Farming is a complex business and many Ohio farmers utilize outside assistance for specific farm-related work. This option is appealing for tasks requiring specialized equipment or technical expertise. Often, having someone else with specialized tools perform tasks is more cost effective and saves time. Farm work completed by others is often referred to as “custom farm work” or more simply, “custom work”. A “custom rate” is the amount agreed upon by both parties to be paid by the custom work customer to the custom work provider.
Ohio Farm Custom Rates
The “Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2022” publication reports custom rates based on a statewide survey of 223 farmers, custom operators, farm managers, and landowners conducted in 2022. These rates, except where noted, include the implement and tractor if required, all variable machinery costs such as fuel, oil, lube, twine, etc., and labor for the operation.
Some custom rates published in this study vary widely, possibly influenced by:
- Type or size of equipment used (e.g. 20-shank chisel plow versus a 9-shank)
- Size and shape of fields,
- Condition of the crop (for harvesting operations)
- Skill level of labor
- Amount of labor needed in relation to the equipment capabilities
- Cost margin differences for full-time custom operators compared to farmers supplementing current income
Some custom rates reflect discounted rates as the parties involved have family or community relationships, Discounted rates may also occur when the custom work provider is attempting to strengthen a relationship to help secure the custom farmed land in a future purchase, cash rental or other rental agreement. Some providers charge differently because they are simply attempting to spread their fixed costs over more acreage to decrease fixed costs per acre and are willing to forgo complete cost recovery.
New this year, the number of responses for each operation has been added to the data presented. In cases where there were too few responses to statistically analyze, summary statistics are not presented.
Charges may be added if the custom provider considers a job abnormal such as distance from the operator’s base location, difficulty of terrain, amount of product or labor involved with the operation, or other special requirements of the custom work customer.
The data from this survey are intended to show a representative farming industry cost for specified machines and operations in Ohio. As a custom farm work provider, the average rates reported in this publication may not cover your total costs for performing the custom service. As a customer, you may not be able to hire a custom service for the average rate published in this factsheet.
It is recommended that you calculate your own costs carefully before determining the custom rate to charge or pay. It may be helpful to compare the custom rates reported in this fact sheet with machinery costs calculated by economic engineering models available online. The following resources are available to help you calculate and consider the total costs of performing a given machinery operation.
Farm Machinery Cost Estimates, available by searching University of Minnesota.
Illinois Farm Management Handbook, available by searching University of Illinois farmdoc.
Estimating Farm Machinery Costs, available by searching Iowa State University agriculture decision maker and machinery management.
Fuel price changes may cause some uncertainty in setting a custom rate. Significant volatility in diesel price over the last several months has caused some concern for custom rate providers that seek to cover all or most of the costs associated with custom farm operations. The approximate price of diesel fuel during the survey period ranged from $4.50 – $5.25 per gallon for off-road (farm) usage. As a custom farm work provider, if you feel that your rate doesn’t capture your full costs due to fuel price increases you might consider a custom rate increase or fuel surcharge based on the increase in fuel costs.
For example, let’s assume the rate you planned to charge for a chisel plow operation was based on $4.50 per gallon diesel costs and the current on-farm diesel price is $5.50 per gallon. This is a $1 per gallon increase. The chisel plow operation uses 1.15 gallons of fuel per acre so the added fuel surcharge could be set at $1.15 per acre (1.15 gallons x $1 gallon).
Click here to to download or view the 2022 Ohio Farm Custom Rate Fact Sheet
by: Horacio Lopez-Nicora, Stephanie Karhoff, OSU Extension
In early August we recommended to start scouting fields for soybean diseases. At that time (two weeks ago), disease incidence across Ohio was very low to moderate. Conducive environmental conditions, however, are turning things around and more fields are developing disease symptoms.
Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)
We are finding fields in Ohio severely affected by sudden death syndrome (SDS) [Fig.1 and Fig. 2]. SDS is caused by the fungal pathogen Fusarium virguliforme. This species is the most prevalent in the region, however, other Fusarium species can cause SDS. SDS above-ground symptoms can be confused with those produced by a different fungus (Cadophora gregata) that causes brown stem rot (BSR). To distinguish SDS from BSR, symptomatic plants should be dug out and stem cut open longitudinally. SDS-infected plants have white, healthy-looking pith, while BSR-infected plants present brown discoloration of the pith. Moreover, fields with severe SDS symptoms can also have high levels of soybean cyst nematode (SCN). Visit here for more information on SDS.
Figure 1. Soybean field in south Ohio severely affected by sudden death syndrome (SDS) with premature defoliation in the R5/R6 growth stage (A); symptoms begin with interveinal yellowing (chlorosis) of leaf (B); eventually leaf tissue dies and becomes brown but veins remain green (C). The fungus infects the root and produces toxins that are responsible for the above-ground symptoms.
If you have SDS, we encourage you to submit a sample to the Soybean Pathology and Nematology Laboratory in the Department of Plant Pathology at The Ohio State University in Columbus (see address below). We will confirm if it is SDS or BSR; additionally, if it is SDS, we want to determine what Fusarium species is the causal agent. To submit samples, dig out three to five symptomatic plants (including roots), placed them in a plastic bag, and submit them to our lab. Do not hesitate to contact your extension educator or us if you have any questions.
Bacterial Blight, White Mold, and Phytophthora Root and Stem Rot
By: Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law
September 1 is fast approaching, and this year it’s an especially important date for landowners leasing cropland under an existing lease that doesn’t address when or how the lease terminates. In those situations, September 1 is the new deadline established in Ohio law for a landowner to notify a tenant that the landowner wants to terminate the lease. If the landowner does not provide notice by September 1, the lease continues for another lease term.
This September 1 deadline only applies to verbal or written leases that don’t have a termination date or a deadline for giving notice of termination. If a crop lease already includes a termination date or a deadline for giving notice of termination, those provisions are unchanged by the new law. The new September 1 termination date also only affects leases of land for agricultural crops. It does not apply to leases for pasture, timber, farm buildings, horticultural buildings, or leases solely for equipment.
To meet the new legal requirements, a landowner must give the notice of termination in writing and deliver it to the tenant operator by hand, mail, fax, or email on or before September 1. While the law does not specify what the termination must say, we recommend including the date of the notice, the identity of the lease property being terminated, and the date the lease terminates, which the law states will be the earlier of the end of harvest or December 31, unless the parties agree otherwise.
Tenant operators are not subject to the new September 1 termination deadline—the law applies only to the landowner. Even so, it’s important for tenant operators to understand the new law because it protects a tenant if a landowner attempts to terminate a lease after September 1. In those instances, the law allows the tenant to continue the lease for another term because the termination notice was late.
A lesson this new law teaches is the importance of having a written farm lease that includes termination provisions. The parties can agree in advance when the lease will terminate or can set a deadline for notifying the other party of the intent to terminate the lease. Such terms provide certainty and reduce the risk of conflict and litigation over a “late” termination.
Read the new “termination of agricultural leases” law in Section 5301.71 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Most of the corn across the state of Ohio is now between the late-R1 (silking) and late-R3 (milk) growth stages, with a few late-planted fields at late vegetative stages. Concerns about tar spot, but more likely, a sense of security provided by relatively high grain prices have led to several fields being sprayed with a fungicide at or shortly after R1 and questions being asked about spraying additional fields that are now at mid reproductive stages (between late-R2 [kernel blister] and R3 [milk]) of development. Concerns about tar spot are understandable, given how widespread the disease was last year (2021) and the level of damage it is capable of causing. However, the basic approach for tar spot management in Ohio should be no different from the approach commonly recommended for managing other, more common foliar, fungal diseases such as gray leaf spot. You have to scout fields, monitor the weather, and if needed, apply the fungicide when it is most likely to be effective, without violating label restrictions.
So far this season, of the more than 15 samples examined (actual leaves or images) and 40+ field scouted at 15-day intervals, only three were positive for tar spot. This is considerably lower than what we saw at a similar time and growth stage in 2021. Does this mean that your R2-R3 corn is no longer at risk for tar spot? In places where the disease is endemic (hot spots where lots of spores may be readily available), a susceptible hybrid is planted, and weather conditions are favorable (moderate temperatures and wet and humid), tar spot may still develop and spread quickly after R3. However, under conditions less favorable for tar spot development (cool and dry) where spores need to blow in from outside, the crop is at lower risk for tar spot, even if symptoms begin to develop at R3. So, the short answer is, if you planted a susceptible hybrid no-till or minimum-till in a corn field that had tar spot last year, and weather conditions become highly favorable over the next few weeks, your crop could still be at risk.
Hail damage occurred in a few Knox County fields after this past weekend’s (August 20 & 21) round of storms. Some of you have asked about the damage potential caused by these storms.
The following information can be found in Evaluating Hail Damage to Corn from the University of Nebraska. https://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec126.pdf
Yield losses can occur from stand reduction, defoliation, and direct damage to the ear itself. The fields I looked at were in the soft dough to “very” early dent stages. Table III below shows the anticipated damage due to defoliation.
Table III. Estimated percent corn yield loss due to defoliation occurring at various stages of growth.”
Reprinted from the Com Loss Adjustment Standards Handbook FCIE-2508 (11-2009) 2010 and Succeeding Crop Years, National Crop Insurance Services. This system counts a leaf as fully developed when the leaf tip points to the ground (not fully developed collar).
To estimate total yield loss, consider the following example:
An early August hail storm strikes corn at the soft dough stage. There is defoliation and severe bruising of the ears. The defoliation is calculated at 90 percent.
- Ten ears are stripped of their husks and the row number and kernels/row are counted. There are approximately 300 kernels per ear, and on average 30 of these are bruised. This 10 percent direct damage is subtracted from 100 percent, as in the first example with stand reduction.
- Defoliation yield reduction ( Table III) for the remaining 90 percent at soft dough is 35 percent.
- To calculate yield loss at this point the 10 percent from direct damage is subtracted ( 100 – 10 = 90 percent). The remaining 90 percent is multiplied by 35 percent (90 x 0.35 percent loss). The result is 31.5 percent defoliation loss. The total loss would be from direct damage (10 percent) and defoliation loss (31.5 percent) for a total of 41.5 percent.
This is only an estimate of the percent yield loss. As with undamaged corn, extremely favorable weather during the rest of the growing season can cause actual yields to be higher than expected. Likewise, unfavorable weather can cause greater than anticipated reductions.