August was a tough month for U.S. corn and soybean crops, as conditions declined through the month. However, with September the conditions have at least balanced out. According to USDA's Sept. 7 Crop Progress Report, the quality of the U.S. corn and soybean crops remained unchanged from the week before and is about equal to last year's crops at the time.

USDA officials rated 61 percent of the corn crop and 57 percent of the soybean crop as good or excellent, that's unchanged from the previous week. It's also equal to 2007's ratings at 61 percent for corn and 56 percent for soybeans.

Still, one nagging issue remains, and that's the lagging maturity progress. USDA officials report that only 62 percent of the corn had reached the dent stage as of Sept. 7. That compares to 87 percent by this time last year and 79 percent for the five-year average. Only 11 percent of the corn crop was rated as mature, versus 38 percent at this time last year and 28 percent on average across the past five years.

Only 10 percent of the soybean crop was recorded as dropping leaves-- a maturity measure. Last year at this time, 27 percent of the crop was in that final stage, and for the last five years the average is 21 percent.

Source: USDA