The worry of a fertilizer shortage has already begun. An increasing number of crude cars on the tracks and a harsh winter have the railways backlogged. And barge traffic has been moving slow on the Mississippi River. Ag Reporter Sarah Gustin has the story.
The spring rush is on.
These are the first passes of the season for spreading fertilizer on crop land for Missouri Valley Ag in Sterling.(Kyle Westgard / Missouri Valley Ag) "I don't think a lot of fertilizer throughout the winter. We are slowly getting filled up here. later on this spring things will get tight, but for now we are sitting ok. " Kyle Westgard says fertilizer has been slow moving all winter.(Kyle Westgard / Missouri Valley Ag) "The rail was an issue all winter, I think they were hauling mostly oil. I think the barges just got up to St. Paul now. with the cold winter and all the ice on the water, I think they were a few weeks behind too." (Joe Brincks / Alliance Ag) "We've had a half a dozen calls at 7 am. Everybody with the ground ebignand wetland and now drying out. We have a a backlog of three thousand acres right now, in just this morning." Business is also heating up at Alliance Ag in Bismarck. Location manager Joe Brincks says the company has been busy securing fertilizer tons for both customers who have prepaid and those buying in season. He says the additional tons were purchased early and close to home-- from South Dakota and Minnesota. Giving them the ability to rely on truck versus rail.(Joe Brincks / Alliance Ag) "I do have as of this morning 5 rail cars in Max, which should be here in the next couple days. Once they Dakota North Dakota, they get here. It's just getting them here." Transportation issues are also impacting price. The urea price has jumped more than 200 dollars a ton in the last four months.
BNSF Rail committed to deliver 52 trainloads of fertilizer across the Upper Midwest in the next six weeks so farmers will be able to plant crops. BNSF plans to add 110 "jumbo hopper cars" to its fleet which would increase the amount carried on trains.
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