An annual survey of farmers, custom operators and managers in Iowa shows prices could face increases for custom services this year.
The survey, conducted by Iowa State University, shows the largest single percentage change for custom services is 13.6% for labor costs, followed by a 10.1% increase for miscellaneous services. Respondents said the average cost of harvesting forages would increase 8.1%, followed by a 7.1% increase for preharvest operations.
Bin and machinery rental is expected to increase 5.4%, while harvesting and hauling are expected to increase 3.4%. Complete custom farming services are expected to increase about 1.5%.
The survey also provides estimated ranges for various conservation tillages. For example, custom vertical tillage is expected to range between $12 and $31 per acre, based on 46 responses, with an average charge of $19.30 per acre.
Custom operations are frequently used in strip-till farming, given the expense of purchasing or custom building equipment for the practice. The range given based on 21 respondents, is $16 to $32 per acre, with an average of $21.65 per acre.
About 122 people who received an email or mailed survey responded, and the survey includes 3,389 rates furnished by farmers, custom operators and farm managers.
Among respondents, 20% perform custom work, 16% hire custom outfits, 50% do both, and 14% gave no response for their relationship to custom work.
Researchers caution that the survey results, which include ranges and other information for specific services, should only be used as a guide, and point out that actual custom rates can vary widely within the state of Iowa, let alone among various states.