Corn harvest finally passed the halfway point last week, while soybean harvest neared completion as producers across the Midwest production belt enjoyed favorable harvest conditions.

Monday’s USDA weekly crop update showed 54% of the U.S. corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday, up 17 percentage points from a week earlier, but 23 points behind last year and 35 points behind the five-year average of 89%.

USDA pegged soybean harvest progress at 89%, up from 75% a week earlier, but behind last year’s pace of 95% and the five-year average of 96%.

Producers in the top corn state of Iowa made the best harvest progress last week, combining 25% of their crop. The Iowa harvest was pegged at 59% done as of Sunday, compared with an average pace of 89%.

The Iowa soybean harvest reached 96% complete, up from 83% a week earlier and just behind the five-year average of 99%.

Although warm weather helped dry corn in the field, space in grain dryers continued to be the limiting factor to the corn harvest pace, the Iowa field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service said. Reporters also indicated some elevators were not accepting wet corn if their dryers were full or if they had run out of natural gas.

Moisture content of all Iowa corn in the field was estimated at 23% while moisture of corn being harvested was estimated at 20%.

Corn harvest progress also continued to be hampered by higher-than-desired moisture levels in the No. 2 corn state of Illinois. The Illinois corn harvest advanced 21 percentage points on the week, but harvest progress still reached only 52% vs. a five-year average of 95%.

The Illinois soybean harvest reached 90% complete, up from 69% a week earlier as producers made good progress across the state.

The worst harvest problems continued to be in North Dakota, where corn harvest was still only 8% complete, up just 5 points from a week earlier despite warm, relatively dry weather across most of the state. Crop moisture levels well above normal continue to limit harvesting in the state.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.