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Grain piles up as drought-lowered Mississippi River slows barges

August 14, 2012

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. – Drought has laid Old Man River low, strangling Mississippi barge traffic and raising the potential for storage problems for Arkansas grain whose harvest has begun early.

OUTSIDE — Harvested grain piled up outside an elevator dwarfs a truck in this photo taken Aug. 14, 2012, in Phillips County, Ark. Distortion is caused by heat shimmer. (U of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture photo by Robert Goodson)

“The main issue over here is the low river,” said Robert Goodson, an extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture for both Phillips and Lee counties. “Barges are only being loaded 70 to 75 percent.

“As long as the Mississippi River stays low, storage may be an issue,” he said Tuesday. In some cases where the storage bins are filled because outgoing grain is slowed, elevators are having to pile the grain on the ground.

“There’s a potential that some 1 to 1.2 million bushels will be stored on the ground” if the slow outflow of grain continues, Goodson said. READ MORE …

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