Corn is coming off the ground for silage. Winter wheat is starting to go into the ground. And custom operators’ phones are ringing off the hook. Ray Liska is the president of Wisconsin Custom Operators. He’s a custom operator himself working around Hillsboro. He says the cost of business has gone up due to fuel and equipment, but independent operators are working to at least keep prices level across the board. Harvest is the most important time of year for farmers, and Liska is proud to say Wisconsin Custom Operators has the skilled operators to tackle this year’s demand. He says demand has only been growing as farming operations expand but don’t have enough labor.
Custom operator’s cover a range of jobs on many farms. They take on everything from manure hauling and harvesting to planting and application of pesticides. Ray says that the bulk of the members of the Wisconsin Custom Operators, are helping area farmers to harvest their crops and spread their manure.
Weather isn’t the only issue that farmers and operators face. Tight schedules, and higher operating costs also factor in. Needed parts and even equipment have been difficult to find at times. New equipment purchases being put off could have lasting effects with crews running older equipment with fewer available parts in future seasons.
Ray says that demand for custom operators continues to increase. Many farms have turned to working with custom operators to help manage larger tracts of land and ease labor and equipment needs. He also asks that people keep safety top of mind this year as more equipment is on the road this fall.