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Hello all! I need some advice regarding contract field work. We have had an opportunity arise that we are very interested in, but have no idea how to go about pricing. They want an exact quote on the project. The main project is renovating an acre and a half field. We are going to go take a look to ensure no stumps or such, though we know it was a plowed field until at least 25 years ago, and then just received an occasional mowing since. The idea is to plow, disc, and harrow to prep it for reseeding and conversion to grazing pasture. The owner doesn’t want heavy equipment of any type, only horsepower. We are willing and able, and have the equipment, but just have no idea how to price it out. I know a team in good condition can statistically be expected to do up to 2 acres of plowing per day. By the time we do this project, I would say my team will be in moderate condition. I have never done more than MAYBE 1/2 acre in a day of plowing or discing. We just don’t do a ton of it, just random projects here and there. The trip itself is a pretty good haul (about an hour one way), so we are debating hauling the horses back and forth, setting up a temp fence and leaving the horses on the property and possibly even camping out there for the project. I just can’t see working my team more than about 6 hours a day due to their conditioning, and I dont really care to sit around the other 18 hours not being paid for my time off my farm. How on earth do you work a project like this? Thanks in advance!

Klaus Karbaumer says 2018-07-16 21:49:11 (CST)

First of all, Danielle, it is a compliment to your good reputation that you got this offer. It also speaks to your wisdom that you do not jump onto the opportunity without seeking some advice. The easiest answer is the pricing, two horses and a teamster together certainly can't be valued at less than $ 80 per hour. I arrive at that number by comparing with custom baling costs. The landowner obviously has a preference for horses, which is great, but that shouldn't have an influence on realistic pricing.
The next consideration is, should you try to do everything at once or should you stretch it over several days. Land that hasn't been worked for many years is much harder to plow than a field, so you have to multiply the number of hours you experienced plowing an acre by at least 3, if you do not want to overstrain your horses. In addition, weather conditions need to be considered, too. Hot weather slows you down, as does very cold weather in winter, not the least also dry ground as well as frozen ground.
I would never in an environment I am not familiar with leave my horses unattended over night! You would have to have assurance that somebody checks on them. Horses have been stolen from pastures even close to their owner's home!
Taken all that into consideration, your real reflection concentrates on how important all that is to you. Also, when you are gone from home, is there work that has to be postponed. In other words, there are opportunity costs which you have to think over. I do believe that sharing your thoughts with the landowner and to see how he responds can help you to make a good decision.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2018-07-18 06:34:18 (CST)

I can not give a pricing for farming, but in my area you get 150 per day for day work if you provide a saddle horse to work cattle with. I charge 40.00/ hour In my fencing business when I’m doing basic fence repair, I provide all equipment. If you charge a hour rate you can charge for driving time one way, lm accustom to a 40 Miles one way mostly on dirt rides to get anywhere. Not to have bunch of down time could you work your horse in two 4 hour hour shifts, example 5 to 9 then rest through the hot part of day then work again 4:30 to 8:30 these are my area good working times. This information is just food for thought hope it might help you good luck.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2018-07-18 22:24:45 (CST)

I don't know your position. I would figure what my team can do in a day, Cut that figure by at least 1/3 Having to haul my team every day to and from. Is there hay on that field that can be cut and baled? is there some trees or rocks that have to be removed? I won't leave my team or horse in a strange place unattended over night, fear of theft or injuries. they want it done with horses they will have to pay a good price or it won't happen if you can't make good money doing the work you don't want the job. We give hay rack rides 2-3 hours we furnish the team and racks $300.00 some pay others don't want us to do it for that price, and that is OK with me I don't care. I would figure if I had to furnish the teams and equipment that it is worth $100.00 per day it is not worth doing anyway for me. I have other work that I can do if I want.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2018-07-19 02:00:10 (CST)

If this is your first time at custom work, you don't have to charge anything if you want to get your name out there. Charge the next time. Last weekend 20 teams showed up to mow a guy's hay field, for fun, and some drove 400 miles. We helped driving 120 miles one way, twice a day for two days, then two days getting the equipment back and forth. 43 acres were cut. Fun time and food.

10 months ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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