Rising milk prices lended a helping hand to the April milk-feed price ratio.

The ratio advanced to 3.11 during April — a gain of 0.31 points from March and 0.86 points higher than a year ago. It also marks the first time since November that the ratio has topped 3.0. Whenever the ratio meets or exceeds 3.0, it is considered profitable to buy feed and produce milk.

The all-milk price used in the calculation increased $2.60 during April, putting it at $18. That also is exactly $7 higher than the all-milk price used in April 2003.

The prices for corn, alfalfa hay and soybeans also advanced during April. The price per ton of baled alfalfa hay increased the most — up $6.80 per ton to $92.70. However, that is still $3.80 less than a year ago.

The corn price used in the April calculation climbed 12 cents — to $2.87 per bushel. That is 53 cents higher than the April 2003 corn price.

The soybean price climbed just 27 cents during April — to $9.54 per bushel. That is $3.72 higher than April 2003.

Strong milk prices, which are expected to continue during the next few months, should continue to bolster the milk-feed ratio.