Farm equipment costs have gone up in recent years

There’s more evidence of just how quickly farm equipment costs have escalated.

 Manitoba Agriculture updates its Farm Machinery Guide every two years. To come up with custom and rental rates for equipment, they need the new price values of all the various pieces of equipment. A new Farm Machinery Guide has just been generated with much more detail than past editions. The Farm Management Specialists working on the guide note a much faster rate of price increase than for previous editions. 

Over the two years since the last guide, medium-sized front wheel assist tractors are up by 35 per cent. The price of large four-wheel drive tractors is up 28 per cent with Class 9 combines up by 27 per cent. Large seed drills with independent openers are up 62 per cent from two years ago. 

However, some of that increase can be attributed to ever larger and more complex seed carts. Options on equipment can greatly add to the cost. The resulting custom and rental rates in the guide are highly dependent on hours of use and field efficiency. 

The guide is meant as a tool to help set rates from neighbour to neighbour or within a family working together. It’s a cost-based calculation and may not reflect the rates for those who do custom work as a business. The Farm Machinery Guide is available on the Manitoba Agriculture website. In January, printed editions will be available at Manitoba Agriculture service centres and trade show like Ag Days. 

Meanwhile, a market analyst with the Alberta government has examined basic shop charges for repairs to farm equipment by a qualified mechanic. In the last five years, the average annual increase has been 4.1 per cent. This year from January to the end of October, the increase for 2023 stands at 7.5 per cent, the highest spike in a decade. Shop rates in the Alberta analysis are now above $160 an hour. 

A shortage of skilled labour, increased wages, inflation, interest rates, utility prices and lease costs have all contributed.

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