In the past week or so, U.S. corn and soybean crops have been setback a bit. For the week ending Aug. 31, USDA rated 61 percent of the U.S. corn crop in "good or excellent" condition, compared to  64 percent rated as such in the week before. However, it is still above the 59 percent rated at that level in 2007.

In USDA's weekly Crop Progress report, the agency identified 57 percent of the U.S. soybean crop as "good or excellent". That, too, is down from 61 percent the week before, and is nearly on par with 2007 at 56 percent.

The corn crop's development is slow, with 83 percent of the crop reported to be in the dough stage. Last year at this time, that level was at 95 percent of the crop, and 91 percent for the five-year average. The crop level cited to be in the dent stage was 45 percent, compared to 75 percent last year and the five-year average of 65 percent. USDA rated only 6 percent of the corn crop as mature, last year it was 21 percent, and 16 percent for the five-year average.

As for the soybean crop, USDA reports 94 percent of the soybean crop was setting pods as of Aug. 31. That compares to 98 percent last year and 97 percent for the five-year average.

The Midwest has faced dry conditions for many weeks and is delaying crop progress. With these slow-maturing crops, all eyes will now be on the prospect of early frosts.

Source: USDA