Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 4-02-08. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Every two years a survey of custom operators is conducted to determine the current rates charged for specific machinery operations. The PRELIMINARY results reported here reflect only the statewide results for Part I, which includes the spring and summer operations such as planting and small grains harvest. This is not the full report for all operations.

Custom rates reported include charges for the use of necessary equipment, fuel and supplies such as baling wire or twine provided by the custom operator, and labor. Seed, fertilizer and chemical costs are not included.

This survey is not based on a random sample of custom operators in Nebraska. Questionnaires were sent to all the individuals on our custom operator’s mailing list. Thus, the results reflect the average of those who responded to the specific questions, but may not be representative of the rates charged in a particular area. The Average Rate for a specific operation provides an estimate of the prevailing charge, with its reliability improving as the number of responses increase. The Most Common Rate is the rate reported more often than any other for that practice. Usually the Average Rate and the Most Common Rate are similar. The Average Rate is calculated to the nearest cent, while the Most Common Rate is more generally reported to the nearest dollar. The Range gives the minimum and the maximum amounts reported. It may be indicative of different conditions under which the work was performed. The range also may reflect the fact that some rates consider travel to and from the field, while others do not.