Corn and soybean conditions declined last week as dry weather across the Midwest led to some moisture stress on crops, but U.S. crop ratings remained above a year earlier.

Crop development remained clearly behind normal after the slow start to the growing season. A lack of moisture slowed development in some areas.

U.S. corn conditions were rated 64% good/excellent as of Sunday, down from 67% a week earlier, but up from 59% a year earlier, according the USDA’s weekly crop update.

U.S. soybean conditions were rated 61% good/excellent, down from 62% a week earlier, but up from last year’s reading of 54%.

USDA reported that 68% of the U.S. corn crop was in the dough stage, down from a five-year average of 82%, while only 26% of the crop had started denting against an average of 47%.

Some 88% of the U.S. soybean crop was said to be setting pods compared with a five-year average of 94%.

Moisture stress on crops was most noticeable in the eastern Midwest with the good/excellent ratings for Ohio’s corn crop down 9 percentage points and the rating for Indiana’s falling by 6 points.

The good/excellent rating for Ohio’s soybean crop fell 7 percentage points, while the rating for Indiana soybeans was down 4 points from a week earlier.

In the top corn- and soybean-producing state of Iowa, corn conditions were rated 65% good/excellent, down from 69% a week earlier and 70% a year earlier.

Only 13% of the Iowa crop had reached the dent stage by Sunday, well behind the five-year average of 40%.

Iowa soybean conditions were rated 63% good/excellent, down from 65% a week earlier and 75% a year earlier.

An estimated 89% of the state’s soybean crop was setting pods against a five-year average of 98%.

Despite recent dryness, topsoil moisture remained adequate/surplus across 67% of Iowa, while subsoil moisture was adequate/surplus over 82% of the state.

In the No. 2 producing state of Illinois, corn conditions improved to 74% good/excellent from 72% a week earlier and 72% a year earlier. However, only 29% of Illinois corn was reported to be denting, versus a five-year average of 63%.

Illinois soybean conditions also improved to 68% good/excellent from 66% a week earlier and 63% a year earlier. Some 92% of Illinois soybeans were setting pods against an average of 95%.

Illinois soil moisture was rated 61% adequate/surplus.

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.