as lime or bale wrap. The USDA reports that machinery values and labor costs have increased by about 10 percent since our last custom rate survey in 2012. However, diesel prices have decreased by almost 50 percent. Our University of Missouri custom rate survey responses indicate that Missouri farmers were paying more for almost every activity in 2016, relative to 2012.
Explanation of the rates in this guide
Rates in this guide reflect each respondent's judgment of a "normal" job. Operators may add charges if they consider a job abnormal, such as in distance from the operator's base location, the amount of product or labor involved, the difficulty of the terrain, or special requirements of the customer or location.
The "Number reporting" and "Range in rates" columns are important. Some items had very few responses or a wide range in rates, so the average rate may not accurately reflect rates in your area. Possible explanations of the wide ranges are the type or size of equipment used, the mix of labor and equipment used, or different income needs of full-time custom operators compared to local farmers supplementing their income.
The "Average rate" column indicates the basis of the charge for all of the rates in that row. The "Mid" rate had an equal number of responses higher and lower.