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Mar 02

TSTA Weekly Update, 03/02/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


Membership renewals were mailed several weeks ago. A big Thank You to those companies who have already renewed for 2023! Please check the mail for your membership renewal and member certificate and renew your support for the Texas Seed Trade as soon as you are able.

TSTA staff spent some quality time at the Capitol this week representing TSTA ploicies and interests to members of the Senate Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs Committee as well as the House Appropriations Committee.


The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has requested an increase in cost recovery for some of the programs they administrate including the strategy that includes the seed quality program. The strategy that covers seed quality also includes portions of nursery and hemp regulatory programs. Currently there is no indication of impending fee increases for the seed quality program but there's no doubt TDA is incurring increases in indirect costs and general operating expenses associated with all their programs. Employee health insurance, retirement vesting, accounting and legal services, and other items, are all costing state agencies more these days just as they are for our businesses.


We are keeping an eye on fees and will communicate any changes as soon as they are known.


As the TSTA did not initiate any legislation this session we are not actively advocating for legislation specific to the seed trade. We are, however, monitoring and tracking a number of bills that either have potential to, or no doubt will, impact your business if passed. We weren't planning a specific legislative action day at the Capitol for TSTA members but if you would like to participate in our efforts please let us know and we'll be happy to arrange a day, or two, when you can spend some time at the Capitol communicating with legislators and staff.

Growout invoices were mailed several weeks ago from the TSTA office. Please look for them and return payment as soon as possible as we've already paid the land rent bills, the Texas Department of Agriculture travel and living expenses, shipping, and other costs associated with the winter growouts.

Save the Date! On June 2, the Texas Seed Trade Association will host a gathering at the Amarillo Sod Poodles, a Double A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Poodles are playing the Springfield Cardinals that evening, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. We've got a box reserved and it'll be a great time for a lucky 25 of us. Stay tuned for more details and how to reserve your spot! Please contact Drew Morano at Tri-Cal Superior Forages if you're interested in playing some golf that morning or afternoon.

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!


3/2/2023 - 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


We have "re-inserted" the link to the Seed Innovation & Protection Alliance. The TSTA is a member and you likely are too. If not please join today! SIPA was discussed quite a bit at our recent membership meeting at Horseshoe Bay and they are a key player in protecting intellectual property.


BASF is getting out of the business of developing hybrid wheat seeds in North America, deciding to focus on Europe, where the company says it sees "the greatest opportunity to successfully bring this innovation to farmers."


BASF says that "despite the tremendous efforts of our expert teams, the results of our North American trials have not achieved the development goals we set to meet the needs of growers in Canada and the United States."


In 2021, BASF announced a new variety, Ideltis, saying it would be available to growers around the middle of the decade.


Source: House Committee on Agriculture news release


To view Chairman Thompson deliver his comments click here.


"Today's hearing has really shined a spotlight on the issues confronting producers and the entire agriculture sector from the farm to the consumer.


"Whether it is market volatility, weather risks, or wrongheaded government policy--much of which has been exacerbated by the Biden Administration--the House Committee on Agriculture has a responsibility to examine these challenges and develop responsible approaches to addressing them in the upcoming Farm Bill.


"Over the course of the next several months, the Committee will be holding numerous hearings and will be continuing our Farm Bill listening sessions at various locations across the country.


"I'd like to challenge my fellow Committee Members to be present and heavily engaged in this process.


"Getting the farm bill done right and on time will require a lot of work and attention from all of us, but we owe it to all our constituents--from producers to processors, and ultimately, to consumers--to get that policy right."


Illinois is home to the top corn and soybean producing counties in the US for the 2022 season according to new data from the USDA.




McClean County secured the top spot in the nation for corn production with nearly 71 million bushels. Iroquois, Livingston, LaSalle and Champaign counties ranked 2nd through 5th in corn production nationally.


Stark County had the highest average yield in Illinois at 240.6 bushels per acre, followed by Woodford and Ogle counties.




McClean County was the top soybean producing county in the US for 2022 at 21.2 million bushels. Iroquois, Champaign, Livingston and LaSalle counties also ranked in the top ten for soybean production.


The top 11 counties for soybean yields in the US are also in Illinois. Piatt County secured the top spot with 74.2 bushels per acre. Macon, Sangamon, Scott and Logan counties finished in the top five with average yields of 71 bpa or higher. Tazewell, Stark, Morgan, Christian, Champaign and Woodford counties rounded out the top 11 nationally.


Editor's Note: Stark County, IL the highest average corn yields in Illinois, was where your editor began his professional agronomic career scouting crops while in college.


Seed treatments are under increasing scrutiny - again. California has pending legislation that would classify treated seed as a pesticide and thus subject to a myriad of additional regulations. It's temping to think things like this, happening in California, wouldn't, or couldn't, happen here but that's strictly untrue.


It's the time of year when we are all called to remind our buyers that we must be excellent stewards of treated seed ensuring it never ends up where it should not be.


If you have not seen ASTA's web-page and stewardship video on treated seed it's definitely worth a look. Take a few minutes and follow this link.


The supply of chicken available to eat in the United States continues to outpace beef, according to food availability data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS). In 2021, 68.1 pounds of chicken per person were available for human consumption (on a boneless, edible basis), compared with 56.2 pounds of beef.


The availability of chicken began to increase in the 1940s, overtaking pork availability in 1996 and surpassing beef in 2010 to become the meat most available for U.S. consumption.


Since 1980, U.S. chicken availability per person has more than doubled from 32.7 pounds. There were 47.5 pounds of pork available in 2021, after fluctuating between 42.4 and 49.9 pounds per person over the last four decades.


Per person fish and shellfish availability data are available only through 2019, when 19.1 pounds were available per person in the United States, up from the low of 8 pounds in 1943.


by Keith Good, University of Illinois Farmdoc project


Reuters writer Andrea Shalal reported yesterday that, "The United States will consider 'all options,' including a formal trade dispute panel, unless Mexico addresses Washington's concerns over Mexico's plan to limit imports of genetically modified corn, a senior U.S. trade official said on Wednesday.


"The United States has threatened a trade dispute panel under a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada over the plan, which would ban genetically modified corn for human consumption.


"Mexico believes the disagreement is 'politically motivated,' its economy ministry said on Monday."


The Reuters article added that, "The latest U.S. comments came days after U.S. Agriculture Tom Vilsack said a trade dispute panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement would be the next step if talks were not successful, followed by talks between top U.S. trade negotiator Katherine Tai and Mexican Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro on Friday.


"'These concerns are quite serious. Mexico's policies are not based upon science,' the official said. 'They would cause serious harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and can further stifle the very innovation ... that we need to respond to climate change and food security challenges.'"


A news release yesterday from Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D, Il.) indicated that, "Today, [Congresswoman Budzinski] led a bipartisan letter with Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-16), Bill Foster (IL-11), Mike Bost (IL-12) and Mary Miller (IL-15) urging the U.S. Trade Representative to keep all options on the table to enforce trade commitments as Mexico considers a ban on genetically modified (GM) corn from the United States. The letter also requests updates on the negotiations with Mexico from Ambassador Tai.


"Illinois farmers are the second-largest producer of corn in the United States, with a large majority of such corn grown with GM seeds. Mexico's ban is inconsistent with the terms of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement."


Nat'l Corn Growers Assn tweeted:

"At the end of the day, we're trying to stand up for a science-based international trading system. And if we don't stand up for USMCA in this case, it's going to be really hard to continue to expand trade around the globe." -



To read the entire report click here.


By Krishan Jindal, Ph.D., AgriThority


1. The biostimulants market was $3.08 billion in 2022, according to a presentation by Patrick Stephenson, Patrick Stephenson Limited, Pickering, North Yorkshire, UK, and it's expected to grow to $5.69 billion by 2026. The leader in market share at 34.7% are humic substances, followed by vitamins and amino acids, microbial amendments and seaweed extracts. When it comes to understanding and assessing the efficacy of biological based products for improved plant, soil health and pest management, it's important to test the programs in geographies and fields with non-optimal soil and environmental conditions and with reduced fertilizer inputs. Information was presented by experts from the National Institute of Agriculture Botany (NIAB), Cambridge UK, NC State University and Impact Agronomic.


2. NC State University presented on the current state of our soil biology. Tillage and certain chemicals have reduced the number of beneficial bacteria, endomycorrhiza fungi, protozoa and beneficial nematodes. Lack of organic molecules and biomass limits food sources for soil biology. The loss of soil structure limits air and water infiltration, which makes it difficult for soil biology to recover. Potential solutions include inoculating the soils with biostimulants that contain bacteria and fungi to improve nutrient and water uptake. Use of humic or fulvic compounds in conjunction with biology or nutrients can improve nutrient uptake in certain situations.


3. The market is ripe for new crop protection solutions with reliable independent data that show consistent results. An herbicide with a new mode of action hasn't been discovered for the past 26 years, or since 1995 and various forms of herbicide resistance have developed in weed plants such as pigweed, water hemp, and Kochia which caused a major threat to the sustainable production of soybean, cotton, and many other crops. Using cultural or mechanical weed management can improve the activity of herbicides and reduce selection pressure leading to herbicide-resistant weed populations. Mix multiple herbicide groups over rotating herbicide groups to have better weed control. Follow the cultural and mechanical practices, which reduce deposits to the weed seed bank, according to Sarah Lancaster from Kansas State University. 95% control of weeds is not enough. A single, "Trophy" Palmer amaranth escape produces 600,000+ seeds. In cotton, the same pesticides have been used for the past 15 years. Additionally, when looking at specific regions across several seasons, fungicides have had little effect on corn yield.


4. According to a survey of attendees, 65 percent of

independent crop consultants and CROs are not currently recommending biological products because of the lack of independent third-party data to support their use. In addition, 33 percent find inconsistent results. AgriThority provides clients with the third-party data needed to prove performance of innovations that also drive the creation of Best Management Practices that will help farmers implement new technology into their cropping systems.


USDA Release


by Keith Good, University of Illinois Farmdoc project


Speaking at USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum, USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer provided a broad outlook for U.S. agriculture. Today's update provides an overview of key aspects of Dr. Meyer's presentation.


In his speech Thursday (transcript / slides), Dr. Meyer noted that, "One year ago, when I presented the outlook that had been constructed over the prior weeks, it was less than 24 hours since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an event that injected tremendous uncertainty into agriculture and energy-related markets. Risk and uncertainty have always been fundamental characteristics of farming, and few other industries are as vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather or the threat of long-term effects of climate change. However, the war in Ukraine is unlike a drought as it had a sudden beginning. It also has no clear anticipated conclusion and remains a source of uncertainty in agricultural markets even as the human tragedy continues.


More narrowly, Reuters writer Julie Ingwersen reported on Thursday that, "Corn seedings were pegged at 91.0 million acres, up from 88.6 million in 2022, and soybean seedings at 87.5 million acres, unchanged from last year, the USDA said at its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. Wheat plantings were forecast at 49.5 million acres, a seven-year high, up from 45.7 million in 2022."


"The Outlook for U.S. Agriculture - 2023 U.S. Agriculture: Seeds of Growth Through Innovation," USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer, February 2023.

And with respect to prices, Dr. Meyer noted that, "Corn, soybean, wheat, cotton, and rice prices received by producers for the 2023/24 crops are expected to decline relative to the prior year, but nevertheless remain high relative to recent history."


To read the entire report click here.


Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) news service


The largest farms in the U.S. that had sales of $1 million or more operate nearly 26 percent of U.S. farmlands according to the USDA's annual Farms and Land in Farms Report.


The size of farms in the $1 million or more sales class increased. Farms in every other sales class either decreased or remained the same size. Around 88,660 farms, or 3.9 percent of the total, had sales of at least $1 million. Ten years ago, three percent of farms made that category.


The average size of the largest farms, by sales, was 2,927 acres or 4.6 square miles in 2022. In 2012, farms with $1 million in sales were an average of 2,481 acres in size. USDA says the average farm size for 2022 was 446 acres, up from 445 acres in 2021.


The agency also says there were 2.003 million farms in the nation during 2022, a drop of 0.5 percentage points from 2012.


To read the entire report click here.



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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.