Across the 18-state Corn Belt, 48 percent of the corn crop was rated either poor or very poor while only 24 percent is rated good to excellent in the Aug. 1 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service report.

Conditions are a bit better in Texas, where 50 percent of the crop is rated good to excellent and only 15 percent is considered poor or very poor. In Northeast Texas, as harvest closed in on the halfway mark, growers were typically cutting 100 bushels per acre and better on dryland acreage last week.

In Oklahoma, only 35 percent of the 2012 crop was considered good to excellent, and 35 percent was rated poor or very poor.

And the oppressive heat continued across the Southwest and much of the Midwest, further stressing prospects for corn and other crops. Particularly vulnerable are the still immature crops in the middle of the country where weekly temperatures generally averaged 5 to10 degrees above normal in a broad area stretching from thecentral and southern Plains into the Midwest. Multipletriple-digit days were noted in parts of Indiana,Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and on the Great Plains from South Dakota to Texas. In contrast, enough rain fellacross the northern Corn Belt to help stabilize or even improve crop conditions in somefields, according to NASS reports.

Corn conditions across the 18 main corn producing states for the week ending July 28 were: very poor 23 percent; poor 25 percent; fair 28 percent; good 21 percent; and excellent only 3 percent.