In the US, there is now more dry farmland than there has ever been on record, according to Dan Basse, and he explained that this is affecting the Mississippi River, which is at a negative level.
The economist, who was speaking at the Barnett-Hall conference last week, described the Mississippi as the artery of America’s agriculture - grain goes down the river and fertilisers go back up the river.
However, it now has to be dredged to let water flow in a corridor to allow travel down the river. Tows are reportedly hitting sandbars in the river and being disconnected from barges which carry goods.
Rates have sky-rocketed
“It now costs twice as much to get a bushel or a metric tonne of soybeans from Chicago down to New Orleans as it does to get it from New Orleans to China. Barge rates have sky-rocketed,” he commented.
He added that it will take weeks if not months of normal rain to get the river going again and that this will not help US exports, because transport is costing so much that grain is being piled on the roads and this could eventually lead to a drop in grain price.