Ed Mies would like to plant corn on his central Illinois farm by now, but instead he has time to talk about how wet his fields are.

"We're not quite waxing tractors yet," he joked last week.

Farmers across a wide stretch of the Midwest find themselves in similar shape: talking, watching and waiting rather than planting, thanks to a cool, wet spring.

"We're all sitting on pins and needles waiting for it to dry out," said Bob Nielsen, a Purdue University agronomy professor. Most of Indiana's fields are too wet to plant.

It reminds some of 2008, when the crop went in a month or more late in many states and prices - just as ethanol and booming economies overseas drove up demand - went through the roof.

Farmers rode a yo-yo that had them waiting, then planting late, then replanting in many cases as fields flooded, and finally watching and waiting again to see if they could harvest crops seeded as late as June before the first frost.

Some farmers left crops in the field, unharvested before snow came to the northern half of the Corn Belt. It's a memory they'd just as soon not relive.

"We're concerned with this now," said Blair Herbert, a 49-year-old farmer from San Jose, about 40 miles north of Springfield.

He still has work to do from last fall, when the combination of the late crop and wet weather kept him from working over his fields the way he normally would after harvest, much less his pre-planting work for this spring and the planting itself.

"Things are stacking up on us pretty hard now," he said as he thought about the 500-plus acres he plans to plant with corn.

But experts say the Corn Belt is a long way from a repeat of 2008. Yes, the crop will likely be planted late from eastern Iowa to Ohio, a region the U.S. Department of Agriculture says will account for more than a quarter of this year's anticipated 85 million-acre corn crop.

Late crops risk missing out on crucial days in the field that can increase production.

Accuweather farm forecaster Dale Mohler said a slow-moving storm over the past weekend and early this week was expected to douse farmers from eastern Missouri to Ohio, but then the region would see at least a handful of warm, dry days.

If that happened, the region's corn crop could still get off to a strong start, even with a delay of a couple of weeks, Purdue's Nielsen said.

"We could label (the wait) more as a nuisance and frustration rather than anything serious," he said.

And things worked out OK even last year - corn planted in late May and into June in many places turned out fairly well. Plus, prices were high enough that farmers had the kind of revenue cushion that made even a decent yield pay off.

But prices aren't nearly as high now: just below $4 a bushel, down sharply from last year's highs well over $7. They've been pushed down by worldwide economic doldrums and drastically reduced demand for ethanol.

Some farmers say they're worried prices will drop further, in spite of the fear of late planting, something that would typically push prices higher.

Ted Mies, 34, who farms near his father in Loami, about 10 miles southwest of Springfield, said it's tempting to push into the fields too fast, something that could compact soils and make them too dense for roots to penetrate. He won't rush in.

"Patience is the name of the game right now," he said.

University of Illinois crop expert Emerson Nafziger said he won't be really concerned about unplanted corn until the second week of May, but he admits this year, as far as weather, looks eerily like last. And he understands farmers' nervousness.

"People start to look at the calendar and look at the field," he said, "and (then) tinker with their planter one more time."