Will Louisiana Floods Hold Back Grain Exports?

August 24, 2016 05:21 AM
Will Louisiana Floods Hold Back Grain Exports?

Could the deluge that dumped 2.5 feet of water on Louisiana, killing 13 people and damaging 40,000 homes, also slow record grain exports?

Some analysts think it’s a possibility, but even if it happens, some say it probably won’t have much of an impact.

Even though there were no immediate reports of damage to port, widespread flood damage made it difficult for many port employees to report to work during the worst flooding, according to Rich Nelson, chief strategist of Allendale, in McHenry, Ill.

However, while Nelson pointed out that USDA old crop export estimates require record August shipments of corn and soybeans, he noted that a record August shipment by itself is not big compared with the rest of the year.

“USDA may have to cut the old crop export but they will add it to the new crop numbers,” Nelson observed.

Additionally, whether the grain is delayed for a couple of weeks into the new crop year, Sept. 1, makes little difference, because “buyers are not going to cancel it on Aug. 31,” Nelson pointed out.

Rains inundated Louisiana fields of rice and soybeans, damaging the crops, according to the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation. The extent of the damage was still unknown, a spokesman said.

About 50 to 75 percent of the first rice crop harvest was completed, and with rice fields flooded, the second rice crop could be lost, he said. An estimated one million acres of soybeans could be affected, a Louisiana Farm Bureau spokesman said.

Near Houston, cotton producers said the flooding increased the risk of root. Hay producers were also affected by “a substantial amount” of erosion, according to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

At the Port of South Louisiana, although some shipments may have been delayed because of road and rail closures, the port itself had no significant delays, according to spokesman Paul Aucoin.

The Port of New Orleans was undamaged, a spokesman said.  Port of Baton Rouge officials could not be reached for comment on shipping delays.

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