As persistently cool, wet weather finally began to relent, farmers across the Corn Belt headed into their fields, more than doubling the progress made to this point, according to reports released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As of May 12, 28 percent of projected corn acres had been planted, while only 12 percent were planted a week prior. Despite the rapid progress, corn planting still lags behind the five-year average by 37 points.

“Farmers are heading into their fields and taking advantage of every possible window to get the corn crop planted,” said National Corn Growers Association Chairman Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Illinois.

“Today’s planting equipment can plant four to six times more rows in a single pass than what was common even when I began farming. By taking advantage of every warm day dry enough to get into the fields and using significantly more efficient technology, we will be able to make progress that would not have been possible just a few decades ago.

“For most farmers, a week of warm, drier weather will make the crucial difference.”

Farmers made significant progress, but still lagged behind the five-year average in all of the top 18 corn-producing states with the exception of Pennsylvania.

The most significant delays have been seen in Iowa, where planting progress lags 64 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota have also seen planting delays that put progress more than 40 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Last week, farmers made significant progress in many areas, showing how a solid week of good planting conditions can make a major difference. The most progress came in Ohio, where corn planting progress increased by 39 points. South Dakota saw a 30 point increase in planting progress while Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Pennsylvania all moved more than 20 points forward since May 5.

To view the full report, click here.

While it is important to get the corn crop planted in a timely manner, the planting date alone is not a good indicator of overall corn production. As the rate of progress begins to increase, NCGA remains hopeful that U.S. corn farmers will have a good year.

It is of note that the 2009 corn crop was one of the latest planted crops in the last 15 years, yet it set an all-time yield record.

Conversely, while U.S. farmers had one of the all-time earliest planting completions in 2012, the drought produced a crop that was significantly below trend-line yields and 4 billion bushels off USDA’s original crop estimate.