ST. LOUIS – The Mississippi River levels are low, which raises concerns for river-related businesses, farmers, and Missouri and Illinois residents.

Collinsville resident Ken Cook was gawking at the Mississippi River in St. Louis Tuesday night. He said he could not believe how low the river level was.  

“I’d hate to be a pilot on a tugboat right now,” he said.   

Barges have been able to operate through St. Louis, but there have been some river closures further south near Tennessee and Mississippi.  

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“We need rain badly,” said Mark Mestemacher, Ceres Barge Line partner.  

Mestemacher has been in the barge business since 1979. 

“The river levels are so important for the river industry, for the grain industry, and for the farming industry as well,” he said. 

The low river levels have resulted in barges not being filled to normal capacity.  

“Right now, we’re loading 1,500 to 1,600 tons on a barge versus normally loading 2,200 to 2,300 tons on a barge,” Mestemacher said.  

The result is more barges are needed. Economists said those added supply chain costs contribute to inflation.  

To find more information on Mississippi River levels in St. Louis, click here.