GRAINS-U.S. soybeans fall as harvest speeds up; corn, wheat firm

(Updates with closing prices)

CHICAGO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures eased on Tuesday after a U.S. government report showed that farmers had increased their pace of harvesting what is expected to be a massive crop after a slow start, analysts said.

Corn and wheat futures also settled in positive territory, recovering early losses after holding support at key technical points. But bearish reports from the field kept the gains in check.

The soybean harvest flooded country elevators and processors with supplies which pressured bids on the cash market and cast a negative tone on future prices.

"Soybeans caught downward pressure in overnight trading as the pace of the U.S. harvest nearly caught up to the five-year average," Farm Futures analyst Bryce Knorr said in a note to clients.

The U.S. soybean harvest was 70 percent complete, ahead of analysts' forecast of 64 percent, the U.S. Agriculture Department said in its weekly crop progress and conditions report. That leaves farmers only 3 percentage points behind their five-year average.

Chicago Board of Trade November soybean futures ended down 5-1/4 cents at $9.75-1/2 a bushel.

The corn harvest, at 38 percent complete, remained 21 percentage points behind the typical pace. Analysts had been expecting the corn harvest to be 44 percent complete.

But the USDA assessed 66 percent of the U.S. corn crop as being in good to excellent condition, which compared with analysts' forecast of 65 percent.

"Part of the reason for the slow harvest is that the yields are better than expected," Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital.

CBOT December corn ended up 1-1/2 cents at $3.52-3/4 a bushel. Support was noted at the contract's 10-day moving average.

The USDA said 75 percent of U.S. winter wheat was planted, ahead of analysts' forecast of 73 percent.

"U.S. wheat planting is also going well while large wheat export supplies from the Black Sea region continue to be a burden," said Graydon Chong, senior commodity analyst with Rabobank. "Some background support is coming from fears of a large reduction in the Australian crop after poor weather."

CBOT December soft red winter wheat was up 1-1/4 cents at $4.38 a bushel. Support was noted at the contract's five-day moving average. (Additional reporting by Michael Hogan in Hamburg and Colin Packham in Sydney; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Sandra Maler)