Corn planting across the country is progressing well in what so far has been an unseasonably warm spring. USDA reports that corn planting at the start of this week was nearly 50 percent complete nationwide. That's twice the five-year average for this time of year.

Of particular interest, corn planting in Illinois is reported at 73 percent complete versus 28 percent typically, Iowa is at 68 percent compared to 23 percent and Minnesota is coming in at 63 percent versus 16 percent.

You can get a look at the complete report here.

AccuWeather.com forecasts heavy rain for the Midwest this weekend, which could slow corn’s record early planting pace.

The current weather system plaguing the Pacific Northwest will move across the nation's midsection, bringing heavy rain early this weekend through early next week, AccuWeather.com reports.

While planting may be slowed, the rain will provide much-needed soil moisture.

Meteorologists suggest drier-than-normal early spring conditions helped farmers jump-start corn planting this year.

However, an early start to corn planting doesn't always mean an ideal final crop. "The most important consideration for a good corn crop is the weather leading up to the harvest period," notes Dale Mohler, AccuWeather.com agricultural meteorologist.

Consistent rain through the summer, ideally three-quarters to one inch of rain weekly, hot days with highs in the 80s F and nighttime lows in the 60s F can lead to the best corn yield.

This season's early planting sharply contrasts last year's late efforts, which were delayed by spring rains.

"April and May were very wet in the prime corn-planting states last year," Mohler notes. "Planting was a month behind schedule, but near-perfect summer weather yielded a good crop."

As for soybeans, they are in their very early planting stages—a bit too early for many Midwest state. But here again, the Midwestern weather has yielded an earlier-than-normal planting start for the crop. Similar to the impacts made to corn planting, upcoming weekend rains throughout the Central states could slow the early sowing of soybeans.

Source: AccuWeather.com