Drew Kientzy
Research Analyst, Agricultural Business and Policy Extension

Raymond E. Massey
Extension Professor, Agricultural Business and Policy

Editor’s note
Rates are available in the PDF file, available via the “Download this publication” button.

For historical reference, see the previous issue of this Missouri custom rates guide (PDF).

The rates reported in this guide summarize a statewide survey conducted online and by solicitations of University of Missouri Extension specialists in the spring of 2023. We asked farmers, agribusiness firms and land improvement contractors to provide the rates they were charging or paying in 2022 for custom services, excluding the cost of materials being applied. Thank you to those who provided information — even if it was just for one activity.

Fewer people respond to this survey every time it is taken — every three years. There may be fewer farmers using custom operators or fewer businesses conducting custom activities. But it is still a very popular Extension guide.

The number of responses to many questions asked was too low to have statistical confidence in the results. However, the results presented here have been compared to custom rates guides in Iowa to see if our rates are in line with their rates. These results have also been compared to previous custom rates surveys to see if the direction and magnitude of changes seems reasonable.

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 23 percent and 18 percent, respectively, since our last custom rate survey in 2019. Diesel prices have increased by 38 percent in the last three years. This increase in the costs of inputs into custom activities suggest that custom rates should have increased over the past several years.

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 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 of responses” columns are important. They indicate the number of responses for that activity and the variation in those responses. A small number of responses combined with a large range of responses means that there is less confidence in those results. The “Average rate” column indicates the average charge for all of the rates in that row. The “Median rate” had an equal number of responses higher and lower.

As in past years, this guide reports the average rate, and the low, mid and high rates reported by those providing responses. When few responses are averaged, a single response can move the average a lot. In this situation, the extremes may have unduly influenced the average reported. The range of responses also give the user an idea of how variable the rates charged for field activities might be.

Possible explanations of the wide ranges are the type or size of equipment used, the mix of labor and equipment used, or different business objectives of full-time custom operators compared to local farmers supplementing their income.

Select the “Download PDF” button to see the rate tables.