It's still really early in the growing season, but the weed, insect and disease pressures are already popping up in young and emerging corn and soybean fields around the Midwest, agronomists report.
They're all fairly familiar pests whose treatments will likely be just as familiar. But, chances are you'll still need to do some good old-fashioned crop scouting to get a sense for whether or not you'll have your hands full taking care of them both in the short and longer-term.
Heading toward mid-May, here are the pests and disease for which you'll need to be on the lookout.
There are conflicting factors underpinning choppy, mixed grain prices as Monday's session gets underway, with corn and wheat futures dipping into the red while soybean futures have moved slightly into positive territory.
Monsanto officials confirmed late last week they'd made a bid to buy fellow agribusiness giant Syngenta, whose company officials said Friday they'd "unanimously determined to reject" the merger. The move was decried by critics for the consolidated company's existing dominance over a massive portion of the seed and chemical business, but it was lauded by supporters as a way to "deliver significant value" to both shareholders and farmer customers.
A trio of factors look to weigh on grain prices Monday.
If you find yourself with a fair number of acres yet to plant and time starting to run short on your farm, make sure you look at all the factors before you hatch a plan on how to proceed from today forward.
Reports of rainfall throughout the last week and new forecasts for additional rain in parts of the Corn Belt this weekend will likely keep a lid on any potential gains heading toward the week's last open outcry session on Friday.
Though cash prices generally remain mostly higher right now, the grain futures market can't sustain much upside a day after the wheat market showed life to close higher and take corn with it. Thursday's trade saw all futures contracts for the 3 major grains end the day lower on the CME Group floor.
Crude oil prices have been steadily climbing since about mid-March, now toiling around the $60-per-barrel mark, one that some analysts say is a critical price point that could signal more upside momentum to come. Though a lot of analysts in the energy sector say it's not time to batten down the hatches in preparation for another runup to $80 or $100 a barrel yet, it's a sign that a low is in, at least for the remainder of spring and summer.
Wheat futures are still hanging on to slight gains after a sharply higher day Wednesday, while corn and soybeans are moving lower as midday approaches Thursday: Outside factors and expected improvements in planting weather are ganging up on the grains in a session that has started out on a sour note for the bulls.
Year-over-year prices for finished steers remain high, but it looks like in general, cattle futures have peaked for the season, and that's likely to trim gains heading into summer. The cattle business has responded to supply-driven price movement and begun to trim the overall herd size. Although that's fundamentally bullish, the industry looks to face a lot of uncertainty -- and resulting price risk -- in the next few months, says one economist.