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Late spring delays Minnesota's wild rice crop

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota's wild rice crop is behind schedule this year because of the late spring.

Wild rice harvesting opened last weekend, but most rice stands are not ripe yet.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimates that peak harvesting dates will be in early to mid-September as long as the weather remains mild.

DNR officials said people who harvest rice may want to scout areas ahead of time because some stands that were abundant last year may not have any harvestable rice.

David Kanz, DNR assistant wildlife manager in Aitkin, says early and sustained high water levels have hurt some rice beds.

More than 1,200 lakes and rivers in 54 counties contain wild rice, with the largest concentrations in north-central Minnesota.