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:
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
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: The Global Impact
The shock to global commodity markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to be the largest in the post-war period, and certainly since the oil crisis of the 1970s. Over the past 30 year, the two countries have become major agricultural exporters, accounting for a quarter of global grains trade in the 2021-22 season (International Grains Council, March 9, 2022). Across key commodities, they account for a 34, 18, 27 and 75 percent share of volume traded of world wheat, corn, barley, and sunflower oil respectively (International Food Policy Research Institute, February 24, 2022). With Russia blockading ports on the Black Sea, 16 million tons of grain are currently stranded in Ukraine, USDA forecasting Ukrainian-Russian wheat exports to fall by 7 million tons in 2021-22, Australian and Indian exports only partially filling the gap (USDA/WASDE Report, March 9, 2022) Also, despite reports of some spring crops being planted in Ukraine, outgoing Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko expects total area sown to be reduced by 19 million acres (Reuters, March 22, 2022).
Not surprisingly a market shock of this magnitude has affected both the volatility and level of prices, wheat futures at one point moving above $14/bushel, and eventually falling back to just over $10/bushel, reflecting uncertainty among traders about the invasion. In turn, the increase in grain prices, are having a significant effect on global food prices and hence food security. Even before the invasion, several factors were already driving up food prices, including poor harvests in South America, strong global demand, supply chain issues, reduced global stocks of grains and oilseeds, and an input cost squeeze mostly due to rising fertilizer prices. Adding in the effect of the invasion, global food prices are now reaching levels not seen since the so-called “Arab Spring” of the early 2010s (UN/FAO, March 2022). Continue reading
By: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management
The Ohio Farm Custom Rates Survey data collection has launched once again. The online survey for 2022 is available at: https://go.osu.edu/ohiofarmcustomratesurvey2022
A large number of Ohio farmers hire machinery operations and other farm related work to be completed by others. This is often due to lack of proper equipment, lack of time or lack of expertise for a particular operation. Many farm business owners do not own equipment for every possible job that they may encounter in the course of operating a farm and may, instead of purchasing the equipment needed, seek out someone with the proper tools necessary to complete the job. This 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.
Custom farming providers and customers often negotiate an agreeable custom farming machinery rate by utilizing Extension surveys results as a starting point. Ohio State University Extension collects surveys and publishes survey results from the Ohio Farm Custom Survey every other year. This year we are updating our published custom farm rates for Ohio.
We kindly request your assistance in securing up-to-date information about farm custom work rates, machinery and building rental rates and hired labor costs in Ohio.
This year we have an online survey set up that anyone can access. We would ask that you respond even if you know only a few rates. We want information on actual rates, either what you paid to hire custom work or what you charged if you perform custom work. Custom Rates should include all ownership costs of implement & tractor (if needed), operator labor, fuel and lube. If fuel is not included in your custom rate charge there is a place on the survey to indicate this.
You may access the survey at: https://go.osu.edu/ohiofarmcustomratesurvey2022
If you prefer a document that you can print out and fill out by hand to return, email Barry Ward at email@example.com
The deadline to complete the survey is March 31,2022.
By: Gary Schnitkey, Nick Paulson, and Krista Swanson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois and Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics Ohio State University.
Farmers will again have until March 15 to make commodity title program selections. Given the current high prices, commodity title payments are not expected from any program option for the 2022 marketing year. If a change in conditions resulted in payments, those would be received in October 2023, after the close of the 2022 marketing year. Farmers wishing to purchase the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) crop insurance policy must select Price Loss Coverage (PLC) as the commodity title choice. Based on current price projections, Agriculture Risk Coverage at the county level (ARC-CO) will maximize the chance of payment for soybeans, although that chance will be small. The probability of payments is roughly the same for corn and soybeans.
by: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County
Liquidity is the ability of a farm business to quickly convert current assets to cash to pay short-term (less than 12 months) cash obligations, debt, family living, and taxes. It is one of several measures used to gauge farm financial performance over time. The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) is forecasting a decline in farm sector liquidity in 2021. This article will discuss working capital, current ratio, and times interest earned ratio financial measures.
Source: Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, ANR, Tuscarawas County
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released the interagency report: USDA Agricultural Projections to 2030. These long-term projections include several assumptions related to the Farm Bill, macroeconomic conditions, farm policy, and trade agreements. While long-term projections are based on assumptions and many unknowns, they do provide a glimpse of how U.S. farm commodity prices may perform over the next several years. Anyone interested in reading specific details is encouraged to see the report available here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/outlooks/100526/oce-2021-1.pdf?v=3513.2.
This article briefly summarizes selected selections of the 102-page report, including U.S. crop prices, milk production, U.S. farm income, and government payments. Figures from the report are included to accompany the text.
U.S. Crop Prices
Rising global demand for diversified diets and protein will continue to stimulate import demand for grains. Increased demand for these crops is accompanied by rising competition for market share from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, the EU, and the Black Sea region. The United States also faces challenges related to ongoing tensions with trade partners and a relatively strong U.S. dollar. Although strong trade competition continues, U.S. commodities remain generally competitive in global agricultural markets, with U.S. corn and soybean exports projected at record highs by 2030/31. Nominal prices for wheat, cotton, and rice are expected to rise modestly between 2021/22 and 2030/31.
Source: Barry Ward, David Marrison, Peggy Hall, Dianne Shoemaker – Ohio State University Extension
“Farm Office Live” continues this winter as an opportunity for you to get the latest outlook and updates on ag law, farm management, ag economics, farm business analysis and other related issues from faculty and educators with the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Each Farm Office Live begins with presentations on select ag law and farm management topics from our specialists followed by open discussions and a Q&A session. Viewers can attend “Farm Office Live” online each month on Wednesday evening or Friday morning, or can catch a recording of each program.
The full slate of offerings remaining for this winter are:
Topics to be addressed in March include:
To register or view past recordings, visit https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive
For more information or to submit a topic for discussion, email Julie Strawser at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the farm office at 614-292-2433. We look forward to you joining us!
Source: Barry Ward, John Barker, OSU Extension
The profit margin outlook for corn, soybeans and wheat is relatively positive as planting season approaches. Prices of all three of our main commodity crops have moved higher since last summer and forward prices for this fall are currently at levels high enough to project positive returns for 2021 crop production. Recent increases in fertilizer prices have negatively affected projected returns. Higher crop insurance costs as well as moderately higher energy costs relative to last year will also add to overall costs for 2021.
Production costs for Ohio field crops are forecast to be modestly higher compared to last year with higher fertilizer, fuel and crop insurance expenses. Variable costs for corn in Ohio for 2021 are projected to range from $386 to $470 per acre depending on land productivity. Variable costs for 2021 Ohio soybeans are projected to range from $216 to $242 per acre. Wheat variable expenses for 2021 are projected to range from $166 to $198 per acre.
Returns (excluding government payments) will likely be higher for many producers depending on price movement throughout the rest of the growing year. Grain prices currently used as assumptions in the 2021 crop enterprise budgets are $4.30/bushel for corn, $11.55/bushel for soybeans and $6.25/bushel for wheat. Projected returns above variable costs (contribution margin) range from $216 to $434 per acre for corn and $284 to $509 per acre for soybeans. Projected returns above variable costs for wheat range from $193 to $342 per acre. As a reminder, fixed costs (overhead) must be paid from these returns above variable costs. Fixed costs include machinery ownership costs, land costs including rent and payment for owner operator labor and management including other unpaid family labor.
Fertilizer prices continue to increase. If you have not checked fertilizer prices lately, be prepared for some sticker shock. Producers with some fertilizer purchased and stored or pre-priced prior to recent price increases will likely see a healthier bottom line this upcoming crop year.
Those with little or no fertilizer pre-purchased and stored or pre-priced may want to consider using P and K buildup to furnish crop needs this year in anticipation of possibly lower prices in the future. Now may be a good time review your fertilizer plans as you are considering how to best utilize your financial resources in 2021.
As an example, a 150-bushel corn crop will remove about 55 pounds of P2O5 per acre in the harvested grain. This would result in a reduction in the soil test level of approximately 3 ppm.
Current budget analyses indicates favorable returns for soybeans compared to corn but crop price change and harvest yields may change this outcome. These projections are based on OSU Extension Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets. Newly updated Enterprise Budgets for 2021 have been completed and posted to the Farm Office website: https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-mgt-tools/farm-budgets