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Photo of Puerto Rico Growouts late last week in January 2024

Jan 18

TSTA Weekly Update - 01/18/2024

Member News


Growout Update
Invoices have been mailed to winter growout participants. Progress of the growouts is reported to be excellent. As a reminder the TSTA Board of Directors made a policy decision last spring that no growout information would be forwarded to participants until payment for the growouts was received from the respective participant. We sincerely appreciate your prompt attention.

Below is a shot of the Puerto Rico Growouts late last week.


The Texas Seed Trade Association Annual Membership & Policy Meeting Scheduled for February 11-13, 2024. Registration and Hotel Reservations are Live.


The room block is full. That does not necessarily mean we can't get you a room but you'll have to call Denise at 512-944-5052 and she'll do her best to accommodate you at our room rate. This is actually a good problem to have!


Senator Pete Flores will be with us on Monday as our special guest and speaker. Senator Flores has been a strong supporter of the Texas seed trade and will share his thoughts with us concerning Texas' future.


Dr. Paul De Laune, Texas AgriLife, will share his thoughts and research findings on applicability of cover crops in Texas agriculture. Cover crops are, finally, beginning to grab attention in Texas and may represent an opportunity for additional seed sales. How do they work in relatively dry agro-ecosystems? Come and listen to Dr. De Laune and bring your questions.


Katrina Horn will provide an overview of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Crop Testing Program and its fit with seed companies.


Jeff Claxton from the Texas Department of Agriculture will lead a discussion on "variety not stated" small grain sales in Texas. TDA is a critical partner in combating VNS seed sales and we've got to find a way to all work together on this issue. Please come prepared to share your thoughts on this important topic.


Dr. Rick Vierling, Texas AgriLife Research, will provide an update on the Texas Foundation Seed Service facilities and programs. Rick plays a key role in our battle against VNS seed sales in Texas as well as administrate Foundation Seeds.


Jeb Owen, Texas Department of Agriculture, will provide an update on the certified seed winter growouts by location and share his thoughts on their future.


Pat Miller, American Seed Trade Association. will be with us to provide an update on ASTA activities, what's going on in other states that may find its way to Texas and the ongoing regulatory struggles with treated seed.


Registration is open and can be completed using this link.


The TSTA Board of Directors will meet on Tuesday February 13, in the morning.


Don't forget to bring an auction item for the scholarship fundraiser at the President's Reception & Dinner Monday evening.



Does anyone have a copy of "The Map?"


There have been recent requests for a copy of "the map" that was used to delineate the boundaries and plat of where TSTA members were planning to planting seed fields. The map was a detailed description of the High Plains showing individual fields and field boundaries and was essentially filled in annually at an event in Lubbock or Amarillo.


Apparently the practice stopped several years ago and the map hasn't been seen since. Any ideas where it might be would be appreciated. Please contact the TSTA office via reply email to this Weekly Update with clues.


German Farmers Stage National Protest


Editor's Note: We reported last year on the Dutch farm protest over regulatory action on carbon deposition, animal agriculture, use of nitrogen fertilizers, etc. Dutch farmers are still upset by what they view as arbitrary rule-making to placate political agendas. German farmers erupted in protest last week citing the elimination of subsidies for farm diesel versus road use diesel. But it's deeper than that. Both German and Dutch farmers operate in a regulatory environment that far surpasses ours. Their ability to make a profit from farming has all but disappeared and the real culprit is the cost of regulatory compliance. There's a lesson here if we're listening. Many interviews with German farmers reveal they only want a chance to continue farming and support their families. This is relevant to the seed industry because it's hard to imagine extracting a fair profit for your hard work providing quality seed when farmers no longer make a profit. Just last week we published an article that forecast Illinois corn and soybean farmers will lose money on every acre of corn and beans they plant next year. The difference, so far, is regulatory costs have not crippled U.S. farmers like Dutch and German farmers. We think if it can happen in Holland and Germany it can happen here.


(Reuters) - Germany's Finance Minister Christian Lindner took to the stage on Monday in front of thousands of jeering farmers protesting against tax rises and told them there was no money for further subsidies.


Berlin has been brought to a near standstill by the demonstration, which filled one of its central avenues with trucks and tractors as some 10,000 farmers arrived to cap a week of protests that have become a flashpoint for anti-government anger.


"I can't promise you more state aid from the federal budget," Lindner told the crowd from a chilly stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate. "But we can fight together for you to enjoy more freedom and respect for your work."


The protests have heaped pressure on Chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition as it struggles to fix a budget mess and contain right-wing groups.


The protests erupted after a government decision to phase out a tax break on agricultural diesel as it tried to balance its 2024 budget following a constitutional court ruling in November forced it to revise its spending plans.


Facing a backlash, the government has already said it would maintain a tax rebate on new agricultural vehicles and spread the scrapping of the agricultural diesel subsidy over several years.

But farmers, with the vocal backing of the opposition conservatives and the far-right, say that is not enough.


"I have respect for every politician who is prepared to come to us," said Farmers' Union head Joachim Rukwied, who at one moment had to take the microphone from Lindner and beg the crowd to stop jeering for long enough to listen to him.


"The finance minister is here," he said. "It makes no sense to boo him."


The government has taken a conciliatory tone as concern has grown that political debate has become radicalised and demonstrations could turn violent.

German farmers and tractorcade at the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin


Disruption caused by protests and train strikes, opens new tab last week hurt coalition parties in the polls and propelled the far-right Alternative for Germany party to new heights.


At a later meeting with protest leaders in parliament, coalition legislators promised, without giving details, to unveil proposals on Thursday that would lower costs to farmers while making their sector "sustainable".



Lindner, describing himself as a lad from the countryside who had mucked out stables in his time, sought to win over farmers by contrasting their peaceful protest in Berlin to the behaviour of climate activists who had sprayed paint on the Brandenburg Gate - "the symbol of German national unity".


But he said scarce money was needed for long neglected investments in schools and roads and for industrial energy subsidies.


Jeers grew louder when Lindner said money was needed because of the war in Ukraine.

"With the war in Ukraine, peace and freedom in Europe are threatened once again, so we have to invest once again in our security as we used to," he said.


Complaints ranging from high energy costs to competition from Ukrainian grain have driven farm protests around Europe in recent months. On Monday, Romanian farmers protested near border crossings with Ukraine, a vital lifeline for Kyiv's war effort, to drive home their demand for more public support.


Tractors and trucks that arrived overnight from across Germany parked nose-to-tail along the route. Crowds of farmers, wrapped up against the cold, waved German flags and held up banners marked with slogans including: "Without farmers, no future".


The governing parties are divided over how best to meet farmers' demands. Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir, a Green, has suggested financial rewards for humane animal husbandry, while some Social Democrats want to offer higher produce prices, and Lindner's Free Democrats want to cut administrative overheads.


Several bus and tram lines closed for the protest, which was patrolled by around 1,300 officers, police said.


Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Linda Pasquini, additional reporting for Sibylle de la Hamaide in Paris; Reuters TV; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Barbara Lewis and Ros Russell





By Kirk Maltais, Wall Street Journal


Americans are eating more cheese and butter. That has dairy farmers scrambling to get their cows to produce fattier milk.


The efforts include using different cow breeds and feed mixes, and making sure animals are comfortable and don't get too hot. The result is that the average amount of butterfat in milk produced by U.S. dairy herds has climbed past 4% and above the previous record set during World War II.


Just five years ago, dairy farmer Melvin Medeiros said his herd consisted entirely of Holsteins, the black-and-white spotted animals often shown in TV commercials. Now about 70% are brown Jersey cows, which are smaller but produce a fattier milk.


"We wanted to graduate to a more efficient cow," said Medeiros, who operates a 500-acre dairy farm in California's Fresno County.


The switch reflects the resurgence of dairy products like cheese and butter as low-fat diets have faded in popularity. Cheese consumption is at an all-time high, with Americans eating an average of 42 pounds a year in 2022, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is up 17% over the previous decade.


After climbing in recent years, butter consumption slipped to 6 pounds per person in 2022, but is still up 9% from a decade earlier.


Milk consumption, meanwhile, has continued to slide and is at 130 pounds per person a year, a 23% drop from a decade earlier.


To read the entire article click here.



Source: Weed Science Society of America


WESTMINISTER, COLORADO -- Recently published research in the journal Weed Science provides new mechanistic insights into S-metolachlor resistance in waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus). Specifically, the study points to a single major gene that controls metabolic resistance to S-metolachlor (the active ingredient in Dual Magnum and Dual II Magnum), in the Stanford, Illinois resistant (SIR) population, which represents a relatively new and recent type of non-target-site resistance in waterhemp--to soil-applied, Group 15 herbicides.


"Waterhemp has ascended to its current status as the worst weed threatening Corn Belt crop production during the last thirty years," says Dean Riechers, Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "In that time, waterhemp has developed resistance to seven herbicide sites-of-action classes, creating extremely difficult management challenges to farmers as they try to control it."


The good news is that the germplasm derived from this research can assist in identifying the gene(s) and gene mutations conferring resistance to S-metolachlor in waterhemp. This is significant, due to the inherent difficulty in studying weed resistance to soil-applied, residual herbicides (like S-metolachlor and other Group 15 herbicides) compared to investigating foliar-applied resistance. In addition, published research on the inheritance of resistance to Group 15 herbicides in dicot weed species is lacking compared to weedy grasses.


"This study's results are important because they clearly define the crosses and populations needed to properly investigate inheritance of S-metolachlor resistance in the SIR waterhemp population," says Riechers. "We've identified a single, major gene that confers resistance, and a second, recessive gene that may also modify S-metolachlor resistance in SIR, which are both new discoveries."


The study's findings will also help establish a baseline for future molecular-genetic studies to pinpoint metabolic resistance traits in other dioecious weedy amaranths, such as Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri), which have separate male and female plants. More information is available in the article, "Inheritance of resistance to S-metolachlor in a waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) population from central Illinois."


The research is featured in Volume 71, Issue 6 of Weed Science, a Weed Science Society of America journal, published online by Cambridge University Press.


Scientists have discovered a novel gene in rice that promotes root development and provides tolerance to abiotic stresses. The gene can be utilized as a molecular marker to develop rice that is tolerant to extreme environmental conditions.

Root architecture and function are essential for plants to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. However, environmental stresses can affect the development of the roots. Jasmonic acid (JA), a phytohormone that controls plant growth and stress response, can help with this issue, but its function in root development for environmental adaptability has not been thoroughly studied.


Researchers from various institutions in Taiwan discovered a JA Upregulated Protein 1 gene (JAUP1) that works together with JA to enact various functions in rice. JAUP1 induces JA biosynthesis, which activates a series of genes that promote root growth and multi-stress tolerance in rice. Increased expression of JAUP1 also minimizes grain yield loss even if there is a limited water supply, which will help with water conservation.


Read the journal article on Plant Biotechnology Journal for more information.


News Bits


POLITICO reports:


In mid-December, OCI Global announced it was selling its subsidiary Iowa Fertilizer Co. for $3.6 billion to Koch Industries, one of the nation's top fertilizer producers. The Iowa Fertilizer plant has received millions in state and local taxpayer-funded subsidies and tax abatements, the Des Moines Register reported.


Now, some critics are warning that the deal, which is subject to antitrust review by federal regulators, could diminish competition for fertilizer, as farmers have endured high prices related to the war in Ukraine and other supply chain tangles, Marcia writes. Without that competition, critics say, domestic fertilizer prices could be pushed even higher and taxpayer-funded investments to juice competition in agricultural markets could be wasted.


"The more than half a billion in taxpayer dollars offered to build the plant was intended to create jobs, increase competition, and drive down costs," wrote Scott Syroka, a former city council member in Johnston, Iowa in December. "Permitting the Koch deal to go through would achieve exactly the opposite."


Likewise, the anti-monopoly group Farm Action warns that the deal demonstrates the need for safeguards for federal grant money.


"These corporations are robbing farmers of their profits and driving up food prices for consumers," the group warned in a recent blog. "They shouldn't benefit from the very government projects meant to curb their industry power." To read the blog click here.


The Biden administration has made it a priority to expand domestic fertilizer production, making up to $900 million available for the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program.

To read more about that program click here.


OCI Global and Koch Industries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


The nearly 45,000-acre P5 Ranch - the largest contiguous ranch in the state of Kansas - has officially changed ownership.


Located in Hamilton and Kearny counties about 24 miles west of Garden City, the ranch was recently sold by Whitetail Properties Real Estate. Spanning 44,923 +/- acres, it is the company's largest property sale by acreage to date.


Mitch Keeley and Adam Hann, the Whitetail Properties Land Specialists in western Kansas who handled the sale, said P5 Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind property. "Usually when we sell a property, it's either a farm, cattle operation or recreational land," said Keeley. "We often represent properties that fit one of these categories, but what's so unique about the P5 is it combines all three property types. It's very hard to find something like this in Kansas."


Consisting of over 40,000 acres of prime pastureland and more than 2,700 acres of pivot irrigated and dryland tillable ground, the P5 Ranch has the ability to support a capacity of 6,500 to 8,000 head of cattle. The 17 irrigation pivots on the ranch are used for growing alfalfa, triticale and corn to support the high capacity of livestock grazing the ranch.


In addition to its top-notch agriculture qualities, the P5 offers some of the best hunting in the state. With over 17 miles of Arkansas River frontage, it provides incredible whitetail, mule deer and elk hunting along the river and throughout the sandhills. High populations of upland birds inhabit the ranch, and a 36-acre lake provides excellent waterfowl opportunities as well.


To top it off, the ranch is complete with a large log cabin, which has provided housing for hunters on the ranch over the years. There are also four ranch houses for ranch employees.


Hann said it is also very rare to find a ranch of this size in such high-quality condition. "The P5 has been exceptionally well-maintained over the years with excellent fencing, new irrigation pivots and as clean of a ranch as you'll find anywhere in the Midwest," he said.


The selling price is not being disclosed, although it is described by Whitetail Properties as "top of the market" for a ranch of this magnitude. The former owners' decision to sell was based on not wanting to burden the next generation of ownership with the future responsibility of selling or handing off the ranch.