WASHINGTON – The effects of cool, wet weather were evident with minimal gains in planting during the latest week, the US Department of Agriculture said in its weekly Crop Progress report released April 22.

Corn planting in the 18 major growing states was 4 percent completed as of April 21, up slightly from 2 percent a week earlier but well behind 26 percent at the same time last year and 16 percent as the 2008-12 average for the date, the USDA said. Planting had not yet begun in top-producing Iowa (14 percent planted as the five-year average for the date), or in Colorado (8 percent average), Michigan (7 percent), Minnesota (11 percent), Nebraska (8 percent), North Dakota (4 percent), South Dakota (4 percent) and Wisconsin (4 percent). Corn planting was only 1 percent completed in Illinois (24 percent average), Indiana (16 percent) and Ohio (12 percent).

There was additional snowfall forecast for parts of the Upper Midwest hard spring wheat and sugar beet areas and another possible freeze for parts of the Southwest hard winter wheat area. But forecasters also predicted warmer, drier conditions next week, which may allow planting progress in the Corn Belt.

Last week the US Drought Monitor showed the area of exceptional drought in the northern parts of the hard red winter wheat region (especially North Dakota and Nebraska) had declined considerably, and that moderate or worse drought conditions had receded to less than 50 percent of the contiguous United States for the first time since June 19, 2012.