How do these agri contracting ‘prices’ shape up?

Earlier today, we brought you news that the FCI (The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland) is believed to be compiling an ‘agricultural contracting charges (prices) guide’.

Also Read: Contracting body set to publish national charge-out rates ‘guide’?

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, including: baling and bale handling; cultivations; drilling/sowing operations; seed cleaning; complete cultivation work; fertiliser application; spraying; combine harvesting; beet harvesting; hedge-cutting; silage and willow harvesting; zero-grazing; slurry and muck spreading; as well as plant and tractor hire.

Rate/hour for slurry spreading

A slurry spreading ‘guide’ rate of €40/hour (plus VAT) for a 1,500-gallon tanker has been proposed at meetings.

This would rise to €60/hour for a 2,500-gallon tanker; or €80/hour for a 3,000-gallon unit.

Image source: Shane Casey

The suggested ‘guide’ rate for a 2,500-gallon tanker with a trailing shoe is €80/hour (plus VAT). A figure has also been considered for spreading with an umbilical system.

Image source: Shane Casey

The talked-about set-up rate (to include laying of pipes, etc) is apparently €100/hour (plus VAT). For ‘pumping/spreading’, this would rise to €140/hour.

A rate of €80/hour has been pitched for slurry agitation.

Muck spreading charges

Prices (or charge-out rates) for muck loading and spreading have also been the subject of discussion.

The proposed ‘guide’ rate for spreading muck with a flail-type machine is €40/hour (plus VAT). This would rise to €60/hour where a 10t spreader is used; or €80/hour for a 14t unit.

Image source: Shane Casey

A combined rate – of €120/hour – has been referenced for loading and spreading (where a 10t spreader is used). This rises to €140/hour for a 14t machine (i.e. a rear-discharge or ‘dual’ spreader).

The ‘draft’ price for loading muck with a wheeled loader is €60/hour (plus VAT).

Difficult task

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, tonnes, 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.

Image source: Shane Casey

Further complicating the picture is the fact that some contractors will have specific arrangements with some farmers – with regard to use of a farmer’s (rather than the contractor’s) fuel, for example.

In any case, compiling such a ‘guide’ is a difficult task. Some farming organisations will inevitably argue that suggested ‘guide’ prices for some jobs are too high. Contractors, on the other hand, will be keen to ensure that ‘guide’ prices are sustainable and feasible – to cover costs and generate a margin.