Backed Up on the Mississippi

Low water levels back up barge traffic on Mississippi, slowing soybean, fertilizer and crop transport.

Published on: Aug 27, 2012

Rice is showing strong yields – 180-200 bushels an acre in his counties, Goodson said

However, "the big crop is corn. There are many saying they're harvesting more than 220 bushels per acre," he said. "It's too early to have a good estimate of a county average, but I'm starting to think the number will be 180-185 bushels an acre. That's 20 to 25 bushels above the five-year average."

There's an additional bonus for early harvest: Labor Day weekend off.

"Several producers will have corn and soybeans and their fields worked up by the end of August," said Gus Wilson, Chicot County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. "It's just unreal."

Wilson said that by the end of the week, he expected corn to be 80-90 percent and soybeans to be 15 percent harvested in his county.

Fertilizer on the slow track

The slowed barge traffic is becoming a factor in the fertilizer markets, Stiles said.

"There is no shortage of urea, it's just in the wrong place," he said. "Low river levels have caused problems getting fertilizer moved upriver from the Gulf.

"If river levels remain low, this will certainly add transportation cost as rail or truck will be the only alternatives," Stiles said. "This will be an issue to watch, particularly for growers wanting to make fall nitrogen applications or top dress wheat this winter."

SOURCE: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.