Crop conditions are showing week-to-week and year-to-year improvements, but development continues to lag behind normal. This week’s Crop Progress report, issued August 24, rates 70 percent of the U.S. crop in good or excellent condition, compared with 68 percent one week ago and 64 percent one year ago. Just 9 percent rates as poor to very poor, again slightly better than last year.  

The report rates 69 percent of the soybean crop as good to excellent, compared with 66 percent one week ago and 61 percent one year ago.

Crops are running a bit behind in development due to late planting and cool weather in some areas. Fifty-seven percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, compared with 66 percent one year ago and 79 percent for the five-year average, suggesting the crop is falling further behind as earlier progress numbers tracked more closely with last year. Likewise, 18 percent of the corn has reached the dent stage, compared with 25 percent one year ago and 43 percent for the same date averaged over the past five years. Continued slow development could lead to some risk of early frost damaging yields in northern areas.

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 39 percent rated good or excellent and 30 percent poor or very poor. The state with the worst conditions is California, where an astounding 90 percent of pasture and range rates poor or very poor, with the remaining 10 percent rated fair. Other states with large areas rated poor or very poor include Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oregon.

The full report is available on line from USDA.