The U.S. corn harvest advanced to more than two-thirds complete last week even though fresh rains caused new delays in central and eastern parts of the Corn Belt.

Monday afternoon’s weekly USDA crop update estimated that 68% of the U.S. corn crop had been harvested as of Sunday, up from 54% a week earlier, but well behind last year’s pace of 87% and the five-year average of 94%. The progress estimate was in line with trade expectations of 65%-70%.

Dry conditions in western and northern parts of the Corn Belt allowed producers there to make good progress on harvest.

Producers in the top corn-growing state of Iowa were able to harvest 19% of their crop last week, pushing the state’s harvest to 78% complete vs. a five-year average of 94%.

"While southeast Iowa received enough moisture to warrant flood concerns, much of the state stayed dry enough to keep harvesting equipment running at a steady pace," the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported.

Minnesota producers were able to harvest 23% of their crop on the week, pushing the state’s harvest to 66% complete against an average pace of 96%.

In the No. 2 producing state of Illinois, however, producers were able to combine only 8% of their crop on the week, leaving 40% of the state’s crop yet to be harvested.

On average, only Illinois producers enjoyed only 2.4 days suitable for fieldwork last week with statewide precipitation averaging 1.78 in., 1.13 in. above normal, according to the Illinois office of NASS.

Corn harvest also continues to be hindered by high crop moisture content and elevators are having difficulty keeping up with drying the grain, NASS reported.

The U.S soybean harvest is now nearly done with progress put at 94% as of Sunday, up 5 points from last week, but 3 points behind the five-year average.

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.