Mississippi River levels continue to drop due to drought

The Mississippi River water level has seen a significant and consistent drop due to the recent...
The Mississippi River water level has seen a significant and consistent drop due to the recent drought-like conditions.(KAIT)
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 4:30 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The problems continue for the Mississippi River as levels continue to drop significantly.

According to Talk Business and Politics, the barge rates near Memphis have significantly increased during August, but have yet to catch up for October 2022.

Hunter Biram, the extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the problems will continue with no rainfall.

“Current weather forecasts look dry, and without sufficient rainfall, barge freight rates may increase similar to last year, causing another situation in which commodity basis drops,” said Biram.

While the drought conditions have dried up the river’s tributary system throughout the upper and lower Delta regions, the levels are still expected to worsen.

“As river levels continue to drop and barge freight prices increase, the 2023 basis has started to widen again in the districts bordering the Mississippi,” said Grant Gardner, assistant extension professor at the University of Kentucky. “The impacts vary drastically by region; however, as of Sept. 12, the average weekly basis is between 3 and 21 cents under the five-year average.”

With weather predictions still in the 90s, James Mitchell, an extension economist for the Division of Agriculture, said that if the river levels do not improve, some producers could suffer a heavy loss.

“If the basis continues to drop, hedging producers will likely experience prices below their expected price, which could have huge implications on farm profitability and cash flow Southern producers bordering the Mississippi River,” Mitchell explained.

You can read more about this on Talk Business and Politic’s website.