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A fair amount to charge for custom machine work

EAST LANSING, MI. — With the 2022 harvest approaching and the growing season wrapping up with harvest, wheat planting and fall tillage work, some farmers are settling up for custom machine work that they either hired or performed for others. What is a fair amount to charge or to pay for such work? 

Michigan State University has a survey of the data for their 2021 custom machine and work rates estimates. Farmers and landowners can download this document just by googling MSU custom rates 2021. Fall tillage, harvesting, fertilizer spreading, grain hauling and other custom rate numbers for the following items may be helpful for farmers as they settle up accounts. The MSU numbers are average prices with a range of higher and lower numbers included in the university charts. Some prices may be higher or lower than the survey data of a year ago.

Rates in different areas of Michigan may be higher or lower than the state average depending upon several factors. In Monroe County, factors influencing custom machine work can include field size and shape, ease of access, amount of non-farm traffic to get to the field, machine size, width of roads or bridges, trash, weeds, trees or brush hindering work in the field, depth of field drainage tile, payment arrangements, and other factors.

The rates below include the implement, power unit, operator and fuel. All rates are per acre unless otherwise noted.  No price was listed for diesel fuel per gallon.

• Chisel plow with front disk (16.3 feet)


• V-ripper, 30-inch center, 17 feet


• Subsoiler, 10 feet (12 inches to 15 inches deep)        


• Drill, no-till (15 feet)    


• Combine corn, 8 row    


• Combine corn with stalk chopper head


• Combine soybeans, 30- feet head


• Combine soybeans, air reel, flex 25 feet            


• Combine, cart, haul to storage, corn


• Combine, cart, haul to storage, soybeans            


• Soil testing (GPS grid samples)


• Backhoe            

$101.39 per hour

• Lime application (per acre)


• Custom farming (corn)    


• Grain hauling: farm to market (25 miles)        

21 cents per bushel

In addition to the MSU numbers, Ohio State University has updated their bi-annual survey for farm custom rates for 2022, the University of Illinois has a machinery cost estimates for 2021 and Purdue has a 2021 Indiana farm custom rates available.