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Einkorn wheat, on the right, compared to a modern variety.Einkorn wheat, on the right, compared to a modern variety.
Aug 03

TSTA Weekly Update, 08/03/2023

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association

Member News


Our Amarillo Sod Poodles rain-out last month has been rescheduled! Friday September 15, dinner at 6:30PM to 7:30PM. Your Sod Poodles take on the Frisco Roughriders at 7:05PM. The Sod Poodles are HOT right now and look like they are going to stay hot so plan on attending with your fellow seed professionals.


We were, originally, scheduled for a club box when our game was rained out last month. Unfortunately all the boxes are booked the reminder of the year so we've moved to the picnic area. This area is "outside" but is shaded and should be very comfortable. The good news is we went from being able to accommodate 25 people to 35 people. This is first reserved - first dibs so please let the TSTA staff know your intentions. Plan to bring some of your own people and meet with your friendly competitors at this fun event!


TSTA staff will be unable to join you but we scarcely think that will dampen anything and we're hopeful Mother Nature won't dampen anything this time either. Food is included and the first 35 get free admission to the game. We're working on getting your first couple of drinks covered by the association at the game. Looks like we're going to be able to do that!


Reserve your spot(s) today! It's pretty easy; reply to this email or call 512-944-5052.


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.


Join the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) this December 5 - 8, 2023 at our NEW venue, the Hyatt Regency Orlando, for the Field Crop Seed Convention, an unparalleled seed business networking and educational opportunity. Gathering over 2,000 attendees from 36 countries, the Field Crop Seed Convention (formerly known as the CSS & Seed Expo) is THE place to see and be seen amongst the global community of companies working in all field crops, from corn and soybean, to wheat, rice, cotton, sorghum and so much more. Now in Orlando, after 77 years in Chicago, our new venue offers any and all seed industry stakeholders a wealth of new opportunities, in a central hub of exhibits, sessions and private meeting rooms all in one combined meeting space area. 


You don't want to miss this year. Make plans now to join us in Orlando and bring the family along too, for their own special options!

Visit the conference home page to learn more


The 35th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference will be December 5 & 6 at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. More info to come as the dates approaches.


BASF has received key import approvals for its newest cotton innovations, Axant™ Flex Herbicide Tolerance Technology and Axant Flex TwinLink® Plus Insect Control Technologies. This was the final step needed to support planting of Axant Flex Cotton in the U.S., both with and without TwinLink Plus1. The Axant Flex stacked trait has been bred into the best-in-class germplasm that growers have come to trust from BASF brands, FiberMax® and Stoneville® cotton.


A seasoned veteran in agricultural seed testing, Craig Nelson, has been named Genetics Lab Director at Indiana Crop Improvement Association. Craig brings with him more than 30 years of quality testing and laboratory operations experience as well as overall business management and business development. His first day with ICIA was July 31, 2023.


Tomorrow the random ballot order of Texas Constitutional Amendments will be assigned. Stay tuned for news on the Right to Farm Amendment and its place on this fall's ballot. Please consider voting "for" this important amendment protecting farming and ranching in Texas.


Source: Callaway-Jones Funeral Home


Danny Allen Klinefelter was born April 5th, 1947, in Taylorville, Illinois. He passed after 76 wonderful and influential years of life on July 24th, 2023, in College Station, Texas.


Danny grew up on his family's farm in Illinois with his parents Allen and Aldine, and two younger brothers, Lynn and Skip Klinefelter. He developed a love of agriculture from a very young age that would last his entire life. He was a man with a great passion for learning and earned his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University. More impressively, he went on to earn his masters and his PhD at the University of Illinois, all while raising his four precious daughters.


Danny was a titan of American agriculture and considered his greatest achievement to be The Executive Program for Agriculture Producers (TEPAP) which many have described as life changing. He was also an author, a speaker, and an Honors Professor at Texas A&M University. He was also a Regents Fellow, as well as an Extension Economist Emeritus.


Among his many accomplishments he was also granted the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, which you can still find hanging in his office. Furthermore, he was named one of the top 25 most influential people in American agriculture, alongside various other world leaders in the industry. While he had a passion for teaching, he also cared deeply for his students, many of which have remained lifelong friends.


He was even known to welcome them into his home for the holidays, caring for them as if they were his own. He believed his purpose in life was to make a difference and to make his mark in this world. He certainly did this in every way that counts.


Danny was married at 17 and spent 58 wonderful years with the love of his life, Vicki Diann Jostes Klinefelter. Their deep love for one another was paramount to anything Nicholas Sparks or Jane Austin could ever conjure.


He is survived by his four beautiful daughters and four sons-in-law: Christine and Jeff, Julie and Brian, Carol and Darrell, and Patty and Nathan. His legacy of faith and love will be carried on by his nine grandchildren that were the light of his life and two great grandchildren that brought him immense joy in his last few years.

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!


8/03/2023 - 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 dipped a little over the past week.


That followed high temperatures and mixed rainfall in parts of the Midwest and Plains, while conditions for this week are expected to generally be less threatening.


The USDA says 55% of U.S. corn is in good to excellent shape, down 2% on the week, with 84% of the crop silking, compared to the five-year average of 82%, and 29% at the dough making stage, matching the average pace.


52% of soybeans are called good to excellent, 2% lower, with 83% of the crop blooming and 47% at the pod setting stage, both slightly faster than normal.


80% of winter wheat is harvested, compared to 83% on average.


42% of spring wheat is in good to excellent condition, a drop of 7%, with 97% headed and 2% harvested, both a little bit behind their usual rates.


41% of cotton is rated good to excellent, 5% less than last week, with 86% squaring and 47% setting bolls, slower than the respective five-year averages.


71% of the rice crop is reported as good to excellent, a decline of 5%, and 62% has headed, compared to 54% on average.


55% of sorghum is good to excellent, down 5%, with 45% of the crop headed and 23% coloring, both close to normal.


39% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are good to excellent, 5% under a week ago.


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


Ann M. Simmons, Wall Street Journal


Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to ship food and provide more security assistance to a swath of African nations after his move to end a deal safeguarding the export of Ukrainian grain, rattling nerves in many of the continent's most vulnerable nations.


Putin is trying to maintain the support of several of Russia's Cold War-era partners, and on Friday, the final day of a two-day summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, he told African leaders that he was ready to train their militaries, write off debts and provide thousands of tons of wheat and corn. He also pledged to extend trade relationships with African nations, some of which already have close ties to Moscow, while offering to help modernize their own agricultural sectors and open new embassies.


"I would also like to note that before our very eyes, the African continent is becoming a new center of power," Putin told his counterparts. "Its political and economic role is growing exponentially. And everyone will have to reckon with this objective reality."


Africa--the largest regional grouping represented at the United Nations, with 54 governments--is becoming an influential element in the tussle between Russia and Ukraine for international support.


To read the entire report click here.

University of Maryland researchers sequence genome of einkorn wheat, the world’s first farmed crop - Ancient wheat could safeguard global food supply by boosting drought, disease resistance of modern strains

University of Maryland news release


An international team of researchers led by University of Maryland scientists has sequenced the complete genome for einkorn wheat—the world’s first domesticated crop—and traced its evolutionary history, a breakthrough that will help identify genetic traits like tolerance to diseases, drought and heat, and reintroduce those traits to modern bread wheat.

This major step to protect the world’s food supply from climate change and the increasingly severe weather expected in coming years was published today in the journal Nature.


“The most exciting thing about having this genome sequenced is that einkorn is truly a model species that we can use for research, not only as a reference for bread wheat, but other small grains like rye, barley, oats,” said Adam Schoen, a co-first author of the paper and a Ph.D. student working under professor Vijay Tiwari in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture.


Einkorn was farmed as early as 12,000 years ago, but as agriculture spread around the world, people replaced it with bread wheat, which they selectively cultivated for traits like large grain size and easy threshing. Over centuries of intensive cultivation and selection, bread wheat lost its natural resistance to drought, heat and pests—properties that would make it resilient to current threats from climate change.

Einkorn wheat, on the right, compared to a modern variety.


But einkorn, which is still grown in a variety of environments and used in certain rustic breads, has not undergone such intense selective breeding, which means it maintains many of its resilient properties. And unlike bread wheat, both wild and domesticated varieties of einkorn still exist.


Determining which of the hundreds of thousands of genes in bread wheat is responsible for resilient properties is a daunting task. That’s where einkorn comes in. Tiwari leads a large-scale breeding program that aims to reintroduce resilience genes into bread wheat and is using einkorn to help.


By comparing the einkorn genome with the genome of bread wheat, which was sequenced in 2018, researchers can now look for mismatches, narrowing the potential targets for genetic traits that differ between the ancient and modern grains. The new study sequenced both the domestic and wild variety of einkorn, identifying about 5 billion base pairs that combine to make up individual genes and placing them in the correct order.


The study demonstrated that einkorn can be used to map traits in bread wheat by showing that both grains share the same gene for influencing the number of shoots a plant sends up from its base. Since completing this study, UMD researchers have already begun identifying economically important genes, like those for grain size, and selectively breeding them into bread wheat.


The reference genome also enables scientists to trace the evolutionary history of einkorn wheat, which provides insight into human history. The researchers found einkorn has been hybridized many times since its initial domestication and dispersal throughout Europe and Central Asia. A detailed analysis of the genome could inform anthropological studies of human migration and settlement.


Another significant advance from the study was the speed with which researchers sequenced the entire einkorn reference genome. Although the bread wheat genome took more than a decade to sequence, the current study was completed in little more than a year. The researchers credit the collaboration of international experts in the wheat breeding consortium Tiwary leads. With experts in six countries on four continents, the team has applied the most advanced methods and technologies from various specialty areas to the task.


“This is the first step,” said Tiwari. “We are not only breeding einkorn genes into bread wheat, but we now have a chance to improve einkorn to make it easier to grow and harvest, because it is healthier and more nutritious than bread wheat.”

Gene editing improves grain quality and reduces heat stress in rice - Using CRISPR, University of Arkansas researchers were able to reduce grain “chalkiness” in rice by suppressing a gene that plays an outsized role in development of lower quality rice

University of Arkansas release


As global temperatures continue to rise, maintaining the quality and yield of crops adapted to lower temperatures will increasingly become a challenge. One crop known to be affected by higher nighttime temperatures during the ripening phase is rice, which can exhibit a condition known as “chalkiness” due to heat stress.


Chalkiness is when the rice granule is less compact due to the decreased concentration of starch. This can result in lower milling yields, cooking quality and overall market value. 


A new paper published in Plant Journal by researchers at the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, or UADA, may offer a remedy to both heat-induced and genetic chalkiness. The paper, “Targeted mutagenesis of the vacuolar H+ translocating pyrophosphatase gene reduces grain chalkiness in rice,” details how the team was able to gene edit a strain of japonica rice to reduce chalkiness.


The researchers specifically targeted a gene that encodes the vacuolar H+ translocating pyrophosphatase (V-PPase), an enzyme known to play a role in increasing grain chalkiness. Using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology, the team was able to reduce the expression of V-PPase by editing a promoter element, which controls how much it is expressed.


The mutated rice lines resulted in a 7 to 15 fold decrease in chalkiness, depending on the strain of rice, with a consequent increase in grain weight. The results held up even under increased nighttime temperatures. Overall, the mutated lines were characterized by more compact packing of starch granules and formation of translucent (as opposed to chalky) rice grain, showing a clear improvement in rice quality.


The process was novel enough that the paper’s first author, Peter James Icalia Gann, a Fulbright Scholar in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program, and co-author, Vibha Srivastava, a professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences who has a joint appointment with the U of A and the UADA, filed for a provisional patent.


“If we want to sustain life on our planet, it is really important to identify solutions to problems in our food systems that are coming with increasing average temperatures,” Gann said. “We were really excited to share our findings that utilized gene-editing in rice to improve grain quality that remains consistent — even under heat stress.” 


Additional co-authors included Dominic Dharwadker, an honors student in chemistry and biochemistry at the U of A, as well as Sajedeh Rezaei Cherati, Kari Vinznat, and Mariya Khodakovskaya with the Department of Biology at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.  

Gann and Dharwadker have previously been recognized for related work with awards from the Society for In Vitro Biology and American Society of Plant Biologists.




Agri-Pulse reports:


EPA is making pesticide incident data publicly available for the first time. The information includes 10 years' worth of reports on incidents involving adverse effects or product defects, to name two examples of the compiled reports.


EPA touts the move as "a major step to increase transparency," but the website housing the data also contains a warning: EPA says it "has limited confidence in the accuracy and validity of the data because the data entries are reports of one or more individuals' perspective of what happened."


"Caution should be used when analyzing these data as EPA does not guarantee the completeness or adequacy of the contents of the Incident Data System," the agency said.


The data contain more than 62,000 incidents, beginning in 2013.


To review the report click here.


Editor's Note: Feel free to peruse "data" for 62K "incidents" but we (the US EPA) do not vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of any the information. Aren't we proud of the "transparency" of this act? Should we also not be ashamed of the irresponsibility?



By Elaine Watson, AgFunder News


US retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives have continued to decline, falling 12.6% to $106.8 million in the five weeks ending July 2, 2023, with units down 19.8% year-over-year, according to new data from Circana (formerly IRI).*


For the year to July 2, 2023, sales fell 7.3% year-over-year to $1.1 billion, while units dropped 15.6%.


According to Anne-Marie Roerink, president at consultancy 210 Analytics: "Despite very low inflation and investment in promotions, volume sales have not been able to maintain the levels seen in the past two years."


While sales are down across all temperature states, the biggest declines have been in the refrigerated meat case and produce department, where retailers have also been cutting their assortments, she noted. "At $34.4 million, sales levels in the five weeks ended July 2, 2023, have fallen below June 2022 levels by 21.9% and compared to June of 2021, sales were down 33.4%."


To read entire report, Click Here


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