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Custom rates for hay

By Harold Watters, Ohio State University Extension agronomist

With hay season in full swing, there have been many questions about custom rates. Photo by Stuart Yensel, Seed Consultants, Inc.

All fall and winter I get questions in the Champaign County office about farm rental rates. Now that we are in the growing season, the calls are about farm custom rates for services that neighbors and farmers hire from each other. I actually use material for both from Barry Ward, the program lead for Production Business Management in the Ag Econ department at Ohio State University. The current calls are about cutting and baling hay, but installing tile and other calls will come in as well.

To compile the data, Barry conducts a survey to ask farmers what they charge their neighbors for this local custom work. He notes, “There is no assurance that the average rates reported in this publication will cover your total costs for performing the custom service or that you will be able to hire a custom operator for the average rate published here. Calculate your own costs carefully before determining the rate to charge or pay.” Barry posts the details of the survey on his website: http://ross.osu.edu/topics/agriculture-and-natural-resources/agforms-documents/Ohio%20Farm%20Custom%20Rates%202010%20Final%23.pdf. And you can also find cash farm rental information there, too.

Here is some of Barry’s data for Custom Hay Harvest –

Hay/Straw Harvest / Per AcreLowAverageHigh
Mowing/Conditioning$8.25$12.80$17.35
Raking$3.10$6.75$10.35
Baling        Small Square$0.26/bale$0.65$1.00
Large Round ~ 1,000#$5.35$6.80$8.25
Complete Hay Harvest

% of Crop to Custom Provider

47%55%64%

For more from Watters, see “CORN to Go” in the July Ohio’s Country Journal.

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