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Corn farmers race rain to plant crop

Warm and dry weather in the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday will help boost corn plantings that have fallen to a record low pace, which poses a threat to production prospects, an agricultural meteorologist said.

"Today will be the best day," said Andy Karst, meteorologist for World Weather Inc. "Then showers develop tonight, with scattered showers into the weekend."

Karst said heavier rainfall would develop beginning Saturday and continue through Wednesday next week, further stalling corn seedings. "The heaviest rains will be Saturday through Monday in the west and Monday through Wednesday in the east," he said.

Drier weather late next week should allow farmers to resume plantings, he said. "It's not ideal, but not bad either. They need to get corn planted soon."

After a cold and wet spring in most of the U.S. crop belt, farmers have seeded 28 percent of their intended corn acres, up from 12 percent a week earlier but far behind the five-year average of 65 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report on Monday.

The planting pace for corn was the slowest for this point in the year in USDA records dating back to the 1980s, lagging 1984, when farmers had seeded 29 percent of their corn.