U.S. corn  and soybean  conditions continued to decline last week as hot, dry weather took a toll on fields in the southwestern and eastern parts of the Corn Belt. For the second straight week, USDA ’s ratings of the U.S. corn and soybean crops declined more than expected.
USDA’s weekly crop update pegged the good/excellent rating for the U.S. corn crop at 62% good/excellent, down 4 percentage points from a week earlier against trade expectations for a drop of 2 points.
U.S. soybean conditions were also put at 62% good/excellent, down 2 points from a week earlier compared with expectations for a drop of 1 point.
Corn crop development caught up with normal as hot weather pushed plants. USDA estimated that 65% of the U.S. crop was silking as of Sunday, only 4 percentage points behind the five-year average, while 9% of the crop had moved into the dough stage against the average of 12%.
Soybean development remained further behind normal with 60% of the crop blooming vs. a five-year average of 68% and 16% of the crop setting pods against an average of 27%.
The pattern of crop deterioration was similar for both corn and soybean futures with ratings generally showing the biggest declines in Kansas and Missouri in the western Corn Belt and Indiana and Ohio in the eastern Belt.
The biggest drop in crop ratings among top producing states was again in Kansas, where corn and soybean fields continued to be subjected to 100+° heat last week.
The good/excellent rating for the Kansas corn crop fell by 8 points to only 34%, while the portion of the state’s crop rated poor/very poor rose 9 points to 34%. The good/excellent rating for Kansas soybeans fell by 11 points to 32%, while the poor/very poor rating for the state’s crop rose by 10 points to 33%.
In contrast, conditions in the top U.S. corn and soybean states of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota showed more limited deterioration as those states went into the week with strong subsoil moisture and some locations received beneficial rains late in the week.
In the top-producing state of Iowa, the corn crop was rated 80% good/excellent as of Sunday, unchanged from a week earlier. In both Illinois and Nebraska, the good/excellent rating for corn dropped 2 points to 59% and 80% respectively, while in Minnesota, the crop rating rose to 72% good/excellent from 68%.
Soybean crop ratings declined a bit more in the heart of the growing belt, but were still generally strong as of Sunday.
The Iowa soybean crop was rated 80% good/excellent, down 2 points from the previous week, while the Illinois crop was rated 60% good/excellent, down 4 points and the Nebraska crop was rated 77% good/excellent, down 3 points.
In Minnesota, the soybean crop rating rose to 69% good/excellent from 66% as hot weather boosted lagging crop development.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.