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Comparing grazed and non-grazed portions of a cover crop field in Alexander, KS. This study focused on semi-arid environments like the Great Plains in the United States. Credit: Augustine Obour.Comparing grazed and non-grazed portions of a cover crop field in Alexander, KS. This study focused on semi-arid environments like the Great Plains in the United States. Credit: Augustine Obour.

Mar 03

TSTA Weekly Update, 03/03/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News
Registration is officially open for ASTA’s new Leadership Summit, June 25-29 in Indianapolis! Make plans now to send your team to a professional development, advocacy and training opportunity that will benefit your company and your industry for years to come.
For more information, including the latest schedule of events, visit the conference webpage.
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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!
3/3/2022 - 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: DLF Seeds & Science sent via AgPR--the news distribution service for agriculture
Halsey, OR - DLF is pleased to announce that it has acquired the assets of OreGro Seeds, a forage, cover crop, and turfgrass breeding company located in Albany, Oregon. OreGro's proprietary cool-season forage grass, forage legume, turfgrass, cover crop, and small grain varieties are now offered exclusively through DLF and its distribution partners in the U.S. and abroad.
"This investment not only complements our expansive global research and product portfolio, but also adds significant operational capacity and staff to support customers," said Claus Ikjaer, CEO for DLF Pickseed USA. "This is a strategic development to bolster our seed innovation, service, and support."
The acquisition includes three warehouse facilities totaling 75,000 square feet, equipped with blending and packaging capabilities. The company will also incorporate the research activities of OreGro into its North American and global research platform. Additionally, DLF has welcomed twenty of OreGro's former employees to the DLF family.
"These new team members and infrastructure will help ensure a seamless transition for OreGro partners and position our customers for future growth," said Ikjaer. "It's also very exciting to have the opportunity to further invest in the Willamette Valley seed industry."
Editor's Note: OreGro Seeds is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association
News Bits
By Tyne Morgan,
Wheat futures were fueled by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis on Wednesday. As a result, front-month wheat contracts hit daily trading limits and soared to a 14-year high at $10.59
"May and July, both Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Soft Red Winter (SRF) contracts, are limit up at the moment at 75 cents, so expanded trading limits today because we closed 50 cents higher yesterday," Brian Grete told Davis Michaelsen on AgriTalk Wednesday. "It's more fallout from the the Russia-Ukraine impacts to global grain trade, and that's really what's driving this morning to new contract highs."
Grete says spring wheat futures hadn't hit limit up yet, as those contracts were more of a follower.
So, why are wheat prices seeing such momentum? Both Ukraine and Russia account for nearly 30% of the world's wheat exports. It's not just uncertainty about the crisis causing wheat prices to climb, but there's also worries about infrastructure damage in Ukraine and whether it will hinder the country's ability to export in the near future.
by Patrick Douglas, Wall Street Journal
U.S. agriculture companies operating in Ukraine are closing offices and shuttering facilities there in response to Russia's attack.
Archer Daniels Midland Co. said Thursday that it had stopped operating its facilities in Ukraine, where, a company spokeswoman said, the crop trader and processor employs more than 630 people. ADM's Ukraine facilities include an oilseed crushing plant in Chornomorsk, a grain terminal in the port of Odessa, six grain silos and a trading office in Kyiv.
Agriculture giant Bunge Ltd. closed company offices as well as temporarily suspended operations at processing facilities in two cities in Ukraine, the company said Thursday. Bunge employs more than a thousand workers in Ukraine who operate two processing facilities as well as grain elevators and a grain export terminal in various parts of the country.
CHS Inc., a farm cooperative and major grain shipper and retailer of seeds and chemicals, said it has been drawing down its export activity in Ukraine for the past few weeks. It employs 46 people in the region but doesn't own port operations in the country.
Chinese researchers have successfully cultivated fragrant sorghum using CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology.
Aroma is an important quality in food. Jasmine rice, for instance, is popular with consumers for its aroma and, and it fetches a higher price accordingly.
Previous studies have found that a volatile aroma compound named 2-AP contributes to the fragrance of rice. A gene called BADH2 can regulate the accumulation of 2-AP, generating odor in crops.
Researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences used CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology to knock out the SbBADH2 gene in sorghum, the BADH2 variant regulating the sorghum aroma.
According to the study published in the Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, the seeds and leaves of gene-edited sorghum have a significantly higher accumulation of 2-AP and smell floral and sweet.
USDA looking into business practices of retailers, seed companies
By Noah Wicks in AgriPulse
As farmers struggle with soaring input costs, the Agriculture Department is planning to take a closer look at how retailers and seed companies are pricing their products, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the National Farmers Union on Tuesday. 
Addressing delegates to the annual NFU convention in Denver via Zoom, Vilsack said USDA plans to send out a request in the next seven to 10 days asking for information about the operations of retailers and seed companies.
"We are going to begin the process of taking a look at that retail relationship and seed relationship, especially as it relates to intellectual property and seed patents," Vilsack said. "This is all part of our effort to try and make sure that we are creating that balanced and fair marketplace."
The announcement is the latest of the Biden administration's efforts to crack down on consolidation and agribusiness market power. Vilsack said USDA is working to finalize a poultry industry transparency rule, which he said would shine a spotlight into the requirements surrounding the tournament system in place for poultry, as well as rules concerning discriminatory or retaliatory practices in the marketplace.
Vilsack also continued to express concern that companies are using high fertilizer prices to their advantage. He said USDA has been working with the attorneys general of several states to conduct a market study of unusual fertilizer costs.
"I think there are some serious questions that need to be asked and answered relative to the high cost of fertilizer and whether or not the high costs are, in fact, the result of market forces," he said.
In response to questions from Farmers Union members, Vilsack also spoke about problems getting political USDA positions filled. He placed part of the blame for the slow process of getting President Joe Biden's nominees confirmed by the Senate. He said senators were using the process to "get concessions from the department on issues that matter to them specifically."
"While we want to work with that process and understand it, it gets to a point where it's unfair for the individual who has been nominated, who is eminently qualified, [and] who is waiting literally for months on hold," he said. "It's just not right."
Benefits of cover crops extend to dry areas - A new study shows cover crops can improve ecosystem services in water-limited environments
American Society of Agronomy release
Comparing grazed and non-grazed portions of a cover crop field in Alexander, KS. This study focused on semi-arid environments like the Great Plains in the United States. Credit: Augustine Obour.
Cover crops do far more than cover soils. They provide an array of benefits, such as the ability to reduce soil erosion and increase soil health. They can help attract pollinators, repel pests, turn into ‘green manure,’ or can be used as feed for livestock.
A new study shows that the benefits of cover crops extend even into semi-arid areas. This review was recently published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, a publication of Soil Science Society of America.
“Much of the research data we have on cover crops is from regions with high precipitation,” says Humberto Blanco, lead researcher at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. “So, questions remain about ecosystem services provided by cover crops in drier regions.”
Some skeptics have argued that growing cover crops in more arid areas could use too much water. In turn, it could reduce subsequent food crop yields. But the research concludes that isn’t necessarily the case.
“We found that cover crops can improve most ecosystem services in water-limited environments,” says Blanco. “In the majority of cases, these improvements come without negative effects on food crop yields.”
To determine how well cover crops work in semi-arid areas, Blanco and colleagues assembled and analyzed the limited number of studies on cover crops in dry regions. They emphasized studies focusing on the semi-arid Great Plains in the United States.
The researchers looked at cover crops in connection with several ecosystem services. These included the amount of organic carbon in soils, soil microbial properties, weed management, and food crop yields, among others.
One of the key soil features the researchers focused on was soil organic carbon.
“Soil organic carbon is the catalyst for many other changes in soil properties and soil services,” says Blanco. “Soils in water-limited regions are often low in organic carbon.”
The researchers found that in dry areas cover crops increased soil organic carbon levels close to 60% of the time.
“This accumulation of organic carbon is critical to these soils,” says Blanco. That’s because soil organic carbon is the food source for many soil organisms, like microbes. Ultimately, these soil organisms play a vital role in maintaining healthy, fertile soils.
Cover crops also suppress weeds in dry areas. This is especially important because several weed species are resistant to current herbicides. The suppression of weeds by cover crops has a knock-on effect on increasing water conservation and preventing soil erosion.
“Herbicide-resistant weeds can lead to tillage of typically no-till systems,” says Blanco. “This can reduce the water-conservation ability of those agroecosystems.” Tilling can also make soils more susceptible to erosion.
Cover crops also provide food for livestock in dry areas. “Grazing or haying cover crops can improve net returns without negating benefits to soils,” says Blanco. That’s because even when grazed, a significant portion of cover crops remain on fields. Also, cover crop roots persist even when grazed, holding soils together and providing many benefits.
The study found that cover crops can reduce food crops’ yields in some cases. These instances typically coincided with intermittent drought conditions. Water availability for cover and food crops decreased during these years.
“Adapting crop rotations and cover crop use to accommodate weather conditions is critical,” says Blanco. “Farmers in drier areas may not be able to plant a cover crop every year. They can target wet years when cover crops can be successful.”
Blanco aims to continue researching cover crops in dry areas.
“Long-term research is critical to identify the enduring effects of cover crops,” he says. “Yet, long-term research data for cover crops in arid and semi-arid areas are virtually absent in the literature.”
Keith Good, U Of Illinois' FarmDoc project
David L. Stern, Alex Horton, John Hudson and Kareem Fahim reported on the front page of today's Washington Post that, "Russian forces laid siege to key urban areas across Ukraine on Wednesday, advancing on the strategic port city of Kherson and bombarding Kharkiv, the nation's second-largest city, while facing fierce resistance and resupply challenges in other areas."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg writer Elizabeth Elkin reported "Russia's invasion of Ukraine could devastate global grain markets so deeply that it's likely to be the biggest supply shock in living memory."
"Tens of millions of acres of grain production are at stake. I am convinced it is going to be the biggest supply shock to global grain markets in my lifetime,' Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois.
The Bloomberg article indicated that, "The world 'desperately' needs farmers to plant more acres in 2022, he said, but 'basically nothing can be done in the short-run except to run up the price of grain high enough to ration demand.'"
In his Twitter thread on Wednesday, Irwin stated: "So my simple proposal is to let every CRP [Conservation Reserve Program] acre be eligible for cropping for 2022 and only 2022. No interruption of payments or contracts. Just change the rules on an emergency basis so it can be cropped if a farmer wants to risk it this year."
To read the entire article click here.Russi
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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.