U.S. soybean conditions held steady again last week, but corn conditions declined a bit further as a significant portion of the western Corn Belt stayed dry and cool weather kept crop development behind normal.

USDA rated the U.S. corn crop 68% good/excellent as of Sunday, down from 70% a week earlier, but still above the 66% reported a year earlier.

The soybean crop was rated 67% good/excellent for the third week in a row against the year-earlier rating of 63%.

The portion of the corn crop that was silking was pegged at 76%, compared with 79% a year earlier and a five-year average of 86%. USDA said 14% of the U.S. corn crop had reached the dough stage, compared with 15% a year earlier and an average pace of 29%.

Some 76% of U.S. soybeans were reported blooming, even with a year earlier and behind the five-year average of 89%. USDA said 36% of the soybean crop was setting pods, which was on par with a year, but behind the average pace of 54%.

Corn and soybean condition slipped slightly in the top producing state of Iowa with the corn crop there rated 78% good/excellent, down from 80% a week earlier and the soybean crop rated 77% good/excellent down from 79% previously.

Crop conditions also slipped in the No. 2 corn and soybean state of Illinois, with the state’s corn crop rated 60% good/excellent as of Sunday, down from 62% previously and the soybean crop rated 58% good/excellent, down from 61%.

The Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported in its weekly update that stress levels on the Iowa crop remained relatively low in what was another dry week in many areas of the state.

Some heavy but localized crop damage was reported in Iowa’s northeast crop district as hail striped corn plants to the stalk and devastated soybean fields, NASS said.

The Illinois field office of NASS said that the state’s crops appear to be doing well overall, but are lagging behind due to cool temperatures. Some soybean fields in the western part of the state are yellowing due to excess moisture, NASS said.

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.