For the second week in a row, favorable weather in areas of the Corn Belt have helped growers catch up in their planting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, as of Sunday, May 15, 63 percent of the U.S. corn crop had been planted, only 12 percentage points below average for this time of year.

“For many of our farmers, it’s been a good week,” said National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott, of North Dakota. “In a few areas, we’ve still been challenged by rain and flooding, but our farmers are resilient and today’s corn can quickly grow tall and strong in the right conditions.”

In several key states, such as Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, corn planting progress has surpassed the average, while some states that were lagging saw great progress, especially Illinois and Michigan, where farmers planted 35 and 33 percent of the crop last week, respectively.

Ohio remains far behind, with only 7 percent of the crop planted compared to a five-year average that is 10 times that, while North Dakota is only 14 percent planted.

Last week, the USDA also predicted a record corn crop of 13.5 billion bushels, with a national average yield of 158.7 bushels per acre, assuming a planting of 92.2 million acres. At the end of June, the USDA will provide its complete yearly look at 2011 planted acreage.