CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — The Mississippi River water levels are low. The river is the second-longest river in America, and the Illinois River feeds into it.
Alan Knobloch with agricultural company Akron Services said the low water levels cause the barge freight rates for soybeans to rise because barges cannot be packed as full since they have to be out of the water due to low water levels. The merchandising manager said normally the barge freight rate is 70 cents a bushel.
“Right now barge freight is trading at 2,000 percent of tariff. So that is $2.80 a bushel to get a bushel of beans from Creve Coeur, Illinois down to the New Orleans Gulf,” said Knobloch.
The soybeans are harvested for foreign exports shipping to countries like Japan, China and Saudi Arabia for consumption and livestock feed. The increase in barge freight rate does not impact the average consumer.
“So what you’re seeing now with barge freight is not necessarily going to do anything to the consumer as far as retail values in the store. It’s more of a situation, a farm situation, where the farmer is not receiving as much for his product,” Knobloch said.
Knobloch said a farmer will not stop harvesting because of a high barge freight rate. Sean Duffy, Sr, executive director of Big River Coalition in Louisiana, said the water levels are projected to continue going down.
“The gauges are very low and are expected to peak out the next couple of days and start to fall,” said Duffy.
Knobloch said even with the high barge freight rate, financially the farmers will do well this season.