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Aug 11

TSTA Weekly Update, 08/11/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News

Upcoming Texas Seed Trade Association Regional Opportunity


TSTA will host a regional "sharpen your axe" meeting in Amarillo, Thursday September 8th. We'll get started at 10:30AM at the Embassy Suites. We'll be done before 5:00PM with a break for lunch.


The "get together" will consist of an active participation training session aimed at increasing our communication effectiveness. It is especially appropriate for people-managers and sales professionals. Based on the DiSC program we'll explore preferred communications styles with an emphasis on effectively communicating with others who have different styles. This is an eye-opening program and a chance to sharpen skills you use every day. For a brief course description click here.


The class will be facilitated by a Wilson Learning Certified DiSC instructor.  There is no charge for member companies of the TSTA.


DiSC orientation and an evening at Hodgetown Ballpark with the Amarillo Sod Poodles to follow. Join us at the Outfield Overlook for an evening of food, friends and fun. Reserve a spot today by replying to this email newsletter or calling the association office. Space is limited.  The Embassy Suites has rooms available.

ASTA’s largest event of the year, the CSS & Seed Expo 2022, will be opening soon for attendee registration, along with the new menu of sponsorship opportunities at all events for the coming fiscal year (July to June).

After 76 years, the CSS & Seed Expo returns to Chicago, IL for one last time this December 5-8, before the conference moves in 2023 to the Hyatt Regency Orlando for the foreseeable future.

With a theme of “Farewell Chicago,” the event’s website offers tools to submit your favorite conference memories for the many attendees who have been coming to Chicago each December year after year, many for over 30 years and counting.

Already featuring over 70 exhibitors, this year is anticipated to represent a return in full force after smaller numbers in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Visit ASTA Events at for more information.


Editor's Note: The Bears are going to Arlington Park and now ASTA is headed to Florida. Please join us at the last Chicago CSS meeting!

Save the dates for the 34th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference. December 6 & 7, 2022 at the Brazos Center in Bryan. Conference and Exhibitor/Sponsors registration is available on the TPPA website:


Don’t miss these outstanding presenters in the conference General Sessions:


“Global Markets Outlook & Impact on Texas Agriculture” - Dr. Mark

   Welch, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


The Pesticide Forecast—Innovation, Opportunity & Challenge” –              

Chris Novak, President & CEO, CropLife America


“Fertilizer - Supply & Pricing Outlook” - Toby Hlavinka, President &    

  CEO, American Plant Food Corporation


“ Weather Patterns Impact on Texas Agriculture” Eric Snodgrass,                         

    Nutrien Ag Solutions, Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist


“Gossypol-free Cottonseed Could Help Solve World Hunger”, Dr.

   Keerti Rathore, Texas A & M University


“Stink Bug Control In Sorghum” Dalton Ludwick, Texas A&M AgriLife

   Extension Entomology Specialist  


“Carbon Credit Contracts” – Tiffany Lashmet, J.D., Texas A&M 

  AgriLife Extension Law Specialist 


“Federal Pesticide Policy Updates” – Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for

  Agriculture to the EPA Administrator, Washington, DC

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!


8/11/22 - 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!

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present the annual Big Country Wheat Conference on Aug. 18 in Abilene.


The event will be held at the Taylor County Expo Center, 1700 Texas Highway 36. It will start with registration at 8 a.m. in Big Country Hall followed by the event from 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

The conference is $15 if registered by Aug. 12, or $20 at the door. Call the AgriLife Extension office in Taylor County at 325-672-6048 to reserve a spot.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units are available: one laws and regulations, one general and one integrated pest management.


“It certainly has been a challenging year for producers in our area,” said Steve Estes, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent, Taylor County. “Our goal with this event is to provide producers with information they can use to improve their bottom line during these trying times.”


Wheat topics and speakers

Estes said the conference will focus on the ongoing drought, rising input costs and seed availability, among other pressing topics for the industry. 

The keynote speaker for the event will be state Rep. Stan Lambert, District 71. The topics and presenters are as follows:

  • State of the Wheat Industry — Darby Campsey, director of communications and producer relations, Texas Wheat Producers Association, Amarillo.
  • World Wheat Outlook – Global and Domestic — Mark Welch, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension grain marketing economist, Bryan-College Station.
  • Ag Lending in Today’s Volatile Markets — Jason Gibson, Capital Farm Credit, Abilene.
  • Optimizing Production Efficiency with Rising Inputs — Reagan Noland, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, San Angelo.
  • Weed and Pest Management Strategies — Noland.
  • Seeding Rates, Spacing and Variety Selection — Noland.
  • Managing Forage Quality of Small Grains — Calvin Trostle, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension agronomist, Lubbock.
  • Weather Outlook – Short- and Long-Term Patterns and Trends — Sam Nichols, meteorologist, KTAB-TV, Abilene.
  • Seed and Fertility Management — Trostle.
  • Nitrogen and Topdressing — Trostle.
  • Saved Seed vs. Certified — Trostle.
  • Risk Management Strategies for Wheat and Fertilizer — Jared Morgan, vice president for global education, StoneX, Chicago.
  • Seed Availability and Logistics Industry Panel — Lance Embree, regional commercial manager, Westbred, Bozeman, Montana, and Mark Hodges, executive director, Oklahoma Genetics Inc., Oklahoma City.
  • Texas Department of Agriculture, Laws and Regulations — Jason Jones, inspector, Texas Department of Agriculture, Abilene.

News Bits


The USDA's national good to excellent ratings for corn and soybeans moved lower last week. That is due to another week of hot, dry weather in parts of the Midwest and Plains, in addition to excessive rain leading to flooding in parts of the Eastern Corn Belt.


As of Sunday, 58% of the U.S. corn crop is called good to excellent, 3% less than last week, with 90% of the crop silking, compared to the five-year average of 93%, 45% at the dough making stage, compared to 49% on average, and 6% of the crop dented, compared to 9% on average.


59% of soybeans are in good to excellent condition, down 1%, with 89% blooming, compared to 88% normally in early August, and 61% at the pod setting stage, compared to 66% on average.


86% of winter wheat has been harvested, compared to 91% on average.


64% of spring wheat is rated good to excellent, a drop of 6%, with 9% of that crop harvested, compared to the five-year average of 19%.


31% of cotton is in good to excellent shape, a decrease of 7%, with 95% squaring, compared to the typical rate of 93%, 69% setting bolls, compared to 64% on average, and 9% of those bolls opening, matching the usual pace.


74% of the U.S. rice crop is reported as good to excellent, 1% higher, with 69% headed, compared to the average of 765, and 5% harvested, compared to 7% on average.


24% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are in good to excellent condition, 1% below a week ago.


Source: National Sorghum Growers Association


House Agriculture Committee Ranking Republican Member Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA), Vice Republican Leader, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), and the Ranking Republican Member of each Subcommittee, penned a letter to Committee Chairman David Scott (D-GA) urging the Committee to schedule a hearing with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency's handling of crop protection products.


"The Biden EPA has already made steps towards restricting or canceling chlorpyrifos, Enlist, glyphosate, atrazine, sulfoxaflor, DCPA, diuron, organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and many more," the lawmakers write.


"This has eroded public trust in the regulatory process and is undermining confidence in the scientific integrity of the EPA."


To read the letter click here.


France Forms Crisis Unit to Face Worst Drought on Record


The French government activated a crisis unit to deal with the worst drought on record, and warned conditions could get worse.


The inter-ministerial task force will coordinate water supply to areas most affected and track the drought’s impact on energy production and agriculture, the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday. Borne’s office also urged people to conserve water and said restrictions will continue to be put in place where necessary to prioritize health needs, security and drinking water supply.


The situation, which follows a hot, dry spring, has led the government to enforce water restrictions in 93 out of the 96 administrative regions known as departments.


More than 100 towns are without drinking water, a government minister said Friday. Water-saving measures include a ban on irrigation for farmland.

“This drought is the worst ever recorded in our country,” Borne’s office said in a statement. “The lack of rain is aggravated by the accumulation of successive heat waves which reinforce evaporation and water needs.”


France’s corn crop probably will drop 19% this year because of the hot, dry weather, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday. 


The crisis is “a tragedy for our farmers, our ecosystems and for biodiversity,” according to the prime minister’s statement. Weather forecasts suggest the drought could last another two weeks and become “even more concerning,” Borne’s office said. The country just had its driest July in decades.


On Monday, EPA submitted a petition to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a partial rehearing of the three-judge panel’s June 17 ruling on the glyphosate interim decision. In that ruling, the panel vacated the interim decision’s human health risk assessment and sent back the ecological risk assessment to EPA to complete an Endangered Species Act analysis by October 1. It is regarding this remand of the ecological portion of the interim decision for which EPA is seeking a partial rehearing.


In its earlier ruling, the court panel directed EPA to issue a new ecological risk assessment, presumably including a finalized ESA analysis, by October 1. However, in its request for a partial rehearing, EPA points out that to finalize an ESA consultation is a multi-year process, for which the panel granted EPA only 106 days. Additionally, finalizing an ESA consultation requires EPA to coordinate with both the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, neither of which are parties to the lawsuit or are subject to the court’s order. As a result, EPA cannot comply with the court’s order, as it relies on cooperation from parties outside of EPA’s control.


EPA requested that the court grant the rehearing to, preferably, consider lifting the October 1 deadline. If the court is unwilling to do so, the agency requested the court vacate the interim decision in its entirety since it cannot comply with the order as it stands. EPA also suggested it may withdraw the ecological portion of the interim decision if the court does not lift the deadline or vacate the interim decision.


The American Soybean Association is party to the litigation and is continuing to carefully monitor the case for developments. Additionally, ASA is regularly seeking additional advocacy opportunities to protect grower access to glyphosate and other vital crop protection tools.

International partnership aims to improve sorghum breeding

Cornell University release


A new project seeks to improve sorghum breeding by combining the best aspects of two powerful software applications, applying cutting-edge genomic research to agriculture, and building partnerships between scientists in the U.S., Senegal and Costa Rica.


Sorghum, a grain that grows faster than wheat and has stronger drought tolerance than corn, is a critically important crop in both Senegal and Costa Rica. A new initiative from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement (ILCI) will aid plant breeders in those countries in developing new sorghum varieties, in collaboration with the lab of Ed Buckler, ILCI’s genomics lead, a research geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and an adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics; Ndjido Kane, director of ILCI’s center for Crop Innovation in West Africa in Senegal; and José R. Camacho, director of ILCI’s Central American and Caribbean Crop Improvement Alliance (CACCIA) in Costa Rica.


The new project seeks to harness breakthroughs in basic science to help plant breeders make better genome-based predictions about plant phenotypes – or how genes will be expressed in a given plant – so they can select for desirable qualities such as high yield.

“Genomic prediction looks at DNA and tries to extrapolate how sequence variation will impact the plant,” said Bethany Fallon Econopouly, research associate at Cornell and international applied genomics lead at ILCI.


Current DNA-based comparisons involve a huge number of variants, which may or may not end up impacting useful traits in a plant. Looking “a level up” at how RNA and proteins are expressed from DNA reduces variation and can provide breeders more helpful information, Econopouly said.


Most plant breeding models are based on DNA, and this project will seek to incorporate RNA and protein expressions, as well.


The researchers have combined the best features of two technologies for plant breeding researchers: TASSEL, the leading software tool used to evaluate plant diversity, with more than 20,000 users per year; and the R coding language used by many breeders and other applied scientists, which enables scientists to trace and repeat data experiments more efficiently than is possible with the simple TASSEL graphical interface.

Before TASSEL was integrated with R, it was less accessible to plant breeders, Econopouly said.


Brandon Monier, a postdoctoral researcher in the Buckler Lab, developed rTASSEL, so TASSEL can be used with R. It will now be updated to incorporate new features developed by ILCI researchers.

“We are excited for the opportunity to strengthen CACCIA’s genomic team practical skills on this important new and important software tool,” Camacho said. “Consequently, we’ll be able to strengthen our common bean and sorghum breeding programs through the implementation of genomics and transcriptomics goal-oriented research.”


The partnership between basic scientists in the U.S. and applied scientists in Costa Rica and Senegal is critical to the success of the project, because it will enable real-time, country-specific feedback.


“For basic scientists, one of the challenges is communicating with applied researchers to see if the tools you’re developing and the models you’re developing are actually useful for them,” Econopouly said. “Do they agree that the tool is user-friendly? Does it improve the accuracy of the prediction? Which traits are most important in your country? With these partnerships in Senegal and Costa Rica, we develop the tools together, which should improve our models, improve the software and, ultimately, improve plant breeding.”


by Nate Birt, Farm Journal


Despite the exponential growth in agricultural carbon market options, most producers aren't biting.


New research based on 500 farmer insights suggests adjustments in payment amounts, credit for existing conservation practices and reduction in paperwork could help but won't be a cure-all for enrollments.


"Failing to connect with drivers such as purpose, mission and legacy could inadvertently result in negative perceptions of carbon marketplaces as purely transactional efforts to commodify farmers' hard work," writes Cara Urban, lead author of the report from Trust In Food, Farm Journal's sustainable agriculture initiative. "Producers might see such marketplaces as seeking to extract value from their operations at the lowest possible price, while requiring a lengthy and risky up-front investment of time, energy and expert advisers."


The report isn't designed to throw water on sustainable agriculture investments or carbon markets, says Amy Skoczlas Cole, executive vice president at Trust In Food. Instead, it balances marketplace excitement with farmers' pain points and needs.


"We've witnessed exuberance in both the private sector and the U.S. government for using agricultural carbon markets as a tool to advance climate and food goals," Cole says. "We wanted to understand how producers feel about this new opportunity."




Around 90% of farmers are aware of carbon markets, and 3% are participating, according to the report. About a third say they're still monitoring the landscape, and 59% report they won't join without changes.


To read the entire report click here.


by Michael Langemeier, Center for Commercial Agriculture, Purdue University


Due to continued increases in demand for certified organic grains, crop farmers that have transitioned from conventional to certified organic grains report higher net returns per acre (McBride et al., 2015; Greene et al., 2017; Langemeier et al., 2020; Langemeier and O'Donnell, 2021; Center for Farm Financial Management, 2022). Despite this, certified organic land accounts for less than 2 percent of U.S. farmland (U.S. Agricultural Census, 2017). Information pertaining to the relative profitability of conventional and organic production is often lacking.


A farmdoc daily article written in October 2021 (October 1, 2021) compared net returns for conventional and organic crop enterprises using FINBIN data from 2016 to 2020. This article uses FINBIN data from 2017 to 2021 to update comparisons of crop yields, gross revenue, total expense, and net returns for conventional and organic alfalfa, corn, oats, soybeans, and winter wheat. The organic enterprise data represents farms that have already transitioned to organic production, and thus do not include information pertaining to the transition phase.


Gross Revenue, Total Expense, and Net Return to Land


Gross revenue, total expense, and net return to land per unit for alfalfa, corn, oats, soybeans, and winter wheat are presented in Table 2. Gross revenue includes crop revenue, crop insurance indemnity payments, government payments, and miscellaneous income. Total expenses include all cash and opportunity costs, other than those associated with owned farmland.


Farmland costs included in the total expense reported in Table 2 were comprised of cash rent, real estate taxes, and interest, which would be lower than the full opportunity cost on owned land.


Just to give the reader some idea as to how large this excluded cost may be, you would need to add an estimated $0.15 per bushel ($0.50 per bushel) to the total expense for conventional corn (conventional soybeans) if you wanted to account for the full opportunity cost on owned land. Also, note that the per unit net returns presented in Table 2 represent a net return to land rather than an economic profit.

Speeding up evolution at genome-level by alternative chromosome configuration

Original Publication

Paulo G. Hofstatter, Gokilavani Thangavel, Thomas Lux et al.

Repeat-based holocentromeres influence genome architecture and karyotype evolution

Cell, August 03, 2022


A research team led by André Marques at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, has uncovered the profound effects of an atypical mode of chromosome arrangement on genome organization and evolution. Their findings are published in the journal Cell.


In each individual cell in our body, our DNA, the molecule carrying the instructions for development and growth, is packaged together with proteins into structures called chromosomes. Full sets of chromosomes together constitute the genome, the entire genetic information of an organism. In most organisms, including us, chromosomes appear as X-shaped structures when they are captured in their condensed, duplicated states in preparation for cell division. Indeed, these structures may be among the most iconic in all of science. The X shape is due to a constricted region called the centromere that serves to connect sister chromatids, which are the identical copies formed by the DNA replication of a chromosome. Most studied organisms are “monocentric”, meaning that centromeres are restricted to a single region on each chromosome. Several animal and plant organisms, however, show a very different centromere organization: instead of one solitary constriction as in the classic X-shaped chromosomes, chromosomes in these organisms harbor multiple centromeres that are arranged in a line from one end of a sister chromatid to the other. Thus, these chromosomes lack a primary constriction and the X shape, and species with such chromosomes are known as “holocentric”, from the ancient Greek word hólos meaning “whole” (Figure 1).


A research team led by André Marques from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany, could now reveal the striking effects of this non-classical mode of chromosome organization on genome architecture and evolution.

Figure 1: In contrast to monocentric chromosomes (left), where a single centromere binds the two sister chromatids together, holocentric chromosomes (right) are composed of hundreds of centromeres, which greatly influences the way the genome self-organizes and evolves. - © A. Marques / created with

To determine how holocentricity affects the genome, Marques and his team used highly accurate DNA sequencing technology to decode the genomes of three closely related holocentric beak-sedges, grass-like flowering plants found worldwide that are often the first conquerors of new habitats. For reference, the team also decoded the genome of their most closely related monocentric relative. Thus, comparing the holocentric beak-sedges with their monocentric relative allowed the authors to attribute any differences they observed to the effects of holocentricity.


Their analyses reveal striking differences in genome organization and chromosome behavior in holocentric organisms. They found that centromere function is distributed across hundreds of small centromere domains in holocentric chromosomes. While in monocentric organisms, genes are largely concentrated distant from centromeres and the regions immediately around them, in holocentric species they are uniformly distributed over the whole length of chromosomes. Further, in monocentric species chromosomes are known to engage in a high degree of intermingling with each other during cell division, a property which appears to play a role in regulating gene expression. Notably, these long-range interactions were sharply diminished in the beak-sedges with holocentromeres. Thus, holocentricity fundamentally affects genome organization as well as how chromosomes behave during cell division.


In holocentric organisms, almost any given chromosomal fragment will harbor a centromere and will thus have proper centromere function, which is not true for monocentric species. In this way, holocentromeres have been thought to stabilize chromosomal fragments and fusions and thus promote rapid genome evolution, or the ability of an organism to make prompt, wholesale changes to its DNA. In one of the beak-sedges they analyzed, Marques and his team could show that chromosome fusions facilitated by holocentromeres allowed this species to maintain the same chromosome number even after quadruplication of the entire genome. In another of their analyzed beak-sedges, a species with only two chromosomes, the lowest of any plant, holocentricity was found to be responsible for the dramatic reduction in chromosome number. Thus, holocentric chromosomes may allow the formation of news species through rapid evolution at genome-level.


According to Marques, “Our study shows that the transition to holocentricity has greatly influenced the way genomes are organized and regulated as well as allowing genomes to evolve rapidly through fusing their chromosomes together”. The team’s findings also show exciting implications for plant breeding, which typically relies on the ability to swap DNA and genes between chromosomes and organisms. “Holocentric plants allow the swapping of DNA in the vicinity of centromeres, something which is normally suppressed in monocentric species. Understanding how holocentrics do this could allow us to ‘unlock’ those genes in monocentric species and make them accessible for the breeding of better-performing, more resistant crop species.”

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