You might be paying more for custom work than you think, according to the economists who operate Iowa State University’s Ag Decision Maker website. Ag Decision Maker includes a spreadsheet to help calculate machinery costs based on the 2011 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, a survey of 179 Iowa farmers, custom operators and farm managers. The survey calculates an average rate and provides a guide for making custom farming cost decisions.
To find out your actual cost of ownership and operation, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/. The custom rate spreadsheet allows you to choose the type of machinery and then enter purchase price, usage, field capacity and current price of fuel to calculate the cost of ownership and operation. The spreadsheet allows you to calculate costs based on the life of the equipment, for the rest of its useful life or for the current year only.