Nebraska Extension publishes survey results on farm custom rates every two years and annually for cash rent rates and real estate values. Jim Jansen, Extension Educator for Agricultural Economics, leads the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report effort, and Glennis McClure, Farm and Ranch Management Analyst Extension Educator, leads the Nebraska Farm Custom Rates Report effort. These are two highly sought publications because they provide farmers and landowners baseline information to help facilitate discussions and make decisions around land sales, cash rent, and custom farm operation rates.
The 2023 Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report (cap.unl.edu/realestate) is 71 pages and includes much more information than just average cash rent rates. USDA Nebraska Agricultural Statistical Districts or a group of counties is used to summarize the results of the report. The Southeast Ag Statistic District for reporting includes Clay, Nuckolls, Fillmore, Thayer, Saline, Jefferson, Gage, Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Nemaha, and Richardson counties. Results are broken down into four types of land including dryland cropland, gravity irrigated cropland, center pivot irrigated cropland, and pasture. Within each of these categories, average cash rent, the percent change from last year, and the low third quality and high third quality land cash rent rates are reported. Survey respondents of Ag professionals (e.g. farm managers, Ag lender, etc.) are asked to associate the quality of the land with cash rent rates. I have found the range in rates associated with land quality useful when talking with landowners about the location, soil type, and past yields on their land. In the Southeast Ag District, 2023 cash rent rates increased 5 to 11% from last year across the four land types. Dryland cash rent averaged $200 per acre, with low third quality at $165 and high third quality at $245 per acre. Gravity irrigated cash rent averaged $290 per acre, with low third quality at $245 and high third quality at $330 per acre. Center pivot irrigated cash rent averaged $335 per acre, with low third quality at $290 and high third quality at $370 per acre. Pasture cash rent averaged $56 per acre, with low third quality at $45 and high third quality at $71 per acre. The full report and a three-year cash rent rate summary table is on my website under the “Bottom Line” tab on the main toolbar at croptechcafe.org.
The 2022 Nebraska Farm Custom Rates Report (cap.unl.edu/customrates) is 26 pages and uses the same USDA Agricultural Statistics Districts for summarizing survey results. The number of custom operators reporting is included along with the average rate, common rate, and range of rates by each of the machine operations, services, or rentals. For the Southeast Ag District, 6 customer operators responded to the survey for mowing hay rate per acre with the average rate at $15.33 per acre, most common rate at $15 per acre and range of $10 to $18 per acre. For large round baling with net wrap, 19 custom operators responded with the average rate per bale at $15.11, the most common rate at $15, and a range of $10 to $20 per bale. Again, this custom rate survey report provides a great starting point for discussing a reasonable custom rate between two parties. You can view the 2022 custom rate survey results from University of Nebraska Extension and Kansas State University on my website at croptechcafe.org under the “Bottom Line” tab on the main toolbar.
For inquiries about other agricultural economic resources from Nebraska Extension, visit our statewide website at cap.unl.edu, email email@example.com or call 402-472-2560. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line at croptechcafe.org.