GOSHEN, Ind. — One of the ways to help bring in a little more income on a farm is to use the equipment you own to help others with tasks on their farms. Known as custom work, this is a good way to help pay for equipment or labor that might be underutilized.
Several universities in the Midwest do surveys to collect information about the rates for this custom work. Purdue, for instance, does a survey every other year. Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska routinely publish such information too. Most of the university data lists the average of the rate, as well as a high and a low. For example, Purdue’s custom rate information reports an average custom rate of $6.18/acre for broadcasting dry fertilizer, with a range of $4.62 to $7.74 per acre.
If you are exploring ways to enhance farm income, doing custom work may be something to look into, especially if you own a piece of equipment that is not commonly found in your neighborhood, but may be useful to your neighbors.
If you are curious about what the going rate might be for various activities, I suggest visiting the Purdue Chat and Chew website at https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/cafe/#. On the right-hand side, you will see a listing of handy resources, which includes links to custom rate publications at the universities mentioned above. The data collected by each state differs, so if you do not see your particular interest listed, check another states custom rates. It might be well worth your time.
— Jeff Burbrink, Extension Educator, Purdue Extension Elkhart County
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