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Non-stressed corn, at left, compared to corn that was heat stressed at different stages of pollen development. (credit: Kevin Begcy, UF/IFAS)Non-stressed corn, at left, compared to corn that was heat stressed at different stages of pollen development. (credit: Kevin Begcy, UF/IFAS)
Jul 13

TSTA Weekly Update, 07/13/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


United Sorghum Checkoff news release


LUBBOCK, Texas The United Sorghum Checkoff Program launched its first Farm-to-School Curriculum, an agricultural education initiative that aims to integrate the science and production of sorghum, in addition to its nutritional value, into classrooms across the United States.


"We are thrilled to provide teachers with comprehensive materials that incorporate various aspects of sorghum into subjects from STEM to Language Arts," Sorghum Checkoff Director of Food Innovations & Institutional Markets, Lanier Dabruzzi MS, RD, LD said. "This initiative underscores our commitment to agriculture education and our goal to inspire the next generation to recognize and utilize the potential of sorghum in their lives and the world around them."


The curriculum provides educators with an array of engaging resources that introduce students to the importance of sorghum as a sustainable, versatile and flavorful grain that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. The program also aims to ignite the passion for agriculture in the next generation, cultivating an understanding and appreciation for sorghum.


"The focus on Farm-to-School is an exciting addition to our educational outreach," Sorghum Checkoff Executive Director, Norma Ritz Johnson said. "It serves as a remarkable resource for teachers, providing lesson plans and activities that conform to National Science and Common Core State Standards.


We believe this curriculum will not only spark students' interest in sorghum, but also inspire them to explore careers in agriculture. By introducing children to sorghum and its multitude of benefits early in their developmental years, we hope to cultivate a long-lasting appreciation for this crop. This early exposure aims to foster a new generation of consumers who are well-informed about the source of their food and cultivate a love for sorghum-based foods."


The Sorghum Farm-to-School curriculum engages students of all grade levels, from Kindergarten to 12th grade, through experiential learning. Tailored modules for elementary, middle, and high school students offer rich, multisensory experiences. Students not only grow and taste sorghum, but they also explore various subjects by writing about and applying their knowledge of this versatile grain.


These learning experiences cover a wide spectrum of educational content, from understanding sorghum's crucial role in global food security and world nutrition, to exploring its potential as a renewable energy source.


The program is further enriched with an interactive video, promoting an engaging and comprehensive learning environment.


Find tailored curriculum content and activities for Kindergarten to 12th grade students by exploring


Free Download of Guidelines for the establishment and management of seed testing laboratories. This is an interesting and well put-together document you may want to take a look at and keep for your files.


ASTA continues its partnership with Purdue University’s Center for Food and Agricultural Business to host the 2023 ASTA Management Academy August 15-17, 2023 in West Lafayette, IN. Participants will explore fundamental marketing strategies and the changing agribusiness environment as well as identify and apply management tools to examine profitability.


“Today’s seed industry has proven to be a challenging and disruptive environment in terms of technology changes, the continuous quest for efficiency, and increasing consumer demands,” said Scott Downey, center director and professor of agricultural economics. “The program will provide a great opportunity for seed industry professionals to sharpen their management toolkit, address challenges and take a hard look at their strategy for future success.”


For more information or to register, view the academy webpage.


We regularly receive thank-you letters from scholarship awardees as a result of your generous gifts to the TSTA Foundation. Here are a few recently received from Tarleton State University.

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.

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!


7/13/2023 - 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 improved last week. That followed solid rainfall in parts of the Midwest and Plains, but that precipitation did miss portions of the region and forecasts for this week are also mixed.


As of Sunday, 55% of U.S. corn is called good to excellent, up 4% on the week, with 22% silking and 3% at the dough making stage, both just ahead of the respective five-year averages.


51% of soybeans are rated good to excellent, 1% higher, with 39% blooming, compared to 35% on average, and 10% setting pods, compared to the normal rate of 7%.


46% of U.S. winter wheat is harvested, compared to 59% on average, and 40% of the crop is in good to excellent shape, unchanged.


47% of spring wheat is in good to excellent condition, a loss of 1%, and 72% has headed, compared to 67% normally in early to mid-July.


48% of cotton is in good to excellent shape, steady with last week, with 55% squaring and 17% setting bolls, both close to the usual paces.


76% of the U.S. rice crop is seen as good to excellent, an increase of 6%, with 30% headed, compared to 20% on average.


55% of sorghum is reported as good to excellent, unchanged on the week, and 96% is planted, compared to the five-year average of 99%, while 25% has headed and 15% is coloring, matching those averages.


47% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are good to excellent, 2% above a week ago.


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

New research looks to pollen for plant heat stress resilience

University of Florida


  • A new NIFA-funded project will examine pollen formation and viability in corn when heat stress is introduced during the different developmental stages.
  • The research aims to identify genetic resiliency markers that may inform future corn-breeding efforts.

People aren’t the only ones stressed by heat waves. For many plants, higher-than-anticipated temperatures can lead to water loss, wilted foliage and unsuccessful pollination.


University of Florida scientists are investigating how to improve plant resiliency to high temperatures. Kevin Begcy, assistant professor in the UF/IFAS environmental horticulture department, is looking to how pollen develops in corn as part of new, four-year project supported by a $650,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA).


Florida is the nation’s top producer of ready-to-eat sweet corn, although more acreage statewide goes toward production of the starchier field corn; some variety of maize is grown in most of the contiguous United States.

Non-stressed corn, at left, compared to corn that was heat stressed at different stages of pollen development. (credit: Kevin Begcy, UF/IFAS)


Begcy’s new research might inform corn breeding and production nationwide, in addition to other crops.

“From a scientific standpoint, we want to understand how pollen development in corn is impacted by stressors,” Begcy said. “But from a practical standpoint, we hope to find the set of genes that control the stress process, and then we can use that information to develop crops that can withstand the entire pollen development phase without suffering from heat stress.”


Begcy’s research focuses on different plant stressors – heat, drought, salinity – and considers the molecular level in identifying potential genetic resiliency markers. He regularly collaborates with UF/IFAS plant breeders to inform the progression of their breeding efforts. He said that future collaboration is among the eventual goals of this project.


Corn pollen development can be divided into seven stages, from a single cell to pollen germination. Begcy’s laboratory has developed a technique to examine each stage at the cellular level. This study will introduce heat stress during those individual stages, follow them through their maturation and see their impact on pollination in the non-stressed corn cob.


“Pollen is one of the most susceptible developmental stages for any plant,” Begcy said. “Studies have shown for years that pollen isn’t viable after being exposed to heat stress conditions. As we see here in Florida a lot, there may be one or two days of peak temperatures, followed by a return to expected temperatures. So, we wanted to answer a different question and identify whether stressors at the individual pollen developmental stages determine the outcome.”


Begcy’s team has already conducted preliminary research that showed when heat is introduced at an earlier stage of pollen development, the pollen does not germinate or grow properly. Therefore, some cobs will produce hardly any kernels.


Interestingly, another test’s introduction of heat stress during a later stage of pollen development resulted in what appeared to be proper germination, Begcy said. However, just like the earlier-stressed pollen, the resulting corn was misshapen and missing kernels.


The study is newly underway, with completion anticipated in April 2027.


By Jim Wiesmeyer and Jenna Hoffman,


A new report examines a future without glyphosate, showing if glyphosate was no longer a management tool available for farmers, the immediate impact would be costly to the economy, farmers and the environment.


Aimpoint Research, a global strategic intelligence firm, published the report titled "A Future Without Glyphosate," examining the repercussions that could emerge from the discontinuation of glyphosate, currently the most commonly utilized herbicide in the United States.


The report, commissioned by Bayer, stresses that while the American ag system and farmers would adapt over time, the immediate impacts to the economy, environment and farmers would be extensive and costly.


Key findings from the study suggest that the unavailability of glyphosate would:


*Lead to more tilling and fewer cover crops, which could result in the release of up to 34 million tons of CO2, equivalent to the emission of approximately 6.8 million cars.


*Cause a 2 to 2.5 times surge in input costs for farmers due to the limited supply and high prices of alternative products, affecting smaller farms disproportionally.


*Increase production costs by over $1.9 billion due to increased tillage.


*Add inflationary pressure to food prices over the long term for consumers.


*Reduce the global competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, especially corn.


*Eventually lead to the development of more alternatives, but this would require several years and substantial investments amidst regulatory uncertainty and a lull in crop protection innovation.


To read the entire article click here.



FRANKFURT -- A report by "Platow Borse" about a possible spin-off of the Crop Science division by the Bayer Group drove the share price in after-hours trading on Friday. At its peak, the shares on Tradegate gained 4.8 percent compared to the main Xetra trading session to 51.10 euros. The most recent gain was 2.5 percent to 50 euros.


Bayer CEO Bill Anderson is reportedly working on plans to spin off the agrochemicals division with a view to listing it on the stock market along the lines of Siemens Energy. Market participants have repeatedly speculated about this option in the past. However, skeptics counter that the weed killer glyphosate is still associated with risks that stand in the way of a spinoff.


TechSpot reports:


Good news for fertilizer, solar panel, and electric vehicle battery companies: a massive underground deposit of high-grade phosphate rock has been discovered in Norway, containing enough minerals to meet global demand for those products for the next 50 years.


Norwegian mining company Norge Mining said the 70 billion tonnes of phosphate rock was uncovered in the southwest of Norway, where it sits alongside other minerals such as titanium and vanadium that are used in the aerospace and defense industries. Update (July 7): Norge Mining in an email let us know they have revised their estimate for how long the deposit allows for a supply of phosphate rock from 100 years to 50 years.


Phosphate rock is used in the production of phosphorus, an essential component in the fertilizer industry - 90% of the world's mined phosphate rock goes toward agriculture. It's also used in the production of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for electric vehicles, solar panels, and in small quantities in semiconductors and chips. All these products have been designated by the European Commission as "of strategic importance" in the production of key technologies for the green and digital transition.


The 70 billion tonne phosphate deposit is just under the proven world reserves of 71 billion tonnes, writes Euractiv.


To read the entire article click here.



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