WASHINGTON, DC, US — US wheat exports hit a two-decade low, feeling the impact of dropping water levels on the Mississippi River and competition from global supplies, Bloomberg reported.  

Drought has lowered the river, where about two-thirds of US grain exports historically have been shipped on barges to the US Gulf.

US wheat inspections totaled 71,608 tonnes for the week ended Nov. 2, down from 198,298 tonnes the previous week and down from 181,989 tonnes in the same week last year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Wheat inspections for the 2023-24 marketing year are down 27%.

While wheat shipments tend to drop this time of year as soybean exports ramp up, the decline was being called “unprecedented” by market watchers.

The Nov. 2 wheat inspections were the lowest for any week since records began in January 1983. The previous low was 85,672 tonnes set in late December 2022.