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Corn is king this spring in the Upper Midwest

Corn — old and familiar to regional farmers, new and a bit exotic to others — is shining brightly this spring. Prices are strong, and ever-improving varieties allow the crop to be raised in formerly unsuitable areas, the Associated Press reports. (flickr photo from WayTru)
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Corn — old and familiar to regional farmers, new and a bit exotic to others — is shining brightly this spring. Prices are strong, and ever-improving varieties allow the crop to be raised in formerly unsuitable areas, the Associated Press reports. (flickr photo from WayTru)

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Searing sun and drought are shriveling corn in some parts of the Midwest, the New York Times reports. But experts note that the driest, hottest conditions have mostly steered clear of some crucial Corn Belt states, including Minnesota, where the crop in most places appears healthy and strong — not to mention increasingly valuable.

Minnesota corn growers cashing in

State farmers will benefit in two ways: drought has helped to drive corn prices higher, and Minnesota farms are producing high yields compared to farms in other states, where dry conditions have shriveled crops, WCCO reports.

Minn. corn, soybean planting ahead of average

Minnesota farmers continue to make progress on planting corn and soybeans, thanks to warm, dry weather, the Associated Press reports. According to the USDA's weekly crop-weather report for Minnesota, corn planting jumped to 88 percent planted.

After heat, 77 percent of corn good to excellent

Most Minnesota corn weathered the heat wave relatively well, but crops in Wisconsin and elsewhere are suffering – prompting corn prices to soar.

U.S. corn planting may be most since 1937, seeds in short supply

An official with Minnesota's Ag Department says farmers should be able to find some type of corn seed to plant this spring, but the most popular varieties may not be available. High prices have farmers all over the country boosting corn acreage. Minnesota expects about a ten percent increase over last year.

High commodity prices have a side effect for farmers: a shortage of seeds

Strong crop prices have farmers around the country planting more acreage. Ag officials are advising growers to get their seeds now because the most popular varieties of corn may not be available later.

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However, soybean and wheat crops will drop as much as eight percent because corn is more profitable. Minnesota's corn crop was valued at $7 billion last year. Corn planting is also expected to increase about four percent nationwide.