This week's Crop Progress report from the USDA shows crop development and conditions continuing to track almost exactly with those of one year ago. Progress for most crops remains well behind the five-year average for the same date, but keep in mind that last year's corn harvest, in spite of late planting and slow development, was the second-largest on record.

This week's report shows 76 percent of corn in the top 18 corn-producing states at the silking stage, as of August 2, compared with 79 for the same date last year and a five-year average of 89 percent. In those same states, 14 percent of the crop has reached dough stage, compared with 15 percent at this time last year and 29 percent for the five-year average.

For soybeans, 76 percent of the crop in the top 18 states has reached flowering and 36 percent is setting pods, with both numbers the same as one year ago.

Crop conditions also look similar to last year, at least when averaged across the top 18 states. The report lists 68 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition, compared with 66 percent one year ago. Just 10 percent rates poor or very poor. Conditions vary widely by region however. Conditions look good across most of the Corn Belt, but in drought-stricken Texas, 43 percent of the crop rates poor to very poor. Soybean conditions also look similar to last year at this time, perhaps slightly better.

Pasture and range conditions, on a national basis, also are similar to last year, with 49 percent rated good or excellent as of Aug. 2, compared with 42 percent at the same time last year. Again the report shows wide regional variation, reflecting the effects of drought. California reports 90 percent of its pasture and range in poor to very poor condition, while Texas, Arizona and to a lesser extent New Mexico also report poor conditions. The full report is available online at