Crop conditions look good in this week’s Crop Progress report from USDA, but corn in particular is developing at a slower-than usual rate. The report, based on conditions as of August 30, rates 69 percent of the U.S. crop in good or excellent condition, down one percentage point from last week. One year ago, 61 percent of the crop rated those top-two categories. The current report lists 10 percent as poor to very poor, compared with 9 percent last week and 13 percent one year ago.   

The report rates 72 percent of the soybean crop as good to excellent, compared with 69 percent one week ago and 57 percent one year ago.

While conditions are good, development continues to run behind last year, which also was a late year, and well behind the five-year average. Seventy-five percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, compared with 81 percent one year ago and 88 percent for the five-year average, suggesting the crop is falling further behind as earlier progress numbers tracked more closely with last year. Likewise, 32 percent of the corn has reached the dent stage, compared with 42 percent one year ago and 60 percent for the same date averaged over the past five years. Soybean development is tracking much closer to last year and the five-year average, as the crop is planted later and less affected by spring weather conditions that set the corn crop behind this season.

Concern is growing that an early frost could hurt corn production in northern areas, particularly as the weather has begun to cool over the past week or so.

Pasture and range conditions look good across most of the country. Nationally, 52 percent of pasture and range rates good to excellent, with 21 percent rated poor or very poor. Those numbers compare favorably with last year at this time, when 33 percent rated good or excellent and 30 percent poor or very poor. The states with the worst conditions are California, where an astounding 90 percent of pasture and range rates poor or very poor, and Arizona, where 80 percent fall into those categories. Other states with large areas rated poor or very poor include New Mexico, Texas and Oregon.

The full report is available on line from USDA.