U.S. corn and soybean conditions improved a bit further last week as most of the Midwest growing belt continued to enjoy mild summer temperatures.

USDA pegged U.S. corn conditions at 66% good/excellent as of Sunday, up from 65% a week earlier and 58% a year earlier. It was the sixth consecutive weekly rise in the corn crop rating.

U.S. soybean conditions were pegged at 62% good/excellent, up from 61% a week earlier and 58% a year earlier.

Crop development remained behind normal after the slow start to the growing season.

The portion of the U.S. corn that had silked was put at 59%, up from 34% a week earlier, but well behind the five-year average of 81%. USDA said 7% of the crop was in the dough stage against an average of 19%.

Some 62% of the U.S. soybean crop was said to be blooming, compared with an average of 79%, while 21% of the crop was reported setting pods, against an average of 37%.

The U.S. corn rating improved despite some deterioration in conditions in the top producing state of Iowa. Iowa corn conditions were rated 59% good/excellent, down from 62% a week earlier, as severe weather returned to central and southern areas of the state.

“By week's end, central and southern districts received several inches of rain and high winds, which damaged structures, caused soil erosion and leveled crops in isolated areas,” the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service said in its weekly crop bulletin.

Iowa corn development remains well behind normal, with only 45% of the state’s crop said to be silking against a five-year average of 81% The decline in Iowa corn conditions was offset by further improvement in the No. 2 corn state of Illinois.

Illinois corn conditions were rated 70% good/excellent up from 68% a week earlier.

Iowa soybean conditions rose to 62% good/excellent from 61% a week earlier, while the Illinois soybean crop rating rose to 62% good/excellent from 59%.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, The Corn And Soybean Digest's Marketing Editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.