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Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey - 2024 Insights
Iowa Ag Connection - 04/01/2024

The recently released 2024 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey offers invaluable insights into the state's farming landscape, providing farmers and custom operators with crucial information on pricing and trends in custom farming services. Published in the March edition of Ag Decision Maker, the survey gathered data from 130 respondents, resulting in 2,805 custom rates provided by farmers, custom operators, and farm managers across Iowa.

Covering a wide range of farm tasks from planting to harvest, the survey presents data on average, median, and range for each task, including fuel and labor costs where applicable. With an assumed average diesel fuel price of $3.92 per gallon, the rates reflect the expected charges or payments for 2024.

Ann Johanns, program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, noted that this year's survey results seem more aligned with the current farm economy compared to previous years. Despite an increase in projected fuel prices, production challenges and crop prices have influenced custom rates, resulting in steady to slight declines in rates overall.

Johanns emphasized the importance for custom operators to understand the market and their operating costs to ensure profitability. The survey also provides additional insight into respondents, highlighting the breakdown of service providers, service users, machinery owners, renters, employers, and employees.

Johanns cautioned that while the survey serves as a valuable guide, actual custom rates may vary based on various factors such as machinery availability, operator skill, and field conditions. It's essential for operators to ensure that their rates cover their costs effectively.

The Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey serves as a valuable resource for farmers and custom operators, offering a starting point for discussions and decisions regarding custom farming services. By understanding the trends and factors influencing rates, stakeholders can make informed choices to optimize their operations in the dynamic farming landscape of Iowa.

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