(Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reopened Mississippi River lock 17 in southern Iowa early on Wednesday, ending a five-day closure that had halted grain barge shipping though the area as the Midwest corn and soybean harvest accelerated.

The lock near New Boston, Illinois, had been the only flooding-related lock closure following excessive rains in the upper Midwest last month. Initially, National Weather Service forecasts suggested as many as three locks could close.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago)