This week’s Crop Progress report from the USDA once again shows crop development and conditions very similar to last year’s. This week’s report shows that in the top 18 corn-producing states 89 percent of corn at the silking stage – 2 percent less than at the same date last year and 7 percent behind the five-year average. Last week’s report showed a five-year average of 89 percent silking for August 2, suggesting this year’s crop is running about a week behind the five-year average. This week’s report shows 24 percent at dough stage and 5 percent dented, compared with 28 percent and 6 percent respectively one year ago.  

For soybeans, 86 percent of the crop in the top 18 states has reached flowering and 55 percent is setting pods, with both numbers a couple percentage points behind one year ago.

Crop conditions also look similar to last year, at least when averaged across the top 18 states. The report lists 3 percent of the crop in very poor condition, 7 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 49 percent good and 19 percent excellent. Last year at the same time, all the numbers were the same except a percentage-point difference in fair condition, at 23 percent, and good, at 48 percent.

Conditions vary widely by region however. Conditions look good across most of the Corn Belt, but in drought-stricken  Texas, 39 percent of the crop rates poor to very poor. That’s an improvement from last week, when  Texas  rated 43 percent its crop in the bottom two categories. Soybean conditions also look similar to last year at this time.

Pasture and range conditions, on a national basis, look somewhat better than last year, with 51 percent rated good or excellent as of Aug. 9, compared with 39 percent at the same time last year. Again the report shows wide regional variation, reflecting the effects of drought. California Texas, Arizona and to a lesser extent New Mexico, Oregon, Washington Wisconsin report significant percentages of their rangeland in poor or very poor condition. The full report is available online.