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Extreme low water levels on lower Mississippi River expected to interrupt barge traffic to New Orleans


Delta Dirt
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Mississippi River level projected to fall to the 5.5 ft range here at Greenville, Ms------barge traffic typically shuts down in 6.7 ft range.

We had a barge run aground last week while in the 11 ft range approx 3 miles below me. Closed the river for several days-----had adverse effect on local elevator prices inmediately.

Don't know how far upriver may be effected---------but everyone shipping for export to New Orleans needs to take notice.

 

DD

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2 hours ago, Farmall1066 said:

That’s not good! Especially right at fall harvest!! 
I’ve never understood the river depths, so when it falls to 5.5 feet, is that 5.5 feet of draft for barges? It can’t be only 5.5 feet deep, is it?? 

I should have further explained the gauge readings:

Gauge readings at all locations are just "randomly" set by the Corps of Engineers------each gauge has a known MSL elevation reading @ 0 gauge reading; but has no relevance as to actual River depth other than a reading of 25ft would indicate that the depth was 25 ft deeper than @ 0 ft stage.

Not uncommon to see Memphis @ a -0 reading?

edit:  and 0 is not a common or correlated reading between any of the gauge locations

Different areas of the River are always at different depths-----there is near always ever shifting sand bars developing and then moving downstream from the ever changing currents.

The Corps stays busy dredging on the navigable channel-----but eventually the channel will get narrowed to "one lane" and then to closed.

Reportedly elevators are loading out to only 80% barge capacity to limit the draft effect------already slowing shipments.  Most of our local elevators are full and dumping trucks only in daytime-----loading out barges at night.  Slow go for farmers without grain bins.

I think the barges need approx 8---11 ft draft depth to operate???

Ironically----the old steamboats apparently could operate in shallower water--------but were toting much lighter loads.

Good luck to everyone.

 

DD

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58 minutes ago, Delta Dirt said:

I should have further explained the gauge readings:

Gauge readings at all locations are just "randomly" set by the Corps of Engineers------each gauge has a known MSL elevation reading @ 0 gauge reading; but has no relevance as to actual River depth other than a reading of 25ft would indicate that the depth was 25 ft deeper than @ 0 ft stage.

Not uncommon to see Memphis @ a -0 reading?

edit:  and 0 is not a common or correlated reading between any of the gauge locations

Different areas of the River are always at different depths-----there is near always ever shifting sand bars developing and then moving downstream from the ever changing currents.

The Corps stays busy dredging on the navigable channel-----but eventually the channel will get narrowed to "one lane" and then to closed.

Reportedly elevators are loading out to only 80% barge capacity to limit the draft effect------already slowing shipments.  Most of our local elevators are full and dumping trucks only in daytime-----loading out barges at night.  Slow go for farmers without grain bins.

I think the barges need approx 8---11 ft draft depth to operate???

Ironically----the old steamboats apparently could operate in shallower water--------but were toting much lighter loads.

Good luck to everyone.

 

DD

Anybody know how much water's being held up north?  I don't know anything about it, except that there are quite a few locks and dams up both the Mississippi and Missouri.  Just wonder how low they are upriver.

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Is there a lot of crop farming without bins? Gotta think you would be at the mercy of the markets having to sell immediately?

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Few farmers round here have Ben's. Most everything is sold as it's harvested.

There were paddle wheel riverboats that used to run up here with a draft of 18 inches.

They claimed to be able to float on a heavy dew but talk is cheap!

The Arkansas River was either flood or pool and drop in my area before the locks and dams were installed. 

Thx-Ace 

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7 hours ago, hardtail said:

Is there a lot of crop farming without bins? Gotta think you would be at the mercy of the markets having to sell immediately?

Yes, there are many farms, not so much in my area, but many farms a majority of their crop hits an elevator in the fall.  Maybe they store it at the elevator, but if that’s the case, even their storage is no longer available.

Bins are a very expensive thing to put up, but in our case, we have about 180,000 bushels of storage on our farm.  Mainly because we are busy hauling everyone else’s grain in the fall, we don’t have time for our own.  So we need the bins! Plus on years where it’s dry and barge traffic isn’t full to capacity, or the river is high and they can’t load barges, we get to stay home and harvest our own. 

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update:

 

Saturday----October 1st

MISSISSIPPI RIVER barge traffic is CLOSED south of Greenville, Ms

 

near all time low River levels being experienced--------loaded barges are sitting aground at and near Greenville

main elevators @ Greenville closed-------no barges available

Major impact on grain exports to New Orleans.

 

Not much said "YET"??-------but this lack of barge movement could very easily could effect fuel/gasoline deliveries moving upstream????

The Mississippi River (near all rivers) play a much more important role than drainage-------also are major transportation arteries for the entire country!!!!

 

 

DD

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My fuel comes up from Texas in pipelines. One going to little rock crosses my place.

Didn't know they hauled much fuel on barges.

Lots of grain and fertilizer here. They used to haul coal and timber but i haven't seen any in years.

I'm sure they haul other stuff too. 

 

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ACE----

Yep-----we've got pipelines crossing River right here and crossing our place;  but still lots of fuel shipped by the River.

 

Rumor has it that there may still be some "moonshine" moving out there--------most likely from on up the Arkansas River though from what I understand????:ph34r:;):P

 

Low River or High River--------the Mississippi Basin is far reaching.

188680773_mississippi_watershed_map_1.jpg.39093b564da6ffbda79816bf565730c2(1).jpg.cb4e5a9784f62f8ee3a01deaf4a40750.jpg

Let's hope for the best.

 

DD

 

 

 

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I know that fuel is hauled out of the refinery at Woodriver, Illinois just north of St. Louis, Mo. Not sure where it goes from there, but heads south. Coal barges leave loaded from Chester, Illinois. Besides the 8-10 grain loading facilities, several rock quarries, and fertilizer unloading facilities.

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A lot of that all begins in the Missouri River watershed, if the Missouri River runoff is low, the Mississippi River suffers the most from it. If the snowpack in Montana is below normal after winter....the rest of the river system will generally have below normal runoff for the rest of that calendar year. 

The Missouri River runoff has been below normal for going on 3 years now. It was only a matter of time before that was going to show up in the Mississippi River system.

Its amazing how an event from far, far away can have consequences elsewhere in this world, but it often does. 

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Doing a little quick looking here.....it looks like the runoff from the Missouri River basin in 2021 was 59% of normal....and this year hasn't been much better with numbers ranging anywhere from 69 to 78% of normal, depending on the source. Not good for Mississippi barge traffic

https://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/Article/2890654/dry-conditions-expected-to-persist-for-the-missouri-river-basin/

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The Missouri is the longest river but does not have the highest flow into the Mississippi. I understand the Ohio and Arkansas flow more even though they are shorter.

The Image below shows the capacities of the major rivers of the Mississippi River.

flow-capacity-for-the-mississippi-river.500x0.png

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Driving to the farm yesterday, go over the local 'creek', It's about 10 feet wide usually. Dry, only seen that one other time, don't remember what year though. It was dry here this year, didn't think it was that dry!

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15 minutes ago, acem said:

 I understand the Ohio and Arkansas flow more even though they are shorter.

 

That's very true.... much of the Missouri River's basin is in traditionally dry country. We average 20" of rainfall per year, it gets less further north & west of us as you follow the Missouri upstream. The Ohio and Arkansas Rivers are in much wetter climates.

However, the Missouri basin probably has greater fluctuations...that why they put 6 big dams along the Missouri River shortly after WWII. Now the politicians and lawyers try to play God with the US Army Corps of Engineers over which way the water behind those dams gets used.

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It will be interesting to see how much this affects grain prices in my area.  Local demand is so much larger than it was say 20 years ago, it has to be a much smaller portion that now goes to barges.  There is still grain shipped on rail, but even that is lower than it used to be as demand from ethanol plants and feed mills has really blown up.

It's always looked to me like the Mississippi dumps into the Ohio, not the other way around.

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A "cure all" for ALL that ails California, but, the "pure, and pristine water" from the Mississippi, IS grossly polluted by the fertilizer and pesticides that run off into it (Once again, agriculture gets the blame)

This water will also benefit the solar farms.

There is also another 'plan' that would empty the dams in the states that have existing water shortages, to make room for the excess water coming out of the Mississippi, during flooding situations.

A whole page of these STUPID videos from UBoob.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=plan+to+move+water+to+california

 

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Hum. They propose diverting in ne Arkansas and crossing north Arkansas in their map. I don't think they have looked at the terrain in the ozark mountains. 

They are just blowing smoke up their own donkies!

Thx-Ace 

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