Chicago soybean futures rose for a third straight session on Wednesday to a five-week peak, with bargain-buying and expectations of higher demand underpinning the market.
Wheat was largely unchanged, hovering close to last session's contract low as the improving condition of the U.S. winter crop added pressure to prices.
Chicago Board of Trade January soybeans had climbed 0.2 percent to $8.91 a bushel by 0308 GMT, after climbing earlier in the session to a five-week high of $8.92 a bushel
Wheat was unchanged at $4.71-1/2 a bushel, after closing down 0.8 percent on Tuesday when prices fell to a contract low of $4.70-3/4 a bushel. March corn lost 0.1 percent to $3.73-1/4 a bushel.
"Soybeans are recovering as prices had fallen too low," said Ole Houe, an analyst at brokerage IKON Commodities in Sydney. "It could be building up to a rally as funds are near record short in beans."
Soybeans and soymeal have drawn support from bargain-buying after prices fell to multi-year lows last month, due in part to fears that Argentine farmers might sell soybeans aggressively following a Nov. 22 presidential election.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said fuel companies need to use 18.1 billion gallons of renewables in 2016, stoking expectations of increased demand for ethanol and biodiesel.
Soybean oil is the main feedstock for biodiesel in the United States and corn is used to produce ethanol.
The corn market remains under pressure on prospects of higher production in Argentina.
Argentina's farmers are racing to plant more corn now a new farm-friendly government is taking power, increasing the area planted by 10 percent over previous estimates, and making more exports likely from one of the world's biggest suppliers.
Heavy El Nino rainfall in southern Brazil is causing problems for companies trying to load large volumes of corn from the world's No. 2 exporter, according to market operators.
U.S. winter wheat was rated 55 percent good-to-excellent as of Sunday, compared with 53 percent a week ago and higher than the market expectation of 54 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Monday.
Commodity funds bought an estimated net 6,000 CBOT soybean contracts on Tuesday, trade sources said. The funds also were net buyers of 3,000 corn contracts and net sellers of 4,000 wheat contracts, they said. (Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Joseph Radford)