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Turning up the dimmer switch on P450sTurning up the dimmer switch on P450s
Oct 27

TSTA Weekly Update, 10/27/2022

Weekly Update from the Texas Seed Trade Association
Member News

Attention Sorghum, Sunflower, and Millet Seed Producers


It's Growout time again. We've reached out to our friends and cooperators in Puerto Rico. Carmen Santiago reports the Gan Eden Farm is a shambles and they lost nearly everything. She reports they are resilient however and they intend to persevere and are preparing for the Texas winter growouts. Apparently not their first rodeo.  


First planting dates are scheduled for Costa Rica and are tentative for November 15.  


Please download the growout planning & intention form found here for more information and to submit your estimates. Thank you and we'll forward more info as it is available.  


Reserve the dates! The annual Texas Seed Trade Association conference will be February 12 and 13th, 2023 at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Rooms will be available from Saturday night February 11th with departure on Tuesday February 14. Super Bowl Sunday is the 12th. Plan to join us. Registration on-line should be live in a couple of days. 

Western Seed Association will convene their annual meeting on Monday October 31 at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, MO.  The meeting begins with a reception Monday evening at 6:00PM and transitions into the ASTA Farm and Lawn Seed Conference on Wednesday November 2.  


Please visit for more information and to register for the event.  

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: ASTA is headed to Florida. Please join us at the last Chicago CSS meeting!

Texas Plant Protection Conference Dec. 6-7 in Bryan

Changing markets, pesticide, fertilizer, weather outlook to be discussed


BRYAN - The agricultural industry is changing, and the upcoming Texas Plant Protection Conference is an opportunity to learn about responding to these changes.

Ronnie Schnell, Texas Plant Protection Association president and Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension specialist, invites farmers, ranchers, crop consultants, Extension and other ag industry professionals to a two-day conference Dec. 6-7 at the 34th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference at the Brazos Center in Bryan, Texas. Ag leaders will discuss changing markets, changing pesticide and fertilizer outlooks as well as changing weather patterns and the impact of these changes on Texas agriculture.

The conference begins with a general session. Following a welcome by Dr. Jeffrey Savell, Vice Chancellor and Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences for Texas A & M AgriLife, Dr. Mark Welch, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service grain marketing economist, will discuss “Global Markets Outlook and Impact on Texas Agriculture”.


After a short break to view ag research posters and industry displays, Chris Novak, President & CEO of CropLife America, will present information on “The Pesticide Forecast- Innovation, Opportunity & Challenge”.  Toby Hlavinka, President & CEO of American Plant Food Corporation, will discuss “Fertilizer – Supply & Pricing Outlook”. The morning session ends with a presentation on “Weather Patterns Impact on Texas Agriculture” by Eric Snodgrass, Science Fellow and Principal Atmospheric Scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions.


After lunch, the afternoon Consultant Session includes discussions on “Gossypol-free Cottonseed Could Help Solve World Hunger’ by Keerti Rathore with Texas A & M University. Dalton Ludwick, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomology Specialist, will present information on “Stink Bug Control in Sorghum”. “An update on “Carbon Credit Contracts” will be presented by Tiffany Lashmet, J.D., Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Law Specialist.


Following an afternoon break, Dr. Barron Rector, AgriLife Extension range specialist, will conduct his Pest ID Contest. It’s a fun way to learn more about ag pest in Texas. The first day of the conference ends with New Technology & Chemistry updates by industry technical specialists.


The second day of the conference begins with a Law & Regulations Session that includes an update from Perry Cervantes with the Texas Department of Agriculture. Then “Federal Pesticide Policy Updates” will be led by Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for Agriculture to the EPA Administrator in Washington, DC.


The remainder of the program consists of concurrent sessions on Cotton, Horticulture/Turf, Grain, Pasture & Rangeland, Water& Irrigation and Fertility Management. These sessions feature the latest from Texas A&M AgriLife and industry leaders.


Ray Smith, the Texas Plant Protection Association Board Chairman, reminds conference attendees to be sure and attend the Awards Luncheon at noon on the second day of the conference.  Several TPPA Awards are presented including the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award.


Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) will be offered for both TDA and CCA.  For more information or to register to attend the conference either in person or virtually visit the TPPA website: . Discounts are available for early registration and for farmers.

Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA)


IPSA's 34rd annual conference will be held January 23-24, 2023 in Tucson, AZ.


There are some different things this year we would like to cover:


• We will have all receptions on site this year to take advantage of the beautiful scenery of the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort! One of the receptions is titles the "Legends of Independence" where we will have a chili cook off and a salsa competition. During your registration, you will have the ability to register for each of those events - or judge!


• We will be offering a Flash Networking corner for you have quick 20-minute meetings during breaks! This is very new to IPSA and we hope this will bring a new benefit to our conference. These meetings will need to be prescheduled and can be done on the Conference App! For questions, please contact Cat at 


• In the agenda this year, we have built in a large amount of time for networking and visiting the exhibitors.


For more information click here.

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!


10/27/22 - 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!

News Bits


The USDA says the U.S. corn and soybean harvests made solid advances over the past week. That was because of generally dry conditions in much of the Midwest and Plains, but this week has already seen severe storms, heavy rain, and even snow in parts of the region, which will cause at least some delay.


As of Sunday, 61% of U.S. corn is harvested, compared to the five-year average of 52%, and 97% of the crop is mature, matching the average.


80% of soybeans are harvested, compared to the normal rate of 67%.


79% of winter wheat is planted, compared to 78% on average, while 49% has emerged, compared to 56% typically in late October due to drought in parts of the Midwest and Plains.


45% of cotton is harvested, compared to the five-year average of 39%, and 30% of the crop is called good to excellent, down 1%.


94% of rice is harvested, in-line with the usual pace.


22% of U.S. pastures and rangelands are rated good to excellent, 1% less than last week.


U.S. grains in all forms (GIAF) exports for the 2021-2022 marketing year topped 122 million metric tons, the second-highest total on record. That total trails the 129 million metric tons in 2020-2021.


The U.S. Grains Council analyzed USDA data to find near-record exports of ethanol helped offset losses from corn, barley, and barley products. Mexico is the top GIAF destination.


Record exports of ethanol, corn, DDGS, and pork and pork products, combined with fewer imports from China, made Mexico the biggest U.S. market in 2021-2022. Mexico imported over 27 million metric tons worth $11 billion. China was the second-largest export market for U.S. GIAF, with exports totaling 26 million metric tons worth more than $11 billion. Canada was in third place, taking in U.S. GIAF totaling more than 13 million metric tons worth $6 billion.


ASTA is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Samuel Crowell as the association's new Senior Director, International Programs and Policy. In this role, Crowell is responsible for managing and implementing the association's international programs and trade policy.


Crowel received his B.S. in Biology from West Virginia University and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in Plant Biology, Plant Breeding and International Agriculture and Resource Development.


In addition, he was awarded an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, serving in the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, and a Mirzayan Fellowship at the National Academies of Sciences Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. Prior to his time at the U.S. Department of State, he held leadership positions at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA.


Sam started with the ASTA team on October 17 and can be reached at .


A U.S. Senator says Congress is ready to step in to avoid a railroad strike.


Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley tells Brownfield in late September there were enough votes to pass a bill that would keep freight moving if rail companies and labor unions could not come to terms voluntarily.


"And I think we're in a position to do that again (and) it's a 'must be' position to be in (because) we can't let the railroads stop. It would affect not just agriculture, but it would enhance the price of food all over the country."


He says lawmakers would need to act quickly once Congress returns to session following the midterm elections.


"Seems to me that either the President gets the unions to abide by it, or Congress has to take this action. And I would hope that Congress would take this action without any problem, in other words not take five days that it normally takes to pass a bill."


The legislation Grassley is referring to would strengthen the authority of the Surface Transportation Board to address service emergencies and require contracts to have delivery standards.


Florida's Department of Ag issued preliminary loss figures from Hurricane Ian. Losses to Florida ag and infrastructure total between $1.18 billion and $1.89 billion, according to the preliminary assessment.


The University of Florida's Institute of Food and Ag Services (UF/IFAS) last week said that the preliminary losses for Ian were around $1.56 billion, while the government update issued this week takes into account citrus tree replacement, animal infrastructure damage and forestry. 


By Jennifer Marston

  • Nearly six in 10 US farms surveyed (57%) currently plant cover crops on their farmland, according to according to the latest Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer report. 
  • Top reasons among survey respondents for planting cover crops are to “improve soil health” (37%) and “improve erosion control” (33%).
  • Just 5% said “carbon sequestration” was a motivator for planting cover crops.


Turning up the dimmer switch on P450s 

The University of Western Australia

Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI)

Written by: Peter Newman


If you cut your finger off, you are not at an elevated risk of producing children with fewer fingers.


But…if you feed a mouse a high-fat diet before and during pregnancy, it’s likely to have offspring with a sweet tooth who are at higher risk of obesity. This is epigenetics at play. Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. We are accustomed to discussing herbicide resistance due to changes in the genetic code (such as target-site mutations).


But there are other mechanisms that involve no changes to the code. We explain them in simple terms as turning up or down the dimmer switch. Turning up or down the expression of a gene that is responsible for making an important enzyme/protein.


AHRI researcher Qin Yu recently teamed up with a team of Chinese scientists to show that a case of metabolic resistance in Barnyard grass in China is likely associated with epigenetics. There were no changes to the genetic code of the plant, but there were changes in the expression of a specific P450 gene. The dimmer switch was turned up, more P450 enzymes were produced, and resistance to SU herbicides resulted. And, as we often see with metabolic resistance, there was also cross resistance to group 1 (A) herbicides despite them never being applied to the field.


This is high-level science that can be difficult to get your head around, but it’s important because it paves the way to understanding cross-resistance between herbicides that we are seeing in Australia.


Barnyard grass – a major global rice weed

Barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) is a major weed of rice globally. Rice yield reduction across the globe due to this weed is about 35%, so it’s a pretty big deal.


Control of Barnyard grass relies heavily on ALS herbicides (SU herbicides) such as penoxsulam. In this study, penoxsulam was used extensively and 12-fold resistance evolved as you can see in the dose response below. 

The researchers then discovered that this Barnyard grass was cross resistant to the Group 1 (A) herbicide cyhalofop-butyl despite this group of herbicides never being used on this population. The dose response curve below demonstrates this resistance and it turns out that this resistance level is also 12-fold.

No target-site mutations

The researchers then used gene sequencing to look for all the known target site mutations that cause ALS resistance and found nothing, so they suspected that metabolic resistance was at play.

CYP genes

CYP is short for Cytochrome P450 enzymes, and scientists name these enzymes with the acronym CYP at the start of the name. There is a global effort to understand these genes which helped the researchers to zero-in on the gene at the centre of this resistance.


They found that a gene called CYP81A68 was expressed higher in the resistant plants. There were no genetic changes to this gene, but the dimmer switch was turned up, and more of the enzyme was produced. This in turn led to higher levels of metabolism of the herbicide which caused the resistance.


Promoter is a sequence of the DNA that tells the gene when it needs to express and then translate that gene into a protein. These promotors are effectively the dimmer switch.


This dimmer switch function can be modified (enhance or depress)by DNA methylation. The scientists think that more methylation in the promoter sequence leads to less expression of the gene, but this is all the subject of future research to further understand this type of herbicide resistance.


This research is part of an important global effort to further understand non-target site herbicide resistance and its regulation. It’s tricky to understand, but it’s important research. Gene expression regulation is complicated, we don’t know exactly where this research will help us in the future, but we know that we can manage what we don’t understand, and this research will ultimately help us to win the war on resistant weeds.

Texas’s Allium/Onion leafminer program recognized by APHIS under the federally recognized State Managed Phytosanitary (FRSMP) Program


USDA/APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) gives Federal recognition to the State of Texas Allium leafminer program under the Federally Recognized State Managed Phytosanitary (FRSMP) program. This is the first State-managed phytosanitary program to be recognized in Texas.


If Onion leafminer (Phytomyza gymnostoma (Loew) Diptera: Agromyzidae) is detected in imported goods, shipments will be prohibited entry to Texas. The importer has the option to voluntarily treat, re-export, redirect, or destroy the shipment. This is equivalent to restrictions imposed by the State of Texas when onion leafminer is detected in interstate movement. 


Federal recognition of a State-managed phytosanitary program under the FRSMP Program is consistent with U.S. trade policy and fulfills international agreements while promoting safe trade. For further information, go to

 The Latest EPA Ban

TSTA staff


Another "revised" assessment has resulted in an outright ban by the US EPA.  The organophosphate insecticide, tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), has been banned from use in pet collars.  


The environmental activist group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the EPA in 2009 to ban all pet products containing TCVP and the case has gone back and forth since that time.  The EPA reviewed the TCVP human health assessment several times, by court order, but failed to convincingly find evidence of exposure and potential harm.  


Unsatisfied with the results the NRDC persisted with a cooperative court and, eventually, the EPA under President Biden found cause for concern.  Interestingly the EPA did not find concern with TCVP-containing spray products formulated for the pet market but rather only in collars.  While we did not participate in the review it seems intuitive that formulated into plastic collars for intentional slow release would be the safer of the two application methods.  


Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, a senior scientist for the NRDC claimed a "major victory" for pet owners and their families saying "TCVP is a toxic chemical that poses significant health risks to children and does not belong on our pets and inside the home."  Unless, of course, it's sprayed on.  


The EPA is awaiting two additional studies on TCVP by the end of the year, from manufacturers, which may impact its conclusions.  Both studies are related to TCVP use in pet collars only.  


BrownfieldAgNews reports:


The National Corn Growers Association is asking the U.S. Trade Representative to intervene in a trade dispute with Mexico over its imports of corn.


Angus Kelly, Director of Trade and Biotechnology with NCGA, says the USTR needs to file a settlement dispute over Mexico's potential ban of biotech corn. "And, give farmers and grain traders in rural America some legal clarity on what happens with these Mexico decrees that are supposed to be implemented at the end of next year because we're out of time."


Earlier this year, Mexico's president said he would enact a decree that would end imports of corn grown using biotech and certain herbicides by 2024. Kelly says the USTR can file a trade dispute within the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.


He tells Brownfield it's unrealistic for one country to require non-biotech corn. "Growers aren't going to switch for a lot of reasons. A lot of them having to do with soil conservation and insecticides. A lot of the insect resistant traits have activity on the insect pressure that our growers need."


And, Kelly says, it isn't cost effective to switch varieties. "One grower told me if he tried to grow non-GM feed corn or #2 yellow deck corn, it would cost about $12 per bushels. Now, I don't know if Mexico or any country can afford $12 per bushel corn."


He says it would also have a major impact on grain trade and U.S. research and development for corn varieties.


Biotech corn makes up nearly 90 percent of U.S. corn crops with 18 percent of white corn exported to Mexico.

What type of grass is best for beef cattle?  Maybe it's Natives.

Crop Science Society of America


On average, Americans eat more than 50 pounds of beef each year (according to USDA estimates). But what do beef cattle eat? In the eastern United States, beef cattle often eat tall fescue, a “cool-season” grass. As the name suggests, cool-season grass grows best in temperate conditions: temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and abundant rainfall. But it’s not always cool and wet in the eastern U.S., and come the summer months, cool-season grasses tend to not do well.


On the other hand, there are also “warm-season” grasses, like big bluestem or bermudagrass. These grasses grow well in warmer, drier conditions during summer in the eastern U.S. “Cattle farmers can benefit from having strong summer forage production from warm-season grasses,” says Patrick Keyser, a researcher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “Such warm-season grasses can help them remain in business.”

Keyser is the lead author of a new study that assessed the strengths and weaknesses of five warm-season forage grasses. The study was published in Agronomy Journal, a publication of the American Society of Agronomy. 


Keyser and colleagues measured the nutritional value of different warm-season grasses. Three of the warm-season grasses evaluated in the study – eastern gamagrass, switchgrass, and a mix of big bluestem and indiangrass – were native grasses. “We chose these native grasses because less research has been conducted on them,” says Keyser. The native options may be less familiar to many beef producers in the eastern and southeastern U.S., but ended up being the most economically efficient.


And the study showed that the native forage options had an unexpected benefit. Tall fescue often harbors a kind of fungus. This fungus lives in cooperation with the grass but can produce chemicals that are toxic to cattle. Warm-season grasses do not harbor this fungus. All five warm-season grasses would reduce the risks associated with tall fescue toxicity. But the three native options would allow producers to move cattle off tall fescue up to 29 days sooner in spring than bermudagrass.


The team also monitored the weight gain of heifers eating the variety of grasses. “All the forages differed in important ways,” says Keyser. Which warm-season grass to use as forage depends on the end goals of different cattle producers. For example, for cattle producers aiming for cattle to gain weight quickly – important for grass finishing – a combination of big bluestem and indiangrass would be the best forage option. On the other hand, for producers looking for sustained weight gain over the summer months, switchgrass was a better option. “Ultimately, we want to help cattle producers make informed choices on which forage options fit their operations best,” says Keyser.


Using heifers for the study allowed the researchers to rigorously assess different warm-season grasses. “Young animals – like heifers – are very sensitive to forage nutrition because they are growing quickly at this stage of their lives,” says Keyser. For heifers, achieving target growth rates is important to ensure they become a productive part of the herd as soon as possible. “To meet these target growth rates, forage nutrition is critical,” says Keyser. “These animals make a great "measuring stick" for warm weather grasses as summer forage.”


The study also included an annual warm-season grass: crabgrass “Crabgrass is a highly preferred forage,” says Keyser. “Including it allowed us to compare benefits of both perennial forages and an annual.”


One of Keyser’s next steps is researching how some of the warm-season grasses work in the context of annual grazing cycles. “Specifically, we are evaluating complementing a tall fescue, cool-season forage base with some of these warm-season native grasses.”

This research was supported in part by USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant A13-1071-002, and USDA Hatch projects TEN00463 and TEN00547.

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