shipping

Agriculture/Harvest Public Media
8:01 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Low Mississippi River levels could leave farmers in fertilizer crunch

A backhoe places a cover on a barge near Cape Girardeau, Mo. The backhoe had just finished removing fertilizer that was shipped up the river from New Orleans.
Credit Jacob McCleland

Southbound barges on the Mississippi River carry grain destined for world markets. Those barges regularly pass northbound tows with thousands of tons of fertilizer heading to Midwestern ports and, later, to farmers’ fields.

But this year’s drought is adding an element of uncertainty to those shipping patterns, as Mississippi River levels reach record lows. Water levels have fertilizer shippers scrambling to get their product to market before low water dries up their most important shipping route.

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