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Discovery paves the way for more sustainable crop cultivation methodsDiscovery paves the way for more sustainable crop cultivation methods
Jun 09

TSTA Weekly Update 06/09/2022

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.
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!
6/9/22 - 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!
If you are a certified wheat seed producer and have an interest in participating in re-certification procedures this season please contact Jerrett Stork, Certified Seed Coordinator, Texas Department of Agriculture, at the Giddings Seed Lab as soon as possible. Jarrett can be reached at 979-542-3691. Plan on contacting your local TDA inspector concurrently as it may expedite the process.
Corteva, Inc. released its 2021 Sustainability and ESG Report, providing an update on the company’s progress on its commitment to deliver science-based solutions for addressing the world’s most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges.
This report reflects Corteva’s continued transparency across the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. The 2021 report reinforces the company’s focus on building an agriculture ecosystem where farmers, society and business can thrive, while underscoring Corteva’s commitment to enriching the lives of those who produce and those who consume.
“The challenges facing society and the planet demand urgent action, and we believe agriculture plays a vital role in providing viable solutions,” said Chuck Magro, Chief Executive Officer, Corteva Agriscience. “By focusing on the areas which we believe will have the greatest impact toward achieving climate positive agriculture, we will create a more resilient and productive food system. We will rely on innovation and technology to guide our journey.”
“We support farmers around the globe with the necessary tools and innovations to produce what our food system demands while conserving resources and sustaining the land,” said Sam Eathington, Chief Technology and Digital Officer, Corteva Agriscience. “The progress in this report outlines the next phase of our sustainability work – and includes concentrated efforts in sustainable innovation, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and inclusion, diversity and equity.”
The 2021 Sustainability and ESG Report provides a global update on key social and environmental topics. The report details the work and results of Corteva employees to improve farmers’ livelihoods and operations while conserving resources, sustaining the land, strengthening communities and increasing sustainability within the company’s operations. Read the full report at
Editor's Note: Corteva Agriscience is a valued member of the Texas Seed Trade Association
News Bits
The USDA says this year's corn crop is nearly fully planted. How many acres that actually represents is questionable with widespread planting delays in some key growing areas, along with flooding in parts of the region potentially impacted planted area.
As of Sunday, 94% of U.S. corn is planted, compared to the five-year average of 92%, with 78% emerged, compared to 81% on average, and 73% of the crop in good to excellent condition, up 1% from the first rating of 2021.
78% of soybeans are planted, compared to the normal rate of 79%, with 56% emerged, compared to 59% on average.
79% of winter wheat has headed, compared to 84% typically this time of year, with 5% harvested, compared to 6% on average, and 30% rated good to excellent, 1% higher than a week ago.
82% of spring wheat is planted, compared to the five-year average of 97%, and 55% have emerged, compared to usual pace of 83%.
84% of cotton has been planted, compared to 76% on average, with 11% squaring, compared to 10% typically in early June, and 48% of the crop in good to excellent shape, 4% less than last week.
89% of rice is emerged, matching the five-year average and 72% of the crop is called good to excellent, 1% above a week ago.
28% of pastures and rangelands are reported as good to excellent, 4% more than the week before.
The National Sheriff's Association says high prices and record inflation are behind a recent uptick in rural thefts.
Kiernan Donahue, a leader with the association, tells Brownfield as a result they are increasing patrols in rural areas. "A lot of these folks are hitting the rural areas because there's not the presence of law enforcement that we have in our urban areas," Donahue said. "They take advantage of that."
Donahue says suspects have been stealing copper wire from farms with pivot irrigation systems. "They will strip it down to the copper and burn the excess stuff," he said. "They will take that copper wire to these salvage yards and turn over that copper wire for a premium price."
Nodaway County, Missouri Sheriff Randy Strong says fuel thefts are another concern. "A lot of farmers have fuel tanks with diesel or gasoline on the farms," Strong said. "I would recommend that they watch those very closely. Put padlocks on them and probably a security camera."
To report a tip about an agriculture crime, contact the Livestock and Farm Protection Task Force hotline at (888) 484-8477. Calls are taken 24 hours a day, Sunday through Saturday, and callers may remain anonymous.
by Sara Schafer,
After soaring to record levels, fertilizer prices are finally starting to ease.
Want an example? Josh Linville, vice president of fertilizer at StoneX, says New Orleans urea prices hit $935 per ton last year. Last week, prices were $470 per ton.
"We are half the price we were back in late March," he says. "Everything is trending lower. Just from that simple perspective you're like, how can this not be a time to buy?"
What farmers need to keep in perspective, Linville says, is prices are still at historic levels.
"The prices have today look fantastic compared to the last few months, but we've only seen prices at these high levels two or three times in recent history," he says. "When you start looking at the relationship between corn and urea or corn and UAN, that ratio is still very high versus the last several years."
Also, he says, consider the time horizon: "We are five months away from getting back in the fields in November, we are 10 to 11 months away from next spring. Look at how these things have changed over the course of just a matter of several weeks. Imagine what can happen in a five-to-10-month range."
To read the entire report click here.
he European Chemicals Agency, or] ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) agrees to keep glyphosate’s current classification as causing serious eye damage and being toxic to aquatic life. Based on a wide-ranging review of scientific evidence, the committee again concludes that classifying glyphosate as a carcinogen is not justified.
Discovery paves the way for more sustainable crop cultivation methods
Rutgers University release
Confocal microscope images of clover leaves showing red-stained bacteria (arrows) within leaf cells. - James F. White and Qiuwei Zhang/Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Rutgers researchers have discovered that nitrogen-fixing bacteria hidden within leaf cells could lead to more efficient and sustainable methods of crop cultivation.
The study, recently published in the journal Biology, investigated how bacteria in non-photosynthetic leaf cells of seed plants can naturally provide nitrogen to plants. Currently, inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, such as ammonia or nitrate, are commonly applied to soils, damaging soils, and causing nitrogen runoff that contaminates streams, rivers, and other water bodies.
“Development of new crop varieties or agricultural technologies based on rebuilding and supporting native nitrogen-fixing endosymbiosis could dramatically change how we cultivate crops,” said James White, a principal investigator of the study and professor of plant biology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “This discovery will pay dividends in preservation of the environment, regeneration of agricultural soils and reduction of global warming by cutting the release of greenhouse gasses and environmental degradation that results from fertilizer runoff.”
Prior to this study, it was commonly understood that nitrogen-fixing symbioses were limited to roots of legumes and a few other families of plants that form root nodules containing nitrogen-fixing bacteria. But by examining more than 30 species of seed plants in 18 families of monocots and dicots, the study investigators found that bacteria in leaf cells can exchange nitrogen for plant sugars.
This discovery shows how non-domesticated plants, such as wild or weed plants, grow in non-fertile soils without the addition of nitrogen fertilizers. Instead, plants harvest nitrogen from the air using intracellular bacteria that they absorb into their cells from soils and carry in seeds.
The most efficient of these cryptic nitrogen-transfer endosymbiosis was seen in the glandular trichomes (also known as leaf hairs) of dicot plants like hops (Humulus lupulus) and hemp (Cannabis sativa). Glandular trichomes contain terpenoids, cannabinoids, essential oils or other antioxidants that may increase efficiency of endosymbiotic nitrogen fixation by scavenging or excluding oxygen that inhibits nitrogen fixation.
White said expanding our knowledge of how plants extract nitrogen from endosymbiotic bacteria within leaves could help growers find more efficient and sustainable ways to fertilize crops.
“This research shows that it may be possible to support nitrogen-fixing activities by endosymbiotic bacteria in leaves by breeding plants to preserve native endosymbiosis or by applications of microbes to plant seedlings to re-establish nitrogen-fixation endosymbiosis,” he said. “Our hope is that this study will open doors to the development of new methods of crop cultivation that are more efficient and sustainable than what is currently practiced.”
In addition to Rutgers researchers, the study involved collaborators at the U.S. Geological Survey, University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico and University of the Valley in Colombia.
World’s first GM lager: Could beer made from genetically modified wheat usher in a new era of GMO crop acceptance?
Argentina’s Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp., the farm technology company that’s trying to convince the world to eat genetically-modified wheat, is in talks with Buenos Aires craft beer maker Rabieta to brew the first-ever GM lager.
The US-listed firm is moving to supply its HB4 wheat seeds to Rabieta and to a poultry producer for feed, Chief Financial Officer Enrique Lopez Lecube said in an interview on Wednesday at Bloomberg’s New Economy Gateway Latin America event in Panama.
The deals would come on the heels of a similar contract with confectioner Havanna as Bioceres seeks to go where no company has before by winning worldwide acceptance for gene-edited wheat.
HB4’s selling point is that it tolerates drought at a time when farmers from the Americas to Oceania are grappling with climate change and extreme dryness.
Argentina, a top wheat exporter, gave final approval to plant HB4 last week following authorization for consumption by its chief buyer Brazil. Still, exporters worry that cargoes to wheat importers that haven’t yet cleared HB4 will be contaminated with the GM strain, locking Argentina out of those markets. Traders’ fears may begin to diminish if, as Bioceres hopes, Australia becomes the second major global grain supplier to green-light planting.
Momentum is clearly in HB4 wheat’s favor, Lopez Lecube said, as farming’s global drought woes are compounded by faltering grain harvests in the Black Sea region because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 
“This disruption creates room for technology to stabilize food supplies,” he said.
USDA release
Spending on agricultural research and development (R&D) comes from private and public sources. Public R&D, however, has traditionally been the primary source directly oriented toward improving farm technology and productivity. Since the early 2000s, expenditures have declined in real terms for agricultural R&D performed by public institutions, including USDA laboratories, land grant universities, and other cooperating institutions.
Researchers with USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) found that R&D expenditures are now only slightly above the 1970 level of about $5 billion and well below the 2002 peak of just under $8 billion (constant 2019 dollars). Research expenditures were adjusted for inflation using the National Institutes of Health's Biomedical Research and Development Price Index (BRDPI).
This chart appears in the ERS's Amber Waves article, "Investment in U.S. Public Agricultural Research and Development Has Fallen by a Third Over Past Two Decades, Lags Behind Major Trade Competitors," published June 2022.
Source: House Committee on Agriculture-Republicans
WASHINGTON, DC - House Agriculture Committee Republican Leader Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Republican Leader John Boozman (R-AR) are calling on the Biden Administration to withdraw its current brief before the Supreme Court in a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) federal registration authority of Roundup, an essential glyphosate-based herbicide used for crop protection.
In a letter to President Biden, the Republican Leaders question the White House's rationale for filing the brief based on a "change in administration" and seek answers as to why the Solicitor General modified its long-standing position that EPA maintains federal preemption authority on all crop protection tools without consulting the relevant agency subject matter experts.
"Such a reversal coupled with the lack of consultation with subject matter experts is incredibly concerning. Simply citing a 'change in administration' as a cause and justification for completely undermining an agency's federal preemption authority, clearly established by Congress, is egregious. The Solicitor General's actions not only insert significant ambiguity into FIFRA [Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act], but also upends a host of statutory preemption authorities and the general use of crop protection tools, and further threatens global food security," Thompson and Boozman wrote.
The Republican Leaders' letter spells out the negative long-term consequences the Ninth Circuit's decision would have should it be allowed to stand.
"If the Ninth Circuit's decision is left in place, not only will growers lose a critical tool from their toolbox, but EPA's registration process will eventually evolve into a state-by-state patchwork that will thwart the science-based and risk-based process Congress has specifically directed EPA to carry out. Importantly, any marketplace confusion will take place during an emerging global food crisis and growing food insecurity," Thompson and Boozman continued.
Read the full letter here.
Editor's Note: In the "you can't make this stuff up" category please see the article below.
A California Appeals Court has ruled that bumblebees are, in fact, fish. A unanimous ruling late last week affirms the addition of four species of bumblebee to California's list of endangered species - as fish.
Apparently when the California endangered species law was written (1969) it covered only birds, fish, mammals, amphibians, or reptiles. Not invertebrates or insects. It is also apparent that it is simply easier to procure a broad court interpretation rather than seek legislation to correct an oversight - even though it's imagined the California legislature is proficient at fast-tracking legislation. This isn't the first time this has happened though it probably represents the biggest stretch of cross-species inclusion. Years ago certain snails, mollusks, and shrimp were legally defined as fish in California (they are NOT fish any more than bees are fish).
Almond growers, and others, dependent on bees for pollination have been fearing the listing of any bees as it comes with severe restrictions on pesticide use in and around crops where bees may be foraging. An endangered species law lacking provision for insects was no impediment to California courts who simply defined bees as fish, and hence, covered by the law. The panel of judges rule added that any animal, whether found on land, in the air, or in the sea can be classified as a type of fish.
Editor's Note: Next time anyone asks you about California determining glyphosate to be a cancer-causer remind them it was California courts that made that determination. The same court system that has ruled that bees are fish.
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