Corn planting and field preparation across the Midwest has been slowed by cool, wet weather in late March and the first half of April. While the rain was welcome as far as supplying needed moisture for the topsoil, the frequency of the rain has prevented farmers from getting out in the fields and spreading fertilizer ahead of planting.

Corn planting normally begins in early April from Missouri to southern Illinois. As of April 12, corn planting stands at 2% nationally, compared to a normal of 6%. Locally, Missouri is 5% planted compared to a normal of 24% while Illinois is 0% compared to a normal of 7%. Overall, planting is 5-10 days behind schedule in the Midwest (as of today).

The good news is that an overall drier weather pattern is developing now with longer periods of dry weather expected between storms. For example, Missouri will have dry weather today into Friday, before the next period of rain arrives Saturday. Warmer weather will also help raise soil temperatures which will help the corn germinate quicker. If the more favorable pattern continues into May (and we expect that it will), any early planting delays should have little adverse effect on this year's crop.

Story by AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler