The 2012 drought made it a challenge to get P and K into position for fall and spring application. As the Mississippi River water level drops, some rock formations are now much closer to the surface. That means barge traffic between Cairo, Ill. and St. Louis has moved more slowly than normal during the last quarter of 2012.

“We have experienced extended transit times,” explains Rob Plosz, senior director supply chain for the Mosaic Company, a major supplier of P and K. “It has sometimes taken 10 days longer to get from point A to point B” on the river.

“Things change every day, Plosz says. “We have light-loaded barges and switched to rail from barges to be safe, in some cases. We are mindful of getting product into position.”

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moved up the timeline to begin removing the rocks from February to December, the project won’t be completed until sometime during the winter.