Low Mississippi River may take money out of your pocket

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Lower water levels along the United States’ major inland river system affects food and feed costs which can add to the cost of many commodities already magnified by months of drought.

Low water levels in a major shipping corridor between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois has threatened to upset barge traffic since December. National Geographic reports Mississippi River water levels can drop about three feet from December to March as extra feed from the Missouri River is cut off when that river's navigation season ends, but levels are even lower as rain and ice melt have failed to refill reservoirs.

For every six inches of depth the river loses, barges have to subtract about a hundred tons of capacity. National Geographic reports barges may sink as much as four feet less than usual to avoid bottoming out. The low water levels mean barges carrying corn, soybeans and crude oil are carrying lighter loads, and using more fuel to do so. Midwest farmers along the river are paying a dollar more to ship each bushel of crops than are farmers on the lower Mississippi.

Reuters reports between 55 and 65 percent of all U.S. grain and soybean exports are transported to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Mississippi River.

The costs add up as farmers are paying more for gas to fill equipment and grains to feed livestock. Those costs end up moving along the chain to consumers.

River issues were further complicated this week when a backup caused by a barge accident and oil spill decreased grain loads travelling along the river.

The closure has not yet made a major impact on grain exports.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

1325 Bushel Grain Cart

Equipped with a 22” computer balanced auger with 5/16” flighting,the unloading speed is 50% faster than smaller grain carts with ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form