High water conditions on the Ohio River improved in the latter part of last week and barge operations continued to normalize, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today.

Water levels are expected to drop more during the rest of this week. Three-hundred-and-fifty-eight empty upbound barges passed through the Olmsted Locks and Dam, 58% more than the previous week, according to the USDA's weekly Grain Transportation Report.

Apart from minor-to-moderate high water conditions in the St. Louis area and some Lower Mississippi River locations, grain barge logistics for most of the Mississippi River have continuously improved since the beginning of March, the GTR said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to reopen Mississippi River Lock 25 near Winfield, Missouri, early next week. The reopening will allow the barge industry to prepare for the 2021 navigation season on the Upper Mississippi River. The season typically starts in late March or early April when the first vessel passes through Lock and Dam 2 near Hastings, Minn.