These and other potential bottlenecks worry Larry Hasheider
, who farms near Okawville, Illinois, about 40 miles east of St. Louis and the Mississippi River.
Hasheider's farm is only 2 miles from an elevator that ships corn to southeastern livestock markets on unit trains.
Still, transportation problems on the Mississippi River affect him, too.
"If the rail didn't have to compete with the river, I'd have a lower price, too," says Hasheider, who is chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.
"Whenever the river backs off, the rail backs off."
"If that had been a lock failure, that's what would have been a real-world event to farmers," Hasheider
"It's one thing to have 45¢ on $7 corn and another thing to have a 45¢ lower basis on $4 corn."
Commodity groups and checkoffs have been working for years to get Depression-era locks and dams repaired and modernized - with only mixed success.
After last year's short crop and this year's drought-shrunken carryover, the transportation system seems ready to revert to more normal patterns.
Last year's Mississippi River delays prompted farmers to store corn or sell to buyers other than river terminals.
and other farm leaders worry about the effect of a lock failure.