Machinery Custom Rates for Silage Operations

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management

Significant drought conditions in many parts of Ohio have led to an increased interest in harvesting corn as silage. With very few farmers owning silage-making equipment, many are looking to neighbors that do own silage harvesting-equipment or professional custom farming providers to help them meet their needs. Questions arise about custom farming rates and the data that you might use to answer your questions about “what should I pay to have my corn harvested as silage?”

Online resources are available that may help in calculating your total costs of performing a given custom operation. Some of the online resources available that may be of assistance include:
Farm Machinery Cost Estimates available at:

Machinery Economics at farmdoc:

Estimating Farm Machinery Costs

To access up-to-date custom farming rates for silage harvesting we can access the Pennsylvania 2012 Machinery Custom Rates ( or the 2012 Iowa Farm Custom Rates (

Michigan State University and the University of Kentucky publish Custom Farming Rate Guides as well. Their guides are based on averages of custom rate summaries from other states and do not utilize actual farmer/custom rate providers surveys when compiling their summaries. Nevertheless, they may be useful as you evaluate a fair custom rate for silage harvest.

Michigan State Univ.:

University of Kentucky:

There is no published information for silage harvest in the Ohio Farm Custom Rates 2012 ( or the 2012 Indiana Farm Custom Rates ( due to lack of survey responses.

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