Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version





(c) University of Nebraska


Custom work is defined as “the hiring of men with machines for performance of a specified machine task.” The custom rate includes charges for the machine, tractor or power unit, fuel, lubrication, incidental supplies and operator's labor, except where otherwise indicated. The costs of material applied are not included-fertilizer, insecticide, herbicide and seed being cases in point. Custom rates in this circular were summarized from questionnaires received from farmers and custom operators throughout Nebraska. Each was asked to report the rates he charged or paid for customwork in 1968. The returns were tabulated for each of the state crop reporting districts as shown on the cover. In instances where it was felt the questionnaires were misinterpreted, the reports were not included. In some cases district averages were omitted where too few reports were received to measure the average rate for the district. This may result the total “number reporting” for the state being larger than the sum of the district figures. The following facts should be weighed carefully when differences exist between the district in question and the remainder of the state: 1. Rates vary between districts, and within districts, for many machines because of soil-conditions, size of fields, capacity of machines, row spacing, and local availability of a particular machine. 2. Some of the variation in the averages shown may be the result of an insufficient number of reports. Rates for districts showing large numbers of returns are more reliable than those where fewer reports are involved. Custom work is used extensively on farms in Nebraska for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is to avoid the cost of ownership for a machine used on a limited scale. Labor is also a factor. It is often easier to hire the services of a skilled operator by hiring the machine also. Because of health or unusual circumstances, some farm operators hire the majority of the machine work on their farms. Custom work is usually provided by those who own and operate specialized equipment as a business or by farmers who have excess machine capacity and labor on their own farms. Thus, they are able to take advantage of the larger and more efficient machines and yet minimize their costs.