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Machinery operation cost

Published on 02 January 2012

What does it cost you to own and operate agricultural machinery for crop production?  Should you own the equipment or seek a custom operator for oone or more field operations?

What should you charge someone else to have your people and your machine conduct field operations on their farm, and vice versa?  These questions definitely need answers as you put a final wrapping on the 2011 growing season and evaluate your cost of production for grains and forages produced.

Three publications commonly used by Wisconsin agricultural producers and their advisers to put values on machine operations are listed below.  These machinery cost guidelines and estimates are based on 2010 information from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

You should make appropriate adjustments for price changes to machinery, fuel, and/or labor when using this 2010 information for subsequent years.

The Wisconsin and Iowa information are both based on survey answers from farmers and custom machinery operators, as to prices paid or charged in 2010.

The Minnesota information is based on calculations (not a survey).  Engineering and economic assumptions are made for depreciation, labor, fuel price, machine capacity and efficiency, etc.

Machine operation cost guidelines and estimates available from the Internet:

Wisconsin
Custom Rate Guide – 2010, National Ag Statistics Service, WI-DATCP, Feb, 2011.
http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Wisconsin/Publications/custom_rates_2010.pdf

Minnesota
Machinery Cost Estimates, University of Minnesota, May, 2011.
http://faculty.apec.umn.edu/wlazarus/documents/machdata.pdf

Iowa
2011 Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey, Iowa State University, March, 2011.
http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/pdf/a3-10.pdf  FG

—UW-Discovery Farms Program website, December 2011

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