While a mild winter has put planting on most farmers’ minds far sooner than a typical year, more soil moisture is a critical missing element. Soil conditions in most Corn Belt states are much drier than usual, even as some go about spring fertilizer application. The lack of snow in many areas compounds ongoing drought concerns still lingering from last season.

However, some southern corn-growing areas, such as parts of Missouri, have received enough rain to stall fieldwork. The U.S. Drought Monitor says 72% of the Midwest is in dry conditions, compared to just 16% last year at this time. Major corn-growing states like Iowa and Minnesota still have some portions in severe to exceptional drought.

Read more on soil moisture concerns ahead of planting season here.