Figuring Field Operation Costs Using the Agricultural Budget Calculator Program

Combine harvesting corn field
The Agricultural Budget Calculator is a free tool to help producers figure machinery field operation and ownership costs. For more, visit the ABC website. (CAP photo)

Figuring Field Operation Costs Using the Agricultural Budget Calculator Program

The Agricultural Budget Calculator (ABC) Program is a resource to figure machinery field operation and ownership costs. Many producers and/or custom operators utilize these figures in making decisions on machinery and equipment upgrades and how a change might affect their cost of production. In the case of custom operations, figuring field operation costs is important in figuring their rates and what to charge for their services. This Center for Agricultural Profitability article provides a couple of examples of field operation cost calculations that can be generated from the ABC program. The examples include a look at field operation costs for newer equipment (power unit and implement) that is three years or less in age, versus slightly older equipment of similar size and power. The examples used are to determine costs for planting row crops.

Examples provided are estimated costs for a newer model tractor (2019) and planter (2022) and then slightly older models of equipment, a 2014 tractor with a 2015 model planter. Information entered into the ABC program to figure operation and ownership costs for the power units include purchase and list prices, power unit size, fuel efficiency, and estimated hours of usage per year. Similar figures are needed to figure the implement costs except for fuel efficiency and hours of usage, instead, implement coverage rate (acres covered per hour of usage) is needed. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers standard formulas are programmed into ABC to assist with calculating salvage value, repairs, and estimating fuel usage.

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A field of corn.