Corn farmers across the U.S. Midwest are planting their crops ahead of schedule this season, sharply contrasting last year's late planting start, according to reports.

The USDA released a report on April 20 that said 19% of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of Tuesday. Only 5% of the corn crop had been planted by mid-April 2009. meteorologists suggest drier-than-normal early spring conditions helped farmers jump-start corn planting this year.

An early start to corn planting doesn't necessarily mean an ideal final crop, and 2009's high yield despite a late start is a good example.


"The most important consideration for a good corn crop is the weather leading up to the harvest period," said Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler.

The prime corn planting season in the midwestern U.S. is between April 22 through May 13, with early planting beginning April 1. The corn harvesting period generally takes place October through November.