April 10 Cargill Inc will close its soybean processing plant for deliveries of the beans next week in Bloomington, Illinois, because of a shortage of rail cars, a message on the company's website said on Thursday.
Gridlock on the country's railroads amid a bitter winter and increased demand for railcars to ship oil, coal, ethanol and grains had already hit quarterly earnings for the Minneapolis-based company.
The processor will be closed for deliveries of soybeans beginning on Monday, the website said.
Cargill is having difficulties getting railcars to ship product, according to a company email seen by Reuters.
The plant will continue to operate, except for the Good Friday holiday on April 18, spokesman Mark Klein said.
"We have sufficient supply of beans in bins," he said.
There is storage for as much as 2 million bushels of soybeans at the central Illinois facility that can process 60,000 bushels per day, cash sources said. Klein declined to comment on the capacity.
Many U.S. processors were earning strong "crush" margins processing soybeans into products such as soymeal and soyoil. The average margin was said to be about 60 cents per bushel - 10 cents above the level needed to break even, a cash source said. (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio)