Low Mississippi River Levels Causing Crop Basis to Fall
“It's bad. It's really bad. From September the 15th. To the end of September, the basis on soybeans went from maybe a positive five to 10 cents now to at one point in time, 10 days ago was negative $1. So and that was just because of barge freight, and they were having to change it daily, because barge freight was changing daily. For instance, I'm wanting to apply lime to my fields, through soil test. There are three barges sitting at the facility at the port that they can't get to the unloading spout. They've been trying to do that for two weeks. So it's basically a train wreck down here right now with the river.”
Almost 60% of the Midwest grain harvest moves down the Mississippi River system to the US Gulf region for export. According to the Agricultural Marketing Services, grain transportation report, draft and tow restrictions have been placed on barges similar to what happened in the fall of 2022.
“Last year we got in this same scenario prior to last year. I've never even seen this happen. I mean, occasionally maybe once every 10 or 15 years but the last two years it's been pretty tough.”
The most severe shipping restrictions are on the lower Mississippi River and the Ohio River in Illinois.