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Making the Combine Purchase Decision

Buy your own or go custom? That's a question this spreadsheet helps answer.

Published on: Nov 8, 2013

Combines may be the most expensive of all the machines used on many farms, and are used for fewer days than much of the machinery inventory. There is an active custom harvest industry that offers farmers another option for getting the work done instead of combine ownership. This big decision needs to be made with full information and consideration of all the costs associated with each option. This spreadsheet developed by William Edwards at Iowa State University helps put combine purchase decision down in a per acre number that is easy to evaluate.

Custom combine operators charge a set fee and the number of acres, cost of a combine, and length of ownership will all factor into the decision making process. This spreadsheet helps evaluate these critical factors that go into making a very large machinery purchase decision. Knowing the cost of using a custom combine operator and potential cost of owning and operating a combine can make this big decision easier.

CUSTOM OR NOT: New spreadsheet helps answer a challenging business question.
CUSTOM OR NOT: New spreadsheet helps answer a challenging business question.

We're featuring the spreadsheet as our Farm Futures Spreadsheet of the Month. The 105-kilobyte spreadsheet should work with Excel 2000, 2002, 2010 or Excel XP. You can download it by clicking on the download link below.

Do you have a spreadsheet that's made a difference on your operation that you'd be willing to share with other readers? Drop us a line at with a description of the spreadsheet. We'll pay $75 if we feature your farmer-written noncommercial program as our Spreadsheet of the Month.

Download file: combine-decision-tool.xls
Size: 107.52 KB (Kilobytes)
Created: 11/08/2013 05:34 AM
Last Modified: 11/08/2013 05:34 AM
Click here to download this file.