Pasture, cropland rental rates dropping

    What does it cost to rent pasture or cropland this year?  
    Every year I get those questions. Preliminary results from the Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey (UNL) were just released and give guidance for current rental rates.
    Also, a survey of Red Willow and Hitchcock County rental rates was just completed. This article will cover both surveys and cropland and pasture rental rates.
    Cropland rental rates are of great interest this year by  both land owners and tenants.
    Cropland rental rates declined this year in southwest Nebraska by 5 to 11 percent.
    For instance, dryland cropland averaged $40 per acre with a range of $59 to $27 which was down 5 percent.
    Pivot irrigated cropland averaged $200 per acre with a range of $255 to $188 which is 11 percent less than last year.
    The Red Willow/Hitchcock County survey that I conducted early this year has results very similar to the UNL survey. Pivot irrigated cropland averaged $191 per acre, dryland $55 per acre and pasture $20 per acre.
    Pasture and cropland rent varies for many reasons. Quality of the grassland or cropland, location of the pasture, fence, water, how much water wells produce for irrigation and management responsibilities, as well as tradition, individual relationships and local demand all influence rates.
    According to the UNL survey, the average monthly rent being paid to graze a cow-calf pair this season is lowest in the west, the Panhandle, at just over $35 per month.  
    The highest average rate is in the northern district at a little more than $61 per month.  
    All other districts are around $50 per pair per month, plus or minus $5.  
    Projecting these rates over a five-month grazing period, it will cost an average of $175 to $300 to graze a cow-calf pair for the summer.
    The Red Willow rental rate survey showed that rates are similar there, $48.88 per pair per month. The cost to graze a pair in Red Willow and Hitchcock Counties for the grazing season would average $244.40.

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