Grain barges in a shallow river

Minimal Rainfall Impacts River Dynamics During Big River Harvest Season

During the last three weeks, the Big River Rice & Grain service area has experienced minimal rainfall forcing the dynamics on the Mississippi River to slow down. Normally, barges can travel throughout the river with a load size and speed that are both efficient and cost-effective. Due to the low water levels, barges have been forced to reduce the amount of grain they transport by one-third. The smaller load sizes combined with slower travel times and a reduced number of total barges transporting grain have forced the price of transportation to quadruple.

This unexpected circumstance increases the risk for producers due to the potential for higher expenses, lost time out in the field harvesting, and not being able to store or sell product that is harvested. Big River used this as an opportunity to provide service to producers by creating merchandising strategies that minimized the pricing risk, by keeping wait times short and dump times fast, and by storing and piling extra grain so that it could get out of the fields and into a marketable positon. Justin Towery, Vice President of Merchandising, said, “We were willing to take on the risk for producers and to provide a way for them to get their crop out of the field. Because of our unique network of facilities, we were able to accommodate producers where some competitors were not, and we hope that brings value to our relationships.”

Towery forecasts the river levels to return to their normal state within the next seven to ten days, although it is possible that Big River and its area producers will be feeling the effects of the river dynamics until the end of the year. During this time, Big River will continue to provide risk-minimizing, cost-effective and efficient service to our producers.

To learn more about the service Big River provides and what we can do for you, visit our website and locations: