The soggy eastern half of the Corn Belt will experience a needed shift to warmer, drier weather this week, but it is unclear whether the window of improved conditions will be large enough to allow producers there to catch up substantially on corn planting.

After heavy rains fell across Illinois and Indiana last week, many corn growers in those key producing states will not be able to return to their fields until the second half of the week and forecasters say rainfall could return by next week.

"This week looks like the driest week this season for the eastern Belt, which they need," Mike Palmerino, meteorologist with DTN Meteorlogix told Reuters News Service. "Next week it could be an increase in rain."

Palmerino expects weather in the eastern Belt is expected to stay dry through Saturday, with a few light showers possible on Sunday and temperatures ranging from the upper-60s to low-80s degrees Fahrenheit.

But precipitation is expected to be normal to above-normal in the six- to 10-day outlook, which may stall plantings once again, Palmerino told Reuters.

The favorable weather this week may not be enough to dry the wettest areas, he added. "The lower ground (areas), you are not going to be able to get equipment on the ground," Palmerino said.

Many locations across Illinois and Indiana reported receiving upwards of 2 in. of rain during the seven days ended Monday morning and some received much heavier amounts. Last week’s official rainfall total for Peoria, IL, was 4.26 in., while Lafayette, IN, reported 4.56 in. and Bloomington, IN, reported 4.66 in.

Renewed planting delays could push producers to switch acreage from corn into soybeans as corn yield potential is already declining by an estimated 1 ½ bu./day across Illinois and losses will increase to about 2 bu./day past May 20.

The western Corn Belt is expected to be mostly dry through Wednesday, with scattered showers forecast Thursday to Saturday. Temperatures were near freezing over the weekend in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, but will warm up into the 60s and 70s during the week, Palmerino said.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.