What’s the contractor charge-out rate for combine harvesting?

The ‘guide’ contractor rate for combine harvesting (of cereals and oilseed rape) for 2019 is €52/ac (plus VAT). This rises to €58/ac, where a chopper is used (on the rear of the combine).

That’s according to the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI); the data is from its annual ‘Contracting Charges Guide’.

Image source: Shane Casey

The ‘guide’ contractor rate for grain haulage (up to 15km from the field where the combine harvester is working) is quoted on a per-tonne basis. That figure is €5/t (plus VAT) for 2019.

The association’s membership has also been considering rates for beet harvesting. Since the demise of the sugar beet industry here – many moons ago – there certainly aren’t as many contractors operating in this sphere nowadays.

Image source: Shane Casey

Nonetheless, some contractors are still involved in lifting fodder beet each year. The ‘guide’ rate for 2019 is €130/ac (plus VAT) – a figure that reflects the relatively slow, time-consuming nature of this work.

The aforementioned ‘prices’ are believed to be average, guide-line prices – surveyed from FCI members.

Of course, prices can vary considerably – depending on any number of factors. Such factors might include the size of the job undertaken (number of acres, etc) or the distance travelled by the contractor to get to the job. When compiled earlier this year, they were apparently based on a (green) diesel price of 70c/L.

Tractor cost

Speaking to AgriLand on another occasion, Michael Moroney – the FCI’s chief executive officer – urged contractors to be mindful of the costs involved in running tractors and equipment.

He explained: “A basic analysis shows that a modern 120hp tractor will require a minimum rate of €50 per hour to cover operating and labour costs, irrespective of the work done.

Image source: Shane Casey

“80% of that hourly cost is accounted for by labour and diesel costs, with just 10% allocated to depreciation, finance and repair costs – leaving a very tight operating margin.”