SAO PAULO, May 16 (Reuters) - The harvesting of grains such as soy, corn and rice in Brazil's flood-devastated Rio Grande do Sul advanced slowly in the last week as relentless rains and stubbornly high waters fail to subside, disrupting work.

According to state crop agency Emater on Thursday, soybean harvesting in the country's second-largest producing state reached 85% of the area, up from 78% last week, even as weather conditions remained unfavorable and severely damaged crops.

"There was a sharp reduction in grain quality in comparison to the product obtained before the excess rain," Emater said, referring to soybeans.

The agency predicted part of the soy area that remains to be harvested in Rio Grande do Sul could be "abandoned" because it would be uneconomical for farmers to reap their beans under the present conditions.

The deadly floods, which submerged entire towns and damaged critical infrastructure, led forecasts to cut the state's soy production estimate between 1.78 million tons and 3 million tons in recent days.

In the town of Canoas, 100,000 tons of soybeans are at risk after a warehouse belonging to privately owned soy crusher Bianchini was flooded.

Emater noted that rice silos also were compromised after floods hit those structures, causing power outages and preventing the ventilation of grains. The agency also emphasized the impossibility to move produce from the affected storage units due to damaged roads.

To date, there is no precise estimate of the number of rice silos flooded by water, Emater said. Farmers have yet to harvest 14% of their rice fields in Rio Grande do Sul, it added.

In Frederico Westphalen, corn silage silos were damaged by rain or suffered water infiltration, generating considerable losses, Emater said.

Rains and high air humidity over recent weeks have caused both quantitative and qualitative losses to corn, the agency said.

"Again, in the few harvest opportunities that emerged, soybeans were prioritized over corn," Emater said. This resulted on an increase of just 2% of the corn area harvested from the previous week, to 88%. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Richard Chang)