ST. LOUIS - Spring planting across the nation's Corn Belt is sputtering because the soil remains too soggy or cold for effective seeding.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 3 percent of the corn crop is sown. That's half the pace of last year, when one of the wettest springs on record got farmers off to the slowest start in decades.
In Illinois, just 1 percent of this year's corn has been planted. That's one-tenth of the average pace of the previous five years. The USDA says farmers in other key corn-producing states are equally idle.
Farmers still are upbeat, saying they still have some time to get the job done. The USDA says corn sowing traditionally begins in mid-April. It's typically in full swing from April 21 through May 23.