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MU Extension summarizes custom rates for farm services


University of Missouri Extension has published a summary of custom rates for farm services in Missouri based on a statewide online survey and solicitations by extension specialists.

MU Extension asked farmers, agribusiness firms and land improvement contractors to provide rates they charged or paid in 2022 for custom services, minus the cost of materials applied.

Although still a popular extension guide, fewer people are responding to this survey when it is taken every three years.

“The number of responses to many questions asked was too low to have statistical confidence in the results,” said Ray Massey, extension professor of agricultural economics. “However, we compared our results to custom rates guides in Iowa to see if our rates are in line with their rates and to previous custom rates surveys to confirm that the direction and magnitude of changes seems reasonable.”

The rates in the guide reflect each respondent’s judgment of a “normal” job, without additional charges:

  • Field work activities.
  • Planting activities.
  • Fertilizer and chemical application.
  • Harvesting and hauling row crops.
  • Harvesting and hauling hay.
  • Earth moving and heavy equipment jobs.

The custom rates reported in the guide are often used to begin negotiations between two parties for field work activities. They should not be used to establish the price but rather to get an idea of what charges are reasonable, Massey said.

“There is no assurance that the average rates reported in this guide will cover the costs for performing the service or that you will be able to hire a custom operator in your area for the rates shown,” he said. “Calculate machinery 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 for Farm Services in Missouri” is available for free download at www.extension.missouri.edu/g302.