The condition of the U.S. corn crop improved last week and soybean planting picked up speed as warming weather boosted fieldwork and crop development across the Midwest.

In Monday afternoon’s weekly crop update, USDA rated U.S. corn conditions 71% good/excellent up from 67% a week earlier. USDA reported that 93% of the U.S. corn crop had been planted by Sunday with 71% of the crop emerged, up from only 50% a year earlier and the five-year average of 62%.

U.S. soybean planting reached 53% complete, up from 38% percent a week earlier and 44% a year earlier, but behind the five-year average of 57%. Nationwide soybean emergence was put at 24% as of Sunday, up from 13% a week earlier, 15% a year earlier and an average pace of 23%. USDA has not yet rated soybean conditions.

The good/excellent rating for the corn crop in the top-producing state of Iowa jumped 10 percentage points to 65% good/excellent as warmer weather helped the crop recovery from the effects of an early May frost. There have been only a few reports of replanting due to frost damage.

With 98% of the Iowa crop planted, 84% had emerged as of Sunday, ahead of 75% last year and the five-year average of 70%.

There are crop concerns in southeast Iowa, which has received more than 10 in. of rain this month, the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported. Emerged corn there is lacking color and standing water in low-lying fields will not allow newly planted corn to survive, NASS said.

USDA reported that 75% of the Iowa soybean crop had been planted by Sunday, up from the five-year average of 72%. Iowa soybean emergence was pegged at 28%, 6 points ahead of the five-year average.

In Illinois, the corn crop was rated 77% good/excellent as of Sunday, up from 73% a week earlier. Some 97% of the Illinois crop had been planted, with 87% emerged, compared with emergence of only 20% a year earlier and the five-year average of 69%.

Wet conditions kept many producers out of the fields and Illinois soybean planting advanced only 5 percentage points on the week to 47% done, falling behind the five-year average of 54%. The planting pace, however, was still well ahead of a year earlier, when just 10% of the crop had been planted.

The average height of Illinois corn plants was estimated at 6 in. compared with the five-year average of 5 in. Illinois producers are discovering more corn acreage in need of replanting due to flooding from previous weeks, the state office of NASS reported.

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.