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Aug 17

TSTA Weekly Update, 08/17/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


Our Amarillo Sod Poodles rain-out last month has been rescheduled! Friday September 15, dinner at 6:30PM to 7:30PM. Your Sod Poodles take on the Frisco Roughriders at 7:05PM. The Sod Poodles are HOT right now and look like they are going to stay hot so plan on attending with your fellow seed professionals.


We were, originally, scheduled for a club box when our game was rained out last month. Unfortunately all the boxes are booked the reminder of the year so we've moved to the picnic area. This area is "outside" but is shaded and should be very comfortable. The good news is we went from being able to accommodate 25 people to 35 people. This is first reserved - first dibs so please let the TSTA staff know your intentions. Plan to bring some of your own people and meet with your friendly competitors at this fun event!


TSTA staff will be unable to join you but we scarcely think that will dampen anything and we're hopeful Mother Nature won't dampen anything this time either. Food is included and the first 35 get free admission to the game. We're working on getting your first couple of drinks covered by the association at the game. Looks like we're going to be able to do that!


Reserve your spot(s) today! It's pretty easy; reply to this email or call 512-944-5052.


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. 


You don't want to miss this year. Make plans now to join us in Orlando and bring the family along too, for their own special options!

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. More info to come as the dates approaches.


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!


8/17/2023 - 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!

News Bits


The USDA's national corn and soybean condition ratings rose over the past week. That followed another week of generally beneficial conditions in much of the Midwest ahead of what could be a warmer, drier pattern to end August and start September.


As of Sunday, 59% of U.S. corn is called good to excellent, up 2% on the week, with 96% of the crop silking, 65% at the dough making stage, and 18% dented, all steady with or slightly ahead of the respective five-year averages.


59% of soybeans are in good to excellent shape, a jump of 5%, with 94% of the crop blooming and 78% the pod setting stage, both faster than average.


92% of winter wheat is harvested, matching its usual pace.


42% of spring wheat is rated good to excellent, 1% higher, with 24% harvested, compared to 28% on average.


36% of cotton is in good to excellent condition, a drop of 5%, with 96% squaring, 72% setting bolls, and 13% of bolls opened, all slower than normal.


67% of the rice crop is reported as good to excellent, 4% under last week, with 87% of the crop headed and 14% harvested, both ahead of schedule.


54% of sorghum is good to excellent, down 4%, with 71% headed and 30% coloring, behind their five-year averages.


40% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are in good to excellent condition, 2% lower than a week ago.


The USDA's weekly crop progress and condition reports run through the end of November.


POLITICO reports:


Nearly 18 months of fighting have taken a heavy toll on Ukraine's grain production, the newest U.S. Agriculture Department forecast confirms, while Russian farmers are expected to harvest another bumper crop this year, our Doug Palmer reports.


By the numbers: Ukraine is forecast to produce just 21 million metric tons of wheat this year, the USDA said Friday in its latest global crop forecast. On the bright side, that's higher than the department's July forecast of 17.5 million tons. But it is only about two-thirds of Ukraine's pre-war level.


USDA also projected Ukrainian farmers will harvest only about 34 million tons of corn and other coarse grains in 2023, far less than the 53.5 million tons harvested the year before the war.


What they're saying: USDA chief economist Seth Meyer said in an interview that Ukrainian farmers cut back on planted acreage this year in response to higher transportation costs and lower prices caused by the war.

Ukrainian producers earned less from their crops, even with a U.N.-brokered deal that kept some grain flowing out of Black Sea ports and "Solidarity Lanes" created by the EU to funnel overland shipments.


"They went from having pretty good prices relative to the rest of the world to not-so-great prices relative to world prices" because of increased transportation costs, Meyer said. It's possible Ukrainian farmers could plant even less next year because of the continuing squeeze, he added.


What's next: The expected sharp drop in production is one reason USDA is forecasting Ukraine to export just 10.5 million tons of wheat in the 2023-24 marketing year, down from about 19 million in 2021-22, which included the first few months of the war, and nearly 17 million last year.

USDA also projects Ukraine's coarse grain exports will fall to 21.4 million tons in 2023-24, from 32.9 million in 2021-22 and 30.8 million last year.


USDA release



Source: American Seed Trade Association


On July 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a partnership with attorneys general in 31 states and the District of Columbia to enhance competition and protect consumers in food and agricultural markets. The new partnership is intended to assist state attorneys general in tackling anticompetitive market structures in agriculture and related industries.


This latest move builds on the "whole of government" approach outlined in President Biden's Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.


Additionally, USDA announced the formal establishment of the Farmer Seed Liaison initiative, launched in March following the publication of the report, More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs.


As part of the Farmer Seed Liaison efforts, USDA announced the launch of a new web resource to simplify access to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) pending docket of plant patents and plant breeding-related utility patents.


You can sign-up to receive Seed Sower, the Farmer Seed Liaison newsletter with information about ongoing activities of the Farmer Seed Liaison initiative.


Editor's Note: And so the saga continues. So far no new rules pertaining specifically to this initiative but this seems far from over. Stay tuned; it's hard to imagine anything positive for the seed industry coming from this. As a bonus the sign-up web page for the Farmer Seed Liaison newsletter was not functional when the editor attempted to subscribe. Your tax dollars at work.




Source: Rabobank news release


Growing population drives grain consumption


ESSA comprises 22 different economies with a current population of 520 million, which is projected to reach 705 million by 2035. This will increase the demand for white corn, the main staple food in the region. However, other grains are also gaining popularity, such as wheat across the entire region and rice in Uganda, Tanzania, and Madagascar. According to Vito Martielli, Senior Analyst - Grains & Oilseeds at Rabobank, urbanization, income growth, and dietary changes will also fuel the demand for wheat, especially in large cities like Nairobi, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, and Lusaka.


Trade patterns vary across commodities


The region is not self-sufficient in grains and relies on different sources of imports, depending on the commodity. Wheat trade is a global business, while rice trade is mainly between ESSA and Asia. Corn and tapioca are mostly traded locally within ESSA.


Grain imports will increase, while some countries will improve self-sufficiency


The report predicts that the region's eight largest economies will need an additional 2 million to 3 million metric tons of wheat imports by 2035, in a conservative scenario. However, this growth will differ among countries, depending on their production outlook. Some countries, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe, have high yields of wheat and could become net exporters by 2035. Others, such as Ethiopia, the largest wheat consumer and producer in the region, have potential to increase production but not enough to meet demand. Kenya, the largest white corn importer in the region, is trying to improve its self-sufficiency by opening up to genetically modified commodities and expanding irrigation access for farmers.


Key factors and opportunities for growth


Martielli outlines several factors and opportunities that could enable growth in the region. These include improving transport and logistics infrastructure to facilitate trade, enhancing farming businesses to boost local production, and supporting long-term policies that foster private-public partnerships. There are also business opportunities in grains trade, ports and logistics infrastructure, and milling. The demand and supply gap will create advantages for wheat importers, traders, and financiers. Feed grain imports could also rise as animal feed demand grows in the medium to long term. Investments are needed to improve the quality and capacity of logistics and storage facilities in key port hubs and inland areas, as well as post-harvest storage infrastructure, in order to seize these opportunities. Transport infrastructure will also require project finance investment products. Milling capacity will expand, driven by local and regional players, as well as newcomers in some markets. Strategies for geographical expansion, diversification, and/or consolidation will generate demand for mergers and acquisitions.


by Tyne Morgan,


USDA's first farmer survey-based yield estimate offered few surprises, but analysts say the yield estimate might already be out of date due to recent rains. USDA also made more cuts to demand as the export picture remains sluggish.


According to USDA's August Crop Production report, USDA-NASS made cuts to the national yield estimate.


Corn yield: 175.1 bu. per acre vs. 177 bu. per acre in July

Soybean yield: 50.9 bu. per acre vs. 52 bu. per acre in July

Wheat yield: 45.8 bu. per acre vs. 46.1 bu. per acre in July



The Yield Debate and Timing of the August Survey

The method used to estimate yield changes in August each year if different from how yields are calculated earlier in the growing season. Up until this month, the World Board handled the yield estimates and produced those via a model they use every year. This month, NASS takes the reins, conducting a farmer survey which asks farmers for crop estimates based on August 1.


Analysts say the only problem with that is one of the biggest rain events of the year fell after August 1 this year.


To read the entire report click here.


U.S. consumers spent an average of 11.3% of their disposable personal income (DPI) on food in 2022, a level not observed since the 1980s. DPI is the amount of money U.S. consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes.


Consumers spent 5.62% of their incomes on food at supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse club stores, supercenters, and other retailers (food at home) in 2022 and 5.64% on food at restaurants, fast-food establishments, schools, and other places offering food away from home.


In 2022, the share of DPI spent on total food had the sharpest annual increase (12.7%). This followed an 8.2% decline, the sharpest annual drop in total food spending since 1967, during the first year of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.


The recent volatility in spending was driven by consumers' sudden drop in eating out at the beginning of the pandemic followed by a return to food-away-from-home purchases as pandemic-related restrictions and concerns eased.


Plant inbreeding secret unlocked, shedding light on Darwinian theory

University of Aberystwyth - Prifysgol Aberystwyth


Aberystwyth University scientists have helped identify the genes that stop plants breeding with close grass family relatives, opening the door to improved varieties of rice, corn and wheat.


Like many other flowering plants, grasses have evolved a mechanism that prevents them from breeding with themselves: stopping a plant’s pollen placed on its own stigma from forming a seed.


An academic study, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution earlier this year, identified for the first time the genes responsible for this mechanism – what experts call ‘self-incompatibility’.


Scientists at Aberystwyth University are now continuing their collaboration with lead partners in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH) led by Professor Bruno Studer. They are studying in more detail the processes involved and determining whether they could be applied to improve the plant breeding of other important cereal grass crops.


Self- and cross-pollination was defined and published in “The Effects of Cross and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom” in detail over a century ago by Charles Darwin in 1878 following the publication of his revolutionary theory of evolution in ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859.


In the 1960s, plant scientists discovered that self-incompatibility in a number of grasses, including ryegrass, meadow fescue and rye, was controlled by two separate genomic regions. However, the limits of technology at the time prevented them from determining which specific genes.


New research published this year by an international academic team, led by ETH and including Dr Danny Thorogood from Aberystwyth University, has now finally identified those genes in perennial ryegrass, using it as a model to determine how self-incompatibility works in the entire grass family.


The new findings could make it easier to develop better varieties of rice, corn and other crops as it opens up new cross-breeding opportunities.


Dr Danny Thorogood from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences commented:


“This is a very important breakthrough in a field to which Charles Darwin dedicated his life. It's only in recent years that technology has made it possible to efficiently and rapidly sequence the entire genome of an individual organism. This S and Z gene discovery, which is the key to self-incompatibility and cross-pollination in the grass family, is thought to be the evolutionary driver of the striking genetic diversity observed across animal and plant kingdoms.


“These findings also open up new breeding possibilities and could have major benefits for people with improved wheat, rice and other main grass family crops. It’s fascinating that Darwin’s observations and theories from over a century and a half ago are still inspiring us today to make new and important discoveries like this.”

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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.