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      Rains Aid Wheat Planting in Western Kansas

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      WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Recent rain in far western Kansas have bolstered topsoil moisture conditions as winter wheat planting gets underway across the state.

      Kansas Wheat marketing director Aaron Harries says people have a reason to be more pleased.

      He says conditions have improved dramatically over last fall, though technically much of the western third of the state remains in a drought.

      The National Agricultural Statistics Service says about 70 percent of west-central Kansas has adequate to surplus topsoil moisture. In northwest Kansas, about 65 percent falls in that category. Some areas in western Kansas received up to 5 inches of rain in recent weeks.

      Even southwest Kansas -- which missed the heavier rains -- is still in better shape than a year ago with 37 percent adequate to surplus topsoil moisture.

      Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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