Our road, bridge, rail and river transport infrastructure is failing. In fact, these soybean-export lifelines received a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Weak links to export channels reduce farm profits and U.S. soy’s competitive advantage.

Today’s $560 million worth of backlogged lock and dam repairs add up to a brewing perfect storm for existing roads and rails unable to handle increased volume from a closed waterway or weak infrastructure, according to new Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) infrastructure studies.

One vital bridge or lock collapse during peak season would be a house of cards, as roads and bridges buckle under resulting bottlenecks, according to a new Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) infrastructure study (see www.ilsoy.org/isa/transportationkey-transportation-research and http://bit.ly/TransportationSoy.)

Consider: If the LaGrange, Ill., lock on the Illinois  River fails/closes for 90 days during peak soybean harvest movement, 341 barge loads would be diverted as 21,000 truck loads or 5,200 rail carloads, the study finds.

In order to reach Illinois’ goal of utilizing 600 million bushels soybeans by 2020, production needs to increase approximately 30%, but our infrastructure may not support it, says Ron Kindred, Atlanta, Ill., ISA director. (This is a 29% increase over the 466 million bu. in 2011.)