When it comes to the fertilizer industry, many of us are all eyes on the markets; but there are logistical concerns we need to be watching out for to ensure that fertilizer is actually able to get to the farm.
Josh Linville of StoneX says the biggest concern right now, and what he thinks we all should be watching, is a lack of snowpack on the rivers — which downstream will especially affect western Canada.
“We have some snow in north Missouri and places like that, but widespread, we don’t have a tremendous amount of snow out there. That scares me from a river standpoint. The river is the single most important transit out there, and if we don’t catch snow, and we don’t catch rain, all of a sudden the closer we get to spring, the lower the water levels get.”
The lower the river levels get, the more travel restrictions could start to fall into place, such as lower quantities moved, and potentially only daytime transit, explains Linville. If that river system starts to struggle, the entire Midwest and Canadian market will struggle alongside, as the Canadian market relies mostly on shipments up through the U.S.
“I used to think a lot more fertilizer would come up through the east and west coast ports through Canada, but it doesn’t appear that’s what happens. A lot of it moves up through the Mississippi River [after] being loaded on a unit train and shipped northbound,” he says.