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Exploring new sorghum cultivars’ potential as forage crop for Upper MidwestExploring new sorghum cultivars’ potential as forage crop for Upper Midwest
Sep 28

TSTA Weekly Update, 09/28/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


Membership renewals for 2023-2024 have been mailed, please look for them!


Growout season is almost here! Please download a growout intention survey here and return it to the TSTA office via email attachment. It's important to have a reasonable idea of the acreage we'll be needing this winter.


Last year's growouts in Costa Rica were the best ever and the Gan Eden Farm in Puerto Rico does a great job year after year. Send your seed to either, or both, locations with confidence.


Please note that the TSTA Board of Directors has approved a policy whereby no company's seed may be entered into growouts if the invoice for that company's previous year's entries has not been satisfactorily settled.


Join the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) this December 5 - 8, 2023 at our NEW venue, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, for the Field Crop Seed Convention, an unparalleled seed business networking and educational opportunity. Gathering over 2,000 attendees from 36 countries, the Field Crop Seed Convention (formerly known as the CSS & Seed Expo) is THE place to see and be seen amongst the global community of companies working in all field crops, from corn and soybean, to wheat, rice, cotton, sorghum and so much more. Now in Orlando, after 77 years in Chicago, our new venue offers any and all seed industry stakeholders a wealth of new opportunities, in a central hub of exhibits, sessions and private meeting rooms all in one combined meeting space area. 

Visit the conference home page to learn more


The 35th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference will be December 5 & 6 at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. Click here for more info and to register


The Western Seed Association annual meeting is now accepting registrations. Click here to register.

A new wheat variety available for licensing.


TX17D2337 comes from the cross between LA04041D-63 (AGS2060/GA951079A25) and NC09-22206 (NC00-16203 // P26R24 / NC96-13965). TX17D2337 is a medium maturity, awned, white-glumed soft red winter wheat (SRWW) and is a below average height line with semi-erect early growth. It has a green color and semi-erect heads at maturity. The seed are red and soft-textured. TX17D2337 is medium maturing SRWW (106 d) in the 2021-2022 Texas A&M Soft Wheat Variety Trial similar to ‘Dyna-Gro 9811’ and ‘AGS 2055’ but was later than ‘GW 6000’ and earlier then ‘WB 2606’. TX17D2337 is a semi-dwarf wheat with below average height at 28.6 inches tall. AGS 2055 is taller while WB 2606 is shorter.


Please click here for more information and a request for proposals from Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed.

In an effort to update and maintain our membership records we request you take a few moments and fill out the very brief info request at the following link.


The link is secure and the information will be used internally by the Texas Seed Trade Association and never shared without your permission. This request is on behalf of your association's board of directors and officers and we greatly appreciate your cooperation. Thank you!


9/28/2023 - If you have not updated your information please take a moment and do so now. We appreciate it! We continue to update this database and need your input!


Source: Corteva Agriscience news release


Indianapolis, Ind. - To protect its intellectual property, Corteva (NYSE: CTVA) today filed suit against Inari Agriculture, Inc. and Inari Agriculture NV. As noted in the complaint, the lawsuit "...seeks to prevent Inari from continuing its brazen efforts to steal Corteva's groundbreaking work."


Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Inari deliberately used a third-party agent to obtain protected Corteva seeds, illegally exported the seeds out of the United States, made slight genetic modifications of the biotech traits and is seeking U.S. patents for those modified traits.


Corteva is filing the suit in recognition of the fact that such theft will, if left unchecked, set a dangerous precedent for the industry: agricultural innovations take decades of research and testing and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to bring to market.


Corteva alone invests nearly $4 million every single day on research and development. Investments of time and effort are equally substantial: for example, a single crop protection product takes an average of 13 years to reach market, a biotech trait takes almost 16 years and a new seed product can take seven years.


"Companies like ours are willing to make billions of dollars of investments in the future of agriculture not only because we want to contribute to the world around us, but also because we know that if our product is effective and serves farmers well, we can recoup our investment - and reinvest in the next game-changer," said Sam Eathington, Corteva's chief technology and digital officer. "Theft of proprietary technology hurts not only our company, but also, ultimately, our nation's farmers."


Every year, advances in technology help farmers increase yields and protect crops from devastating weeds and pests. Investments in innovation, including those made by Corteva, have helped American farmers, despite the historic storms, floods, droughts and heat waves of recent years, to produce 300% more per acre today than they did 70 years ago.


The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.


To read the entire statement">click here.


Editor's Note: Corteva Agriscience is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association

News Bits


The U.S. corn and soybeans harvests advanced about as expected last week. Some harvest delays are likely during the early part of this week, but most of the Midwest and Plains should be able to make another round of solid progress.


The USDA says that as of Sunday, 15% of U.S. corn is harvested, with 93% of the crop dented and 60% mature, all faster than normal, while 53% is rated good to excellent, up 2% on the week.


12% of soybeans are harvested and 73% are dropping leaves, both ahead of the respective five-year averages, with 50% of the crop called good to excellent down 2%.


26% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 29% on average, while 7% has emerged, compared to the usual rate of 6%.


96% of spring wheat is harvested, matching its typical pace.


13% of cotton is harvested, in-line with average, and 65% of bolls have opened, a little more than normal for late September, with 30% of the crop in good to excellent shape, 1% higher.


66% of rice is harvested, compared to 59% on average.


28% of harvested, with 92% coloring and 58% mature, all close to normal, with 42% of the crop in good to excellent condition, 1% below the previous week.


36% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are rated good to excellent, a week-to-week increase of 2%.


Tyne Morgan,


Move over Iowa, there's a new record farmland sale on the books. A piece of Missouri farmland underwent rapid-fire bidding, which racked the final price tag up to $34,800 per acre. The recent sale now beats out the previous record of $30,000 per acre in Iowa.


According to the bill of sale from Dyer and Fenner Auctioneers, the record sale happened last Thursday in Saline County, Mo. Two farmers got in a bidding war, and in just 15 minutes the 115 acres sold for $34,800 an acre, setting the new record.


The buyer wasn't an investor. The winning bid came from a farmer by the name of Jeff Baxter from neighboring Carroll County, Mo. According to area farmers, the competing bidder was a farmer who's home farm touches the land that was for sale.


Jim Rothermich of Iowa Appraisal says the bidding started at $15,000 an acre for the piece of ground that had been in the same family for four generations.


To read the entire article and watch a video click here.


The USDA says placements of cattle into U.S. feedlots during August were 2.003 million head, a decline of 5% on the year. That's tied to lower cow numbers caused by increased slaughter rates due to drought in many of the major feeding areas. Reduced feeder cattle imports from Mexico were also a factor in those smaller placements. Cattle placed into feedlots during August are typically marketed in late winter through late spring.


Marketings were 1.884 million head, 6% below August 2022 because of aggressive marketings earlier in the year.


The total number of cattle on feed in the U.S. on September 1st was 11.094 million head, a 2% decrease.


The numbers look supportive to cash and futures prices, but that will also depend on demand and how aggressive the industry gets at the rebuilding the U.S. herd.


Tyne Morgan,


Ag economists' view on the ag economy is starting to erode. The September Ag Economists' Monthly Monitor shows lower commodity prices, concerns about demand and a negative outlook for China's economy are all contributing to the changing views, even as the cattle herd and U.S. corn and soybean crops continue to shrink.


But the most influential piece of the farm economy might be the price of corn.


The Ag Economists' Monthly Monitor is a survey of nearly 60 ag economists from across the country, conducted by the University of Missouri and Farm Journal. The biggest story revealed in the September Monthly Monitor is the falloff in the ag economy -- all three categories are lower than any of the previous three surveys.


"I think a lot of things are coming together to make people more pessimistic about the short-term view of things," says Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at the University of Missouri.


"We've got lower prices for some of the major commodities, such as corn, and that's obviously a major player in all this. Higher interest rates aren't helping as well. There's just a general concern about the future of demand for U.S. agricultural products, which has probably gotten to be a more important concern this past month."


To read the entire article click here.


On 20 September, the European Commission published the draft Implementing Regulation for the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate for 10 years (link).


The Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG) welcomes the draft regulation, which builds on the strong science-based conclusions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

As mentioned by the Commission, “glyphosate has been subject to two comprehensive assessments since 2012, both of which did not identify any concerns indicating that the authorisation criteria laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 are not met“.


The next step is for EU member states to vote on the Commission’s proposal. The GRG believes that the decision should be based on the scientific conclusions, which would lead to a vote in favour of re-approval.

Exploring new sorghum cultivars’ potential as forage crop for Upper Midwest

Iowa State University release

Harvesting a sorghum field for yield trials conducted each year by Iowa State to evaluate biomass yield for hundreds of new hybrids. Photo courtesy of Maria Salas-Fernandez.


Sorghum is a productive and versatile annual crop used worldwide for livestock feed. Until now, the plant, which originated in the tropics, has done best in warmer regions with longer growing seasons than the Upper Midwest. 


A new USDA-supported project will test and release several new sorghum cultivars that promise high-yielding, nutritious forage for beef and dairy cattle operations in the north-central states. 


The project will be led by Maria Salas-Fernandez, associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University, who directs the northernmost public sorghum breeding program in the United States. 

The effort is funded by a $498,960 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. It will facilitate evaluation of Salas-Fernandez’s sorghum parental lines created from germplasm adapted for northern growing conditions, including drought-prone areas with sandy soils and low organic matter in the Dakotas and Wisconsin. 


“Sorghum offers a number of economic and environmental benefits,” Salas-Fernandez said. “The seed is cheaper than corn, and it grows well with fewer inputs of pesticides and fertilizer. At the same time, it is an annual crop that uses similar equipment and familiar cultivation methods, so it fits well with conventional crop rotations in this region.”


Partners on the project are Christopher Graham and Sara Bauder, South Dakota State University Extension; Marisol Berti, North Dakota State University; and Matt Akins, USDA Agricultural Research Service Dairy Forage Research Center in Wisconsin.


The team of researchers will evaluate advanced experimental sorghum hybrids for alternative systems (hay, green chopping, grazing and silage) in regional trials at eight locations in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Additionally, the treatments will be evaluated to help select the best performing hybrids for those production systems and locations and refine management recommendations. 


“Our overall goal is to take the next steps to make new sorghum germplasm available for public use to benefit beef and dairy producers in northern states to improve the profitability and sustainability of their farming operations,” Salas-Fernandez said. “It will also be especially valuable to numerous small and mid-size seed companies that do not have proprietary sorghum germplasm and help them supply the best performing cultivars for their northern clients.” 


Another focus of Salas-Fernandez’ work has been the development of sorghum strains tailored for biomass production in northern latitudes. Tests of those materials in Iowa and Michigan, including at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, have had promising results.


Editor's Note: It always seems a bit entertaining to us when other parts of the country "discover" sorghum. And surely we have forage sorghums that work in Iowa.


Source: Farm Policy Facts news release


American farm families feed, fuel, and clothe America. A new survey from the American Sugar Alliance shows that American voters recognize the importance of agriculture and want Congress to prioritize American farmers in the next Farm Bill, provide them with a strong and reliable safety net, and protect them from foreign entities that could displace American farmers and workers and disrupt our national food supply.


Nearly two-thirds of voters asked in a national survey said that the domestic food supply should be less dependent on foreign suppliers. This result cut across political affiliations and geographical regions. That's no surprise, considering food security is national security.


When it came to the sweet question of where Americans choose to buy their sugar from, eight times as many voters preferred American-made sugar compared to those who preferred imported sugar.


That's because sugar in the U.S. is grown by 11,000 family farmers who raise sugarbeets and sugarcane. In turn, those crops and U.S. sugar production help support more than 151,000 workers in more than two dozen states. The U.S. sugar industry adheres to labor, environmental, and safety standards far beyond those of most foreign suppliers while receiving no direct payments from the U.S. government.


"The results of this national survey demonstrate the strong voter sentiment in favor of the U.S. sugar industry and the need for Congress to support our farmers and workers in the Farm Bill. Clearly, voters value domestic sugar production and don't want to depend on foreign suppliers for an essential food ingredient," said Cassie Bladow, Chairwoman of the American Sugar Alliance.


Also notable is that 71% of voters support U.S. sugar policy because it keeps sugar affordable and ensures a reliable domestic supply of an essential ingredient, as well as protects farmers, at no cost to the American taxpayer.


House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson said it best: "Our U.S. sugar industry is all family owned - so are we going to support foreign families or American farm families?"


Sugar crops are just two of the hundreds of crops farmers grow every day to feed our families. American voters have made it clear they support our farmers, so Congress must do the same by investing in our farmers and providing a robust farm safety net.


Between this revealing data and the powerful testimonials from U.S. sugar farmers, it's clear that Americans know that food security is national security - and Congress must support our farmers and workers by strengthening the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and providing a robust farm safety net.


In Congress' Own Words


Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle agree: Food security is national security. The importance of agriculture is an issue that unites us. As Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) said, "ag is that one thing that while most people may think that it is only rural, it affects all of us. It is rural, it is urban, it is who we are in this country."



The Farm Bill Expires Saturday


The next farm bill is believed to be headed in the realm of $1.5T (yes, trillion). We've never had a farm bill over a trillion dollars but with a $33T deficit it hardly seems worth worry to our public policy makers.


SNAP expenditures have climbed to over

$100 billion per year, making SNAP the second-

largest means-tested program for low-income families in the United States, behind only Medicaid.

Nutrition programs are projected to comprise 84% of the 2023 farm bill, compared to the 76% in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the official name of the most recent omnibus.


Conservatives believe the work requirements for SNAP eligibility should expand for adults without childcare responsibilities from the current cap of 49 year-olds to those 55 years old and younger. Liberals say that's a fight waiting to happen.


Joe Outlaw, the Texas A&M extension economist and co-director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center, has told AgWeb that if the farm bill is not passed by February, the bill could be delayed for two years and farmers could face a financial crisis.

“The conservatives in Washington, at least for the time being, they are not even wanting to fund the government because they want to cut payments. So in that environment, I don’t see a lot of ad hoc disaster going out,” Outlaw told AgWeb.


With a long, drawn-out fight to finish the farm bill likely, Outlaw said, farmers need to start making their voices heard. “Within two years, prices are going to be below your cost of production, unless something happens on the input side,” Outlaw said. “That means we’re not going to be making any money. We shouldn’t have to wait until there are problems, but unfortunately, the way things work in Washington these days, we tend to have to have a crisis to get things done.”


Editor's Note: There is also a LOT of confusion over the Congressional Budget Office baselines and their relevance moving forward through the tenure of the farm bill given when they were established. Commodity reference prices are maintained at their 2014 levels which is a bit of a joke. On top of the farm bill expiring on Saturday the federal government may shutdown on Sunday.


Source: USDA news release


Before 1970, most crop breeding was done in the public sector. Seed companies lacked incentives to invest in crop breeding because they had no legal mechanism to restrict unlicensed use of improved seed, except for hybrid seed, which could be protected through trade secrets.


The 1970 Plant Variety Protection Act aimed to encourage seed companies to improve crop varieties beyond hybrid seed. That aim was cemented after several court rulings ensured the private sector could benefit from its research into new seed varieties and genetically modified traits. In the following years, the number of intellectual property rights, such as Plant Variety Protection certificates, plant patents, and utility patents, began to rise.


Genetically modified varieties of corn, soybeans, and cotton were introduced in the United States in 1996 and became the dominant seed choice among farmers within a few years. From 2016 to 2020, a total of 5,137 plant patents, 5,010 utility patents, and 2,028 Plant Variety Protection certificates were issued for new crop varieties, more than double the rate of a decade earlier.

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The articles, views, and opinions expressed in the Weekly Update do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Texas Seed Trade Association or the opinions of its members.