U.S farmers are ahead of normal pace for planting corn and soybeans this spring, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Crop Progress report from May 4 shows that, at the halfway point, corn planting is a 55 percent, which is 20 percent ahead of the average pace for the week and almost 30 percent ahead of the same time a year ago.

The biggest jumps came in Iowa, where 14 percent of planting was done a week ago and 68 percent was done this week; Michigan, with 4 percent last week and 30 percent this week; Minnesota, with 38 percent last week and 83 percent this week; and Nebraska, with 16 percent last week and 57 percent this week.

Nine percent of the corn planted has emerged, up from 2 percent a week ago but behind the average by 12 percent this week.

The USDA said 13 percent of the soybean crop is planted, up from 2 percent last week, and ahead of the average of 9 percent for this week.

Rain forecast across the Plains states and the Corn Belt is expected to slow the planting progress, but temperatures are expected to stay at or above normal levels.

"Showers across the northwestern Midwest yesterday marked the beginning of a shift to a wetter pattern across the central and western Midwest this week. The heaviest rains across the Corn Belt this week should occur across Nebraska, Iowa, and northern Illinois," MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Kyle Tapley said on May 4. "Persistent rains in these areas this week should stall planting efforts, but they'll improve soil moisture levels for germination of corn and soybeans. Warm weather this week across the Corn Belt will also favor crop germination."