Frost worries Midwest farmers

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) -- Frost over the weekend has some farmers in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota worried about their crops.

American Crystal Sugar Co. chairman Neil Widner says his sugar beets already have been above ground about a week because of above-normal warmth in March and April.

The fact that temperatures did not stay below 30 degrees very long increases the likelihood of the crops escaping damage. But Widner says it's hard to predict what frost will do.

Crystal Martodam, agricultural extension agent for Towner County, says she thinks wheat crops should be OK, but any early planted canola might have gotten stung by the frost.

LSU unveils new sugar cane

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- The LSU Agcenter has unveiled a new variety of sugar cane.

Kenneth Gravois, an AgCenter sugarcane specialist, says the new variety produces significantly more sugar than the one most widely grown in Louisiana last year.

AgCenter scientists and breeders worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Sugarcane Research Laboratory in Houma and the American Sugar Cane League in Thibodaux to develop the new variety.

"Seed cane" will be available from both the Agcenter and the Sugar Cane league. Farmers plant whole stalks, and buds along the stalks grow into new plants. All cane varieties are identified by a letter and number code. This one is called "L 03-371."

Gravois says farmers can apply for seed cane now, and will be able to get it in late August and September.

New Montana wolf pack found

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- State wildlife officials have confirmed a new wolf pack in the Evaro area northwest of Missoula after a homeowner killed a wolf that was threatening his dog.

Allen Lake says his yellow Labrador was chained to her doghouse near the family home April 29 when two wolves approached. Lake shot and killed one of the wolves but missed a running shot at the second.

Liz Bradley, a wolf biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, says trappers caught a yearling female Wednesday and put a radio collar on her. She says she doesn't know how many wolves are in the pack or how big their territory is.

Okla. wheat crop should double

ENID, Okla. (AP) -- Wheat producers say the Oklahoma wheat crop is expected to double last year's harvest of 70 million bushels.

Producers meeting at the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association in Oklahoma City this week predicted about 140 million bushels in 2010. The average yield is expected to be 33 bushels per acre from 4.2 million acres.

North-central Oklahoma is the state's largest wheat production region and is expected to produce nearly 42 million bushels this year. The Panhandle region is expected to produce about 24 million bushels.

Harvesting is expected to start in mid-June.

Auction barn owner charged with grand theft

WATERTOWN, S.D. (AP) -- A former co-owner of an auction barn in the northeast South Dakota community of Watertown has pleaded no contest to an amended charge of grand theft.

Joey Varner, of Pierz, Minn., initially was charged last July with aggravated grand theft for allegedly stealing 188 cattle from Watertown Livestock that were under U.S. Bankruptcy Court control.

Varner entered his plea to the amended charge on Monday. A no contest plea means a suspect does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Varner faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine when he is sentenced June 23.

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