* U.S. wheat near highest in around 11 months
* Dry soils stress wheat in U.S. Plains
* China rejects more U.S. corn on GMO concerns
(Recasts, updates prices, adds analyst quotes; changes byline, dateline, previously LONDON) CHICAGO, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. corn futures were narrowly lower on Tuesday, easing after a steep climb in prices in the previous session as investors squared positions ahead of a major government crop report due next week. Wheat also declined slightly while soybeans headed for modest gains, with futures for each commodity trading in both positive and negative territory at the Chicago Board of Trade. "Every so often, the market needs to take a break and consolidate," said Bob Utterback, analyst at Utterback Marketing in New Richmond, Indiana. Closely watched analytics firm Informa Economics at midday reduced its forecast for U.S. corn plantings to 93.029 million acres and trimmed its soybean estimate to 81.204 million acres, trade sources said. The estimates came in advance of the U.S. Agriculture Department's annual spring plantings report slated for release on Monday that will estimate how many acres U.S. farmers will plant of each of the major crops. "The market is just anticipating the March 31 report, and that's what we're waiting for," said Chris Manns, analyst at the Traders Group in Chicago. Corn and wheat futures had surged in the first session of the week on worries that bitter winter conditions in the United States could harm the wheat crop and delay corn plantings. But investors were reluctant to expand positions ahead of the crop report that typically results in wild gyrations in prices. "We're going to see a lot of evening up," Manns said. CBOT May corn fell 2-1/4 cents to $4.87-3/4 per bushel while CBOT May wheat was down 1-1/4 cent at $7.13-1/4 per bushel as of 11:02 a.m. CST (1702 GMT). Soybeans for May delivery were 6-1/4 cents higher at $14.31-3/4 per bushel. Warmer weather was forecast in the U.S. Corn Belt while rains were expected on Wednesday in the parched winter wheat belt in the southern U.S. Plains, an agriculture meteorologist said. Meanwhile, China has turned away more U.S. corn after detecting an unapproved genetically modified strain in shipments, with buyers waiting for sales from the country's huge state reserves or shifting to cheap grain from Ukraine.
Prices at 11:02 a.m. CDT (1602 GMT)
LAST NET PCT YTD CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn 487.75 -2.25 -0.5% 15.6% CBOT soy 1431.75 6.25 0.4% 9.1% CBOT meal 465.50 3.50 0.8% 6.4% CBOT soyoil 40.97 0.13 0.3% 5.5% CBOT wheat 713.25 -1.25 -0.2% 17.8% CBOT rice 1542.50 -9.50 -0.6% -0.5% EU wheat 213.25 -0.50 -0.2% 2.0% US crude 99.95 0.35 0.4% 1.6% Dow Jones 16,316 40 0.2% -1.6% Gold 1311.20 2.08 0.2% 8.8% Euro/dollar 1.3776 -0.0062 -0.4% 0.9% Dollar Index 80.1550 0.2210 0.3% 0.1% Baltic Freight 1578 -24 -1.5% -30.7%
(Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in London, Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by Jane Baird and Meredith Mazzilli)