USDA Crop Progress Report: Despite Heat Wave, US Corn, Soybean Conditions Drop Just Slightly in Week Ended Aug. 27

Aug 29, 2023

By Anthony Greder

Despite the extreme heat that blasted much of the Corn Belt last week, national corn and soybean condition ratings declined just slightly, USDA-NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

Though the region will get a temporary break from the heat this week, crops won't get much relief from the dryness, according to DTN forecasts.


-- Crop progress: Corn in the dough stage as of Sunday, Aug. 27, was estimated at 88%, 4 percentage points ahead of last year's 84% and 2 points ahead of the five-year average of 86%. Corn dented was pegged at 51%, 7 points ahead of last year's 44% and 2 points ahead of the five-year average of 49%. Corn mature was 9%, 2 points ahead of last year's 7% and 1 point ahead of the five-year average of 8%.

-- Crop condition: Nationally, corn was rated 56% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from 58% the previous week but still slightly above 54% a year ago at this time. "The good-to-excellent rating rose 3 points to 67% in Illinois, while Iowa's rating fell 6 points to 54%. Meanwhile, Kansas' corn crop is the worst rated, at just 35% good to excellent," noted DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini.


-- Crop progress: Soybeans setting pods were pegged at 91%, 1 percentage point ahead of both last year and the five-year average of 90%. Soybeans dropping leaves was estimated at 5%, 1 point ahead of last year's 4% and 1 point behind the five-year average of 6%.

-- Crop condition: Soybeans were rated 58% good to excellent as of Sunday, down 1 point from 59% the previous week and still slightly above 57% a year ago at this time. "The good-to-excellent rating for Illinois' soybeans rose 3 points to 68% and declined 6 points in Iowa to 53% good to excellent. Kansas and Michigan are the worst rated," Mantini said.


-- Harvest progress: Spring wheat harvest continued at a steady pace last week, moving ahead by another 15 percentage points to reach 54% completed as of Sunday. That was 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 63%. "South Dakota leads the pack at 91% harvested. North Dakota, at just 38% done, is 18 points behind average," Mantini said.

-- Crop condition: USDA said 37% of the spring wheat crop was rated good to excellent as of Aug. 27, down 1 percentage point from last week's 38% and well below 68% a year ago. "Washington is the worst-rated state at 25% good to excellent and 37% very poor to poor," Mantini said.


The Corn Belt will get a temporary reprieve from the heat -- but not from the dryness -- this week, according to DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick.

"It's a milder stretch for most of this week, coming off of last week's heat wave," Baranick said. "Crops will get a chance to take a breather, but most of the Corn Belt is still going without meaningful rain over the last week. Some areas in the southwestern Corn Belt got some good rainfall as a front passed through over the weekend and squashed the heat. Along the Nebraska-Kansas border through Missouri and southern Illinois into the Tennessee Valley saw some areas get over 2 inches, but most areas were left dry as it passed through.

"That front has settled down into the Southeast and if not for Tropical Storm Idalia, which is expected to become a strong hurricane in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, would have already passed through. That front will give southern areas a day or two of scattered showers. Idalia is forecast to move into the Big Bend of Florida early Wednesday, then quickly move into the Atlantic. Heavy rain is expected for some limited areas but may prove damaging for cotton farmers in southern Georgia or some of the specialty crops there and in South Carolina. Heavy rain may also impact eastern North Carolina, which could be devastating for those with maturing corn and soybeans that aren't able to harvest just yet. But overall, this will be a localized event instead of anything widespread.

"The milder temperatures farther north will be temporary, though. We'll see a ridge in the west shifting eastward and taking its spot back in the Central U.S. from what it got pushed out of this weekend. Temperatures will soar over the holiday weekend, and we could be in for another rough hot streak next week. It may not be widespread triple digits, but for those with limited soil moisture, which is most areas, it certainly won't be helpful. Like last week, it will be with limited rainfall with the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies the most likely locations to see anything meaningful. Should it occur that way, we could see disruptions to the wheat and canola harvests."

Editor's Note: How are your crops looking? Are they better, worse or right on track with USDA NASS' observations this week? Send us your comments, and we'll include them in this Crop Progress report story. You can email comments to or direct message him on X (formerly Twitter) @AGrederDTN. Please include the location where you farm.

Click here to see more...
Subscribe to our Newsletters

Trending Video