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Texas A&M AgriLife’s public breeding program releases new wheat, triticale varietiesTexas A&M AgriLife’s public breeding program releases new wheat, triticale varieties


Jun 15

TSTA Weekly Update, 06/15/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


Texas A&M AgriLife’s public breeding program releases new wheat, triticale varieties - Increase in seed production from Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed to potentially reach farmers in 2024


Two new wheat varieties and a new triticale variety are headed to farmers in the fall of 2024, according to an announcement by Texas A&M AgriLife and the Texas A&M Wheat Improvement Program.

The new wheat variety, ‘TAM 116,’ was grown for many years in test plots before being released for licensing. Licensed now by Adaptive Genetics, seed should be available to farmers in 2024. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter


Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeders Jackie Rudd, Ph.D., in Amarillo and Amir Ibrahim, Ph.D., in Bryan-College Station, both within the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, made the announcement at the recent small grains field day at the research plots near Bushland.

The wheat breeders put their experimental lines through observation trials and 20 elite line breeder trials before planting them in uniform variety trials at 30 locations across the state to test the genetics by environment.


New Texas A&M AgriLife-bred varieties


‘TAM 116’ is licensed to Adaptive Genetics and has been tested through the years as TX14A001035 in field trials.

The beardless wheat variety TX14V70214 will soon be licensed by JoMar Seeds under the name ‘Dyna-Gro 7322.’ This new wheat variety is expected to be broadly adapted after performing well in grain, forage and silage trials. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)


“This is a dual-purpose wheat with excellent yield potential, good disease resistance and good end-use quality,” Rudd said. “It has performed exceedingly well under intensive management systems.”


‘Dyna-Gro 7322’ is in the process of being licensed to JoMar Seeds, which will work with Nutrien to commercialize the variety. It was tested over the years as TX14V70214 in the breeding and variety trials.


“This is a broadly adapted beardless, dual-purpose variety with good grain yields, excellent foliage disease resistance and high forage yields,” Rudd said. “It has performed well in grain trials as well as in forage and silage trials.”


‘Titan’ is the new triticale licensed by Watley Seed. This triticale can be planted early for fall growth. It has good winter hardiness and is an early maturing variety.

TX14VT70526 is a recently licensed triticale that will be marketed under the name ‘Titan’ by Watley Seed. The variety is the first released by Texas A&M AgriLife in more than 15 years. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)


Jason Baker, research specialist for AgriLife Research, Amarillo, was the breeder of Titan, which is going through the increased seed production stage this year. He said it will probably be next fall when the seed becomes available to farmers.

“We’ve tested this variety over multiple years on locations from eastern New Mexico to western Kansas to Comanche and Abilene – both forage and silage tests,” Baker said. “It does well in diverse testing areas for multiple purposes and ranks near the top on all of them.”


Baker said it has been 15 years since AgriLife Research released a new triticale, but “we can expect others in the coming years because we have good ones in the pipeline that are focusing more on silage purposes.”

Public wheat breeding leads to commercial licensing


Richard Vierling, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon and Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed director, and Sean Stephens, manager at Foundation Seed, are responsible for producing genetically pure Foundation Class seed of the new cultivars developed by AgriLife Research scientists.

“When breeders have an experimental line they believe is ready, two things happen,” Vierling said. “They contact Sean for seed increase and work with me to develop materials containing descriptive information about the lines available to license. We distribute those descriptions and ask companies with a commercial interest to submit a proposal for licensing.”


Breeders also work with Janie Hurley at Texas A&M Innovation to document the new variety as potential new intellectual property and review background information regarding its development.


Once a proposal is selected, license negotiation is carried out by Texas A&M Innovation, the office that licenses new varieties to companies for commercial purposes. Texas A&M Innovation also works with the companies and breeders to seek the appropriate intellectual property protection, like Plant Variety Protection certification, for the new varieties.


More varieties in the pipeline


Stephens is already expanding the seed availability of two experimental lines that Ibrahim and Rudd believe show promise to initiate commercial production later this year.

TX15M8024 has good yield, milling and bread quality. It is resistant to rusts and the Hessian fly and adapted to the Blacklands and South Texas.


TX16M9216 also has Hessian fly resistance, along with resistance to leaf, stripe and stem rust. It has good yields and test weights and should be adaptable statewide.

Ibrahim said the TX in the name stands for Texas and 15 is the year it was grown in the head row. A variety begins as an F1 in the greenhouse and then F2 in the field. Disease reactions are looked at in F3 and F4 years before the F5 generation when it is grown for a head row.


“There are many diverse climates across Texas – dry and cooler up here in the Panhandle where more than a third of the Texas crop is grown, and hot and humid further south,” Ibrahim said. “There is rarely a line that will do well across the entire state of Texas. Some don’t have the leaf rust we need in the south or the Hessian fly resistance.”

In Memory of Edward Runge


While Edward Runge, Ph.D., was a researcher and professor, he is probably best known for his advocacy for agronomy and soil sciences and as a voice for agriculture at the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. Runge died on April 10.


Coming to Texas A&M in 1980, Runge spent 25 years before retiring, first serving as head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences for 19 years, and later as a professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy Emeritus. After retiring in 2005, he served as the Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholar Program director and judging panel chair.


Prior to coming to Texas A&M, Runge served on the faculty at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois and was chairman of the Agronomy Department at the University of Missouri.


In addition to his university leadership roles, Runge served as president of the leading associations for his field of study — the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy and the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.


“Dr. Runge has truly been a force for agriculture,” said David Baltensperger, Ph.D., head of the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. “His thousands of presentations, committee and agricultural organization leadership and advisory roles have been a monumental benefit to agriculture.”


Born in St. Peter, Illinois, Runge earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in agriculture education and a master’s degree in soils, both from the University of Illinois, and a doctorate in soils from Iowa State University.


“Our job as agronomists is to make plants grow better,” Runge once said.

Baltensperger said Runge was one of the most visible agronomists in the last half of the 20th century. He accomplished much during his professional career, from the research and extension work early in his career to the years of service as department head to his effort to make agronomic production monetarily rewarding with reduced government subsidies. 


Runge’s long-time research focused on corn yield and production forecasting work for the corn belt. Additionally, he strived to impart his international experiences to others by teaching Agriculture Study Abroad Courses in Vietnam, Brazil, Paraguay, New Zealand and Australia. Runge lived or worked in more than 70 countries, with longer-term assignments in New Zealand and Indonesia.


Some of the unique positions he held outside of the university realm were:

— Consultant to the Indonesian government on using soils for agricultural purposes.

— Consultant in a large area crop inventory experiment at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

— Short-term advisor for curriculum reform in Butare, Rwanda.

— Short-term advisor for USAID-ICARDS “Future Harvest Conference” in Afghanistan.


Runge was also especially passionate about his work since 1996 as the technical director of a Corn Improvement Project in Burma, now Myanmar, in conjunction with the 101 Veterans Committee Inc.


Ed Price, Ph.D., Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict and Development in the Department of Agricultural Economics, said he and Runge were called in to assess the situation of Kachin poppy growers in Northern Burma to replace the opium program. Runge pushed for improved corn, and it proved successful. The program, “Project Old Soldier,” was supported by the Burmese military and Kachin Baptist Church leaders.


One of Runge’s driving forces was a strong belief that the status quo is not good enough. He continually looked for ways to improve everything from working conditions for faculty as a department head to the practices of organizations and groups to which he belonged.


Major award recognitions:

— Named Fellow in the following associations: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Agronomy, ASA, and Soil Science Society of America, SSSA.

— Earned the Texas A&M Former Students Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration, the first department head to receive the award for administration.

— ASA Agronomic Service Award.

— Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Seed Trade Association.

— Outstanding Public Servant Award from the Texas Association of Crop Consultants.

— Alumni Award of Merit College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois.

— Recipient of ASA Crops and Soils Award for Excellence in Agricultural Journalism.

— Honorary Professor, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

— Received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia at their 50th Anniversary Celebration, in recognition of programs to help Slovakia.

Major industry service positions:

— Served as president-elect, president and past president of both ASA and SSSA.

— Board of directors, International Fertilizer and Development Center.

— Director and chair, Texas State Seed and Plant Board.

— Founder, president and chairman of the board of the Registry of Environmental and Agriculture Professionals, which ultimately led to the ASA’s Certified Crop Advisors Program.

— World Food Prize Selection Committee.


The family requests that gifts in memory of Runge be sent to the Texas A&M Foundation. Runge and his wife Patricia started a scholarship many years ago that supports students in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Questions may be directed to Megan Hutchison, director of development at .


Editor's Note: We apologize for not reporting Dr. Runge's passing sooner. We missed it and we're sorry for that. Dr. Runge touched the lives of many of our members and will be fondly remembered and sorely missed.

A meeting of the TSTA Board of Directors is scheduled for July 13-15, at the Horseshoe Bay Resort. If you have questions please contact the TSTA office.


Surveys are in, to ascertain the level of certified wheat seed carryover from last year, anticipated certified wheat that will be available for sale this year, and a listing of the most favored/best suited varieties - mailed to over 100 Texas seed sellers about two months ago. We have received over 70 of the surveys via return mail. We have not received any for almost two weeks leading us to conclude we've received as many as we're going to get.


The survey was designed to assist the Texas Foundation Seed Service, and others, to determine the potential need to enter a recertification process. Information supplied by survey respondents indicates the vast majority of Texas wheat seed suppliers and retailers do not anticipate a shortage of certified seed for well-adapted varieties in their respective geographies. Based on the survey results it would be difficult to justify petitioning the Texas Foundation Seed Service or the Texas State Seed & Plant Board for a recertification approval.


Interestingly, survey respondents from the Texas Rolling Plains and portions of far North Texas reported a number of Oklahoma State varieties among the more popular in their selling areas. It's too small a sample, and a non-scientific one as well, to draw any conclusions. It may be that certified wheat seed produced in Oklahoma may simply be more readily available in certain areas and was, perhaps, less prone to be grown under drought conditions and hence there's more of it in some places.

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!


6/15/2023 - 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


U.S. corn and soybean condition ratings declined over the past week. That followed another round of generally warm, dry weather in parts of the Midwest and Plains, and while there was rain in parts of the region over the weekend, it wasn't nearly enough to break expanding drought conditions.


The USDA says 61% of corn is called good to excellent, 3% less than last week, with planting officially wrapped up and 93% of the crop emerged, compared to the five-year average of 87%.


59% of soybeans are in good to excellent shape, 3% lower, with 96% planted, compared to 86% on average, and 86% emerged, compared to 70% normally in mid-June.


38% of winter wheat is rated good to excellent, 2% higher, with 89% headed and 8% harvested, both close to average.


60% of spring wheat is in good to excellent condition, a drop of 4%, with 97% planted, matching the usual pace, and 90% emerged, compared to the five-year average of 87%.


49% of U.S. cotton falls into the good to excellent category, down 2%, 81% has been planted and 11% is squaring, both behind the respective usual paces.


67% of rice is reported as good to excellent, a decline of 3%, and 94% has emerged, matching the five-year average.


47% of sorghum is good to excellent, steady with the first rating of 2022, and 64% is planted, compared to 68% typically this time of year.


U.S. pasture and rangeland conditions were unchanged at 45% good to excellent.


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


ST. LOUIS & ROTTERDAM, Netherlands--Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) ("Bunge") announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Viterra Limited, a private company limited by shares incorporated under the laws of Jersey ("Viterra"), together with certain affiliates of Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN) ("Glencore"), Canada Pension Plan Investment Board ("CPP Investments") and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation ("BCI"), to merge with Viterra in a stock and cash transaction.


The merger of Bunge and Viterra will create an innovative global agribusiness company well positioned to meet the demands of increasingly complex markets and better serve farmers and end-customers. With an enhanced global network, the combined company's increased diversification across geographies, seasonal cycles and crops will increase optionality in managing risk and increase resiliency. Together, the highly complementary organizations will benefit from more diversified capabilities, greater operational flexibility across oilseed and grain supply chains and processing, greater resources and combined employee talent to innovate and deliver for customers in every environment, creating value for all stakeholders.


Under the terms of the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Bunge and Viterra, Viterra shareholders would receive approximately 65.6 million shares of Bunge stock, with an aggregate value of approximately $6.2 billion,1 and approximately $2.0 billion in cash, representing a consideration mix of approximately 75% Bunge stock and 25% cash. As part of the transaction, Bunge will assume $9.8 billion of Viterra debt, which is associated with approximately $9.0 billion of highly-liquid Readily Marketable Inventories.


In addition, Bunge plans to repurchase $2.0 billion of Bunge's stock (the "Repurchase Plan") to enhance accretion to adjusted EPS. Bunge intends to commence repurchases as soon as practically possible, subject to market conditions and SEC rules on trading restrictions, and expects to complete the Repurchase Plan no later than 18 months post transaction close. Viterra shareholders would own 30% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis upon the close of the transaction, and approximately 33% after completion of the Repurchase Plan.2


The Food and Drug Administration has another line of defense to prevent antimicrobial resistance in those drugs important to humans that are also used in animals. Farmers and ranchers will now need veterinarian prescriptions for medically important antimicrobials after animal drug makers voluntarily switched from over-the-counter labeling to prescription only.


The change stems from FDA draft guidance issued in 2019 and final guidance that came out in 2021 which included a two-year timeline for the transition.


Species impacted by the guidance include cattle, swine, chickens, turkeys, horses, sheep, goats, cats and dogs.


Unlike human prescriptions for antibiotics that require a doctor visit, depending on the state, farmers and ranchers generally do not have a veterinarian examine each animal for which the prescription is issued, "as long as the veterinarian has established a valid [veterinarian-client-patient relationship] with the farmer or rancher that owns or cares for the animal in need of treatment," FDA said in a fact sheet.


Texas Tech Named Host for Third Global Sorghum Conference

The 2026 conference will be a convergence of academia, national programs, non-governmental organizations and the private sector

Morning Ag Clips


LUBBOCK, Texas — The Global Sorghum Association (GSA) announced Thursday (June 8) that Texas Tech University will host the third Global Sorghum Conference. The conference is scheduled to take place September 14-18, 2026.


Texas Tech, located in Lubbock, Texas, is a comprehensive public research university with the Carnegie Classification of Very High Research Activity. The university’s diverse research focuses on themes of rural resiliency, climate change, food security and One Health.


As the only Texas flagship research university located in the western half of the state, Texas Tech plays a critical role in higher education accessibility, research and innovation.


“We are extremely excited that Texas Tech has been selected as the host for the next Global Sorghum Conference,” said Joseph A. Heppert, vice president for research and innovation at Texas Tech. “This event will provide an outstanding opportunity for our university to showcase the incredible contributions our faculty are making to advances in agricultural science and put Lubbock’s famous hospitality on display for the global scientific community.”


The conference will build on the successes of the 2023 “Sorghum in the 21st Century” Global Sorghum Conference in Montpellier, France. In 2026, the conference will aim to foster interaction between academia, government and national programs, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. As host, Texas Tech plans to catalyze new research and collaboration on high-priority topics and strengthen the relationship between producers and researchers through local farm tours.


The university also intends to use the next conference as an integral platform for cooperating with the GSA to promote the international importance of sorghum.

“The GSA is very excited about having the next sorghum congress in Texas, which is surely an important cradle of sorghum breeding, and we are looking forward to interacting with the Texas Tech University team in the congress organization,” said Jurandir Magalhaes, GSA chair.


Texas is the second-largest producer of sorghum in the U.S., harvesting 3.15 million acres annually. Texas Tech is a Hispanic Serving Institution with a student enrollment of more than 40,000. To learn more about the university, please visit


By the editors

It's been the talk of the coffee shop - scientists have been forecasting the development of El Niño for months and issued the first El Niño Watch on April 13. In the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monthly outlook released on Thursday, forecasters issued an El Niño Advisory, meaning El Niño conditions are now present and expected to gradually strengthen into the winter.




El Niño is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops near the equator in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, but the impacts on the climate extend far beyond. The natural climate phenomenon occurs on average every two to seven years.


"Depending on its strength, El Niño can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world," says Michelle L'Heureux, climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center. "Climate change can exacerbate or mitigate certain impacts related to El Niño . For example, El Niño could lead to new records for temperatures, particularly in areas that already experience above-average temperatures during El Niño."


El Niño's influence on the U.S. is expected to be weak during the summer months and then become more pronounced in late fall through spring. By winter, there is an 84% chance of greater than a moderate strength El Niño, and a 56% chance of a strong El Niño developing.


Typically, moderate to strong El Niño conditions during the fall and winter result in wetter-than-average conditions from southern California up the Gulf Coast and drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley. El Niño winters also bring better chances for warmer-than-average temperatures across the northern tier of the country.


While most headlines highlight how El Niño can bring historic heat around the globe, agricultural meteorologist Eric Snodgrass says it also tends to bring favorable growing conditions for crops in the Midwest.


To read entire report, Click Here


Source: USDA news release

Farm sector debt tied to real estate is expected to be at a record high of $375.9 billion in 2023, according to data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS).


Farm sector real estate debt has been increasing continuously since 2009 and is expected to reach an amount that is 87.5 percent higher in 2023 compared with 2009 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Real estate debt now far outpaces debt that is not secured by a mortgage (non-real estate debt).


Historically, real estate debt and non-real estate debt have trended similarly, but they have diverged in recent years. Non-real estate debt showed an 11.9-percent year-to-year increase in 2014 in inflation-adjusted dollars but has shown decline after 2017. Meanwhile, there has been a continuous increase in real estate debt since 2009.


Growth in farm real estate asset values and relatively low interest rates contributed to the increase in farm real estate debt. In 2023, real estate debt is expected to be 33.0 percent higher than the 10-year average (2012-2021), while non-real estate debt is expected to be 10.2 percent lower than the 10-year average.


According to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service's Land Value 2022 Summary, the average value of farm real estate reached a record $3,800 per acre in 2022, a 12.4-percent increase from 2021. Find information and analysis on ERS's Farm Sector Income & Finances topic page, which is updated four times a year.



Check out a great article in Nature Plants Journal on how the regulation of gene editing "ought" to work. Spoiler alert: it's not the way the Biden administration and the US EPA feel.



CropLife magazine reports:


Farmers are looking to retail partners for guidance on how sustainable practices like carbon farming and products like biologicals fit with their farm operation. It's an exciting opportunity that forward-thinking retailers will want to capitalize on to grow revenue and hold on to valuable customer relationships.


But how do you ramp up quickly to meet the immediate demand without losing focus on the core products and services that got you where you are?


For more information and to register click here.


Editor's Note: The TSTA has no affiliation with CropLife magazine or Indigo Ag. We have been reporting on the potential of income generation with carbon sequestration and this my represent a good opportunity for you to learn more. Indigo Ag offered a presentation on their portfolio as one of our annual meetings five or six years ago.


Canada has joined the United States in dispute settlement consultations with Mexico over a decree that ban's genetically modified corn.


In a statement Friday, Canada's Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and International Trade Minister Mary Ng said they share concerns with the US that Mexico's measures are not scientifically supported and could disrupt international markets.


The US Trade Representative requested consultations under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) last week.


The Canadian officials also said they are committed holding its trading partners accountable and a science-based approach to keep food, feed and the environment safe while supporting producers.


If consultations aren't resolved within 75 days, the US and Canada can request a dispute settlement panel to decide the case.Canada

Warning on seed production in Europe

European Seed Growers Group release


European seed growers held a meeting at Freyburg/Unstrut in Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) from 23rd to 25th May 2023. The growers’ union representatives from the 8 country-members of the ESGG gathered around BDS vice-chairman Arnd-Kristian Lauenstein and ESGG chairman Luc Jacquet.


“All European states are facing threats that could lead to the stopping of many seed productions in Europe if no solution is found. At the end, Europe's seed sovereignty is at issue!” according to Luc Jacquet.


First, the non-renewal and the reduced uses of active substances without credible alternatives. Insecticides are particularly concerned and ESGG members will increase their exchanges to share knowledge and find solutions that will enable our business to remain technically and economically viable.


The recent floods in Emilia-Romagna (Italy), which destroyed seed crops, are a reminder of the urgent need to adapt agricultural sectors to climate change. This is done by prevention, with risk management tools, work on genetic and any other risk averting solution. Also, there is a need of compensation systems for seed production losses. The ESGG members lend their support to growers and Italians affected by the floods.


Overall, the observation is a lack of tools. The European calendar is very busy before the summer, with the seed Regulation proposal (PRM) that will replace the current 12 directives and the proposal of NGT uses Regulation. Europe urgently needs to be ambitious on these issues to avoid the loosing of his seed sovereignty (variety diversity, both quantity and quality) and his expertise. The Americas and the United-Kingdom have already allowed the targeted mutagenesis, which is a mimetic of natural mutation phenomena. At the end, the European seed sector need to remove regulatory barriers and a financial support to develop the research and to continue the exploration of all possible solutions. In the current situation of research, it is compulsory to keep the current tools and to stop the dogmatic suppression of chemical solutions which demonstrate their efficiencies. Europe has one of the most restrictive policies on PPP uses. The Regulation on sustainable uses of PPP (SUR) is extremely hazardous for our fragile sectors!


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