GRAINS-Soybean futures rise in bid for U.S. acreage; corn, wheat weak

(Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, changes byline, dateline; previous PARIS/SINGAPORE)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday, gaining ground on corn contracts as the market tried to entice farmers to boost acreage of the oilseed despite the yellow grain's rally to its highest in nearly eight years earlier this week.

"The last two weeks all the talk has been about the corn and the dryness and the cold weather," said Mark Gold, managing partner at Top Third Ag Marketing. "Today it is just the beans saying, 'Don't forget about us.'"

Corn futures were steady while wheat weakened on a profit-taking setback after hitting their highest since March 8 during the overnight trading session.

All three commodities have rallied this week, with corn on track for its third straight week of gains and fourth in the last five weeks.

At 10:55 a.m. CDT (1554 GMT), Chicago Board of Trade soybeans for May delivery were up 8-1/4 cents at $14.26-1/2 a bushel. The most-active contract hit its highest on a continuous basis since April 1.

Strength in soyoil added support to soybeans, which rallied on concerns about tight global vegetable oil supplies.

CBOT May corn futures were down 5-3/4 cents at $5.84-1/4 a bushel and CBOT May wheat was 5 cents lower at $6.48-3/4 a bushel.

Traders said that investment funds, which have built up a near-record long stake in corn, were unwinding that position, adding pressure to the market.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission will release its weekly report on fund positions on Friday afternoon.

Concerns about falling temperatures in the U.S. Plains limited the selling in wheat futures.

"Colder trends in Plains wheat next week push lows near threshold for damage," Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, David Evans and Jonathan Oatis)

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