With news that export demand is rising and a brisk pace of U.S. corn and soybean harvest this fall, the rail system responsible for getting that grain from the field to the port is being tested. Compared to this time a year ago, grain car volume is up 23%, and it’s causing slowing service in some areas where demand is highest. The COVID-19 pandemic is playing a role, with some rail companies having furloughed workers earlier this year. The rail demand — which some say has shipments as much as four weeks behind the expected pace — is likely to be an issue through harvest conditions barring any major delays in harvest progress. It’s a call for producers, local terminals and shippers to stay in close communication to ensure adequate scheduling for grain deliveries. See more on the rail situation.