Contractor rates: Are these 2018 silage ‘guide prices’ on the button?

Over recent weeks, we brought you news that the FCI (The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland) is currently compiling an ‘agricultural contracting charges (prices) guide’.

Also Read: How do these agri contracting ‘prices’ shape up?

It is believed that the association is intending to publish the list of prices as a “guide” and not a recommended price listing.

Figures are currently under discussion for a range of contractor services. As well as tillage operations, other services up for debate include: baling and bale handling; fertiliser application; spraying; hedge-cutting; slurry and muck spreading; as well as plant and tractor hire.

In this article, we focus on the ‘guide prices’ for (pit) silage harvesting.

Image source: Shane Casey

While this ‘job’ is far from some people’s minds at the moment – with much of the country grappling with bad weather – it’s worth taking a look nonetheless; given that a major contractors’ association looks set to publish an official, comprehensive ‘guide’ in the very near future.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the 2018 ‘silage campaign’ is just a couple of months away.

Precision-chop silage: Rate/ac

The proposed ‘guide’ rate for precision-chop silage harvesting (the complete job – from mowing to rolling the pit) is €110/ac (plus VAT). An additional charge would be anticipated in the case of a long draw.

Image source: Shane Casey

Silage harvesting using pick-up wagons (which tend to produce a longer chop-length than precision-chop harvesters) is ‘guided’ at a rate of is €100/ac (plus VAT).

Image source: Shane Casey

The lower charge presumably reflects the longer (and slightly more uneven) chop-length of the resultant silage from such machines.

Mowing (using a mower-conditioner) is ‘guiding’ at €20/ac (plus VAT).

Image source: Shane Casey

The ‘price’ for tedding is reckoned to be half that – at a rate of €10/ac (plus VAT). The same €10/ac rate applies to raking (rowing up).

Image source: Shane Casey

The talked-about ‘guide’ rate for maize harvesting (the complete job – including rolling the pit) for 2018 is €140/ac (plus VAT).

Image source: Shane Casey

The contractor ‘price’ for harvesting whole-crop silage (again; the complete job) is guiding at €120/ac (plus VAT) for this year’s forthcoming season.

Image source: Shane Casey

Meanwhile, willow harvesting (the complete job) is being ‘guided’ at €180/ac (plus VAT). An additional charge would come into play for long draws, though what exactly constitutes a ‘long draw’?

Factors at play

The aforementioned ‘prices’ are believed to be average, guide-line prices – surveyed from FCI members. They may also change before the ‘guide’ is finally agreed by the membership.

Of course, prices can vary considerably – depending on any number of factors. Such factors might include the actual equipment used, the size of the job undertaken (number of acres, etc) or the distance travelled by the contractor to get to the job.

In all cases, they are apparently based on a (green) diesel price of 70c/L.