The above AP photo was taken by Seth Perlman. Farmer Ed Miles is shown repairing a corn and soybean planter on his farm near Loami, Ill., on Thursday, April 16.

First, the bad news. Similar to last year, wet, cool weather during the first three weeks in April has prevented farmers from eastern Iowa to Ohio from planting corn at their normal pace. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, this region accounts for close to 50 percent of this year's anticipated 85 million-acre crop. Rain has fallen in Cape Girardeau, Mo., on 10 of the first 20 days of the month. There have been no more than three consecutive days without rain. As a result, corn planting in Missouri as of Sunday, April 19, was only 7 percent completed. This compares to the 5-year average of 42 percent. Late-planted corn is more vulnerable to summer heat and may not reach maturity before autumn frosts set in.

The good news is that the weather pattern is changing now. Longer spells of sunny, warm weather are expected over the next two to three weeks. While there can be rainfall of 1 to 2 inches next week, much of this week has been dry so far. Dry, warm, summerlike weather is forecast to be in place through the weekend. This should allow corn planting, which is now two to three weeks behind schedule, to make significant progress.

Story by Expert Senior Meteorologists Dale Mohler and Alex Sosnowski