Rain keeps corn from Ind. fields

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Federal officials say the latest slew of spring rainstorms has kept Indiana farmers from planting enough corn to maximize their yield.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports only 2 percent of Indiana's corn crop had been planted by last week, compared with a five-year average of 15 percent.

Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen says corn grain yield potential declines with delayed planting after May 1. A Purdue University news release Tuesday said the optimal time period to plant corn for a maximum yield is April 20 through May 10.

Nielson said it's not wise for farmers to begin planting in soggy soils to beat the cutoff point.

Minnesota milk production falls

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milk production is picking up across the country, but not so much in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The nation's dairy farmers produced 15.8 billion pounds of milk last month. That was a 2 percent increase over March of last year.

The highest rates of improvement were in Texas (7 percent), Idaho (4 percent) and California (3 percent).

Wisconsin produced 2.3 billion pounds last month. While that was 30 million more pounds than from the same time last year, it amounts to an increase of just over 1 percent.

Wisconsin remains No. 2 in the nation behind California, which harvested 3.6 billion pounds.

Minnesota was one of the few states to see a decrease. Farmers there produced 775 million pounds, down 2 percent.

Arkansas rain eases drought

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- After hoping for rain for months -- and getting lots of it over the last two weeks -- Arkansas farmers say they now need some dry time to take advantage.

Parts of southern Arkansas, much of which remains in an extreme drought, saw as much as 6 inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. The rainfall came after months of dry weather that strained reservoirs and worried farmers about their crops.

The weather service forecasts another 1 to 3 inches of rain over the next five days in southern Arkansas, while 4 to 6 inches is expected in the north.

"Without going into much detail, our growers are throwing parties," Jaret Rushing, a University of Arkansas extension agent in southern Calhoun County, told the university's extension service for farmers.

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