Author: rpuri

JIRCAS team visits BNI-wheat Trials at BISA Farms

BNI-wheat trial at BISA farm in Jabalpur, India as on 15 March 2023. Photographer – Anindito Mukherjee/BISA

By Richa Sharma Puri & Uttam kumar

From L to R – Dr. Pramod Aggarwal, Dr. Arun Kumar Joshi, Dr. Bram Govaerts and Mitsunori Saito at JICA office in New Delhi

A new partnership between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and CIMMYT will seek to improve nitrogen (N) retention and reduce greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in the wheat growing zone, focusing initially on Indo-Gangetic plains of India by developing new wheat varieties with the Biological Nitrification Inhibition (BNI) trait.

CIMMYT-BISA and JIRCAS teams during the project kick off meeting in New Delhi

The new initiative called “Project for the Establishment of Nitrogen-Efficient Wheat Production Systems in Indo-Gangetic Plains by the Development of BNI Technology” was announced on April 11, 2022, when CIMMYT’s director general, Bram Govaerts, signed the corresponding agreement with Mitsunori Saito, JICA’s chief representative in India.

The team from JIRCAS during a field visit at Ludhiana, Punjab

Thus, the research trials with BNI-trait are being carried out at CIMMYT-BISA research farms in India (Ludhiana, Jabalpur & Samastipur) and several ICAR institutions (IIWBR and CSSRI in Karnal, IARI at New Delhi). Recently, the JIRCAS-BNI team visited the BNI – wheat trials planted at CIMMYT- BISA research farms in Ludhiana (Punjab) and Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) where several elite wheat varieties carrying BNI – trait are undergoing field evaluations. These trials will help determine the BNI-trait expression and its impact on overall productivity. The team from JIRCAS observed some visible differences where BNI lines were performing better than the non-BNI lines under different nitrogen levels.

BNI wheat and its impact on the environment

In modern agriculture, the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers is huge. Around 70% of fertilizer applied in the field is not absorbed by the crops, thus making our farms a source of pollution. Not only this, but nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions add to the existing greenhouse effect way more than carbon dioxide. This release of Nitrogen is directly related to a nitrification process in the soil. Therefore, it’s critical to suppress the nitrification rate of agricultural soil. To combat this situation, a paper titled “Enlisting wild grass genes to combat nitrification in wheat farming: A nature-based solution” was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). It was co-authored by JIRCAS, CIMMYT, the University of the Basque Country, and the College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University. The paper reported the successful development of the world’s first BNI-enabled wheat – high on productivity and low on nitrogen fertilizer – mitigating global warming. This BNI wheat uses nitrogen more efficiently than conventional wheat varieties. The successful implementation of BNI-Wheat Project has huge potential not only to save the cost of fertilizer but help in reducing the greenhouse gas emission from wheat crops. The joint efforts by JIRCAS and BISA in developing this next-generation wheat may revolutionize wheat production systems across the globe. 

Wheat Field Day Celebrated

By Richa Sharma Puri

Participants during Wheat Field Day at BISA Research Farm in Ludhiana

Wheat field day is the annual celebration of research, hard work, and perseverance. It’s an effort to accelerate the global breeding process and serve humanity with the best in Wheat. This event allows wheat breeders to evaluate new, improved varieties for possible use. It’s an amalgamation of farmers, researchers, and young students from the agricultural field, as it opens a platform for co-creation, knowledge exchange and experience sharing.

Wheat Breeders at Ludhiana BISA farm selecting the wheat varieties

CIMMYT-BISA in India organises this day every year to showcase the breeding process, new breeding tools, mainstreaming of enhanced grain quality traits and integrating the traits needed for future wheat. This year also, BISA research farms in Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Ludhiana (Punjab) invited scientists from different parts of the country to have a firsthand look at the ongoing variety of trials. It’s been a premier event where researchers interact and learn about CIMMYT’s newest advanced wheat lines: heat, drought and disease resistant.  

This year in Ludhiana, more than 50 scientists from the national system and public and private sectors joined the wheat field day. Institutes like VNR Seeds, Shree Ram Seeds, IIWBR, PAU, HAU, BioSeeds, Nizuveedu Seeds, Star Seeds, Dayal Seeds, Nutranta, BHU, Savannah Seeds, and Ankur Seeds participated with full enthusiasm.

A total of 16787 entries and 19256 plots were planted at the BISA research farm, Ludhiana during the 2022-23 season. This includes 6058 standard yield trial plots and 13,198 small plots with two rows for stripe rust screening and line maintenance. Advanced wheat breeding lines from CIMMYT and international nurseries were made available for selection by public and private sector national partners, some of which are described below:

  • Elite Parcela Chica (EPC): 1062 entry.
  • South Asia Bread Wheat Genomic Prediction Yield Trial (SABWGPYT): 540 entries
  • High Zinc Wheat Yield Trial (HZWYT):   50 entries
  • Elite Spring Wheat Yield Trial (ESWYT: 50 entries
  • Semi-Arid Wheat Yield Trial (SAWYT): 50 entries
  • Heat Tolerant Wheat Yield Trial (HTWYT):  50 entries.
  • Wheat Yield Collaboration Yield Trial (WYCYT): 40 entries
  • Stress Adapted Trait Yield Nurseries (SATYN): 42 entries
  • High Zinc Advanced Nursery (HZAN): 234 entries.

BISA, in the last decade has focussed on mechanisation to improve efficiency, yield production with the lowest cost of production. Thus, having a significant positive impact on Indian agriculture. On Wheat Field Day, BISA displayed innovative farm machinery, digital tools and equipment used in farming with latest technology.      

Women farmers and students curious about CRA program at Bihar ‘Kisan Mela’

Bihar, India – On the last day of the Kissan Mela at Bihar Agricultural University (BAU) and Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, the Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) stall of Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) saw a tremendous turnout of women farmers and students. The Bihar government’ CRA program is aimed at developing and promoting technologies and practices that help farmers adapt to the changing climate and increase their productivity sustainably.

The farmers, scientists and students enquired about climate resilient varieties and technologies from BISA scientists and technical staffs. They witnessed live demonstrations of soil moisture meter and green seeker. Additionally, the video on wheat trials at BISA and CRA technologies showcased during the Kissan Mela was the center of attraction for many visitors.

The women farmers showed keen interest in seed production in their field and were interested in embracing new crops like millets, mungbean, and soyabean under the CRA program. The farmers coming from CRA villages gave testimony to Non- CRA farmers on how the CRA program has helped in getting better returns and saving, and expenses have decreased significantly.

Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, Senior Scientist and Incharge BISA, Pusa Samastipur, expressed his satisfaction with the large turnout of farmers, especially women farmers, at both centers of Kissan Mela. He added that the large number of farmers’ presence at both centers is a testimony of how the CRA program is bringing positive change in the lives of farmers in the state.

Looking into the huge turnout of farmers the CRA Stall was open from 10 am in the morning to 7:30 pm in the evening. The farmers from different districts kept visiting CRA stall on all three days of the Kissan Mela.

BISA is a non-profit international research institute dedicated to food, nutrition, and livelihood security as well as environmental rehabilitation in South Asia, which is home to more than 300 million undernourished people. It is a collaborative effort involving the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). The objective of BISA is to harness the latest technology in agriculture to improve farm productivity and sustainably meet the demands of the future. BISA is more than an institute. It is a commitment to the people of South Asia, particularly to the farmers.

IIWBR, BISA organizes Awareness Program on Promotion and Popularization of latest Wheat Varieties in Bihar, introduces new varieties for farmers in Bihar

By Santanu Mukherjee

Dr. AK Sharma, PS& Nodal Officer(Seeds), Dr.Gyanendra Singh, Director IIWBR, Karnal, Dr. DK Roy, Chief Scientist-Agronomy, RPCAU, Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, Senior Scientist and Incharge, BISA, Pusa, Dr.KK Singh, Head, IARI-RS, Pusa (L-R)

Pusa, Samastipur, India – On 14th February 2023, the Indian Institute of Wheat & Barley Research (IIWBR), Karnal and Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) organized a One Day Awareness Program on the Promotion and Popularization of latest Wheat Varieties through Public-Private Partnership for accelerated gain.

The program was held at BISA in Pusa, Samastipur and was attended by a number of dignitaries, including Dr. Gyanendra Singh, Director , IIWBR, Karnal, Dr. KK Singh, Head, IARI-RS, Pusa, and Dr. AK Sharma, PS& Nodal Officer (Seeds), IIWBR, Karnal, Dr. D.K Roy, Chief Scientist- Agronomy , RPCAU, Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, Senior Scientist and Incharge, BISA, Pusa, officials from NSC, Dr. Rajesh Reddy, Dr. Arpit Gaur, Dr. Avinash, farmers and BISA staff.

The purpose of the program was to introduce farmers in Bihar to the latest climate-resilient and short-duration wheat varieties.

Wheat verities like DBW 316 and DBW 826 ,and Barley DWRD 137 was introduced for the farmers of Bihar during the program.

Dr. Gyanendra Singh, Director of IIWBR during the program said we have been continuously working to provide high quality seeds to the farmers. We are closely working with BISA, RPCAU and other partners here to make the quality seeds available to the farmers in Bihar. We also encourage farmers to participate in the seed production.

The Director of IIWBR visited the BISA research farm in Pusa and witnessed the latest developments in the field of climate-resilient agriculture, interacted with key researchers, and explored potential collaborations with the Institute.

During the program, Dr. AK Sharma shared information about the IIWBR Varieties, licensing, and Entrepreneurship Development in the Seed Sector, while the Regional Manager of NSC, Patna, shared the promotion and popularization of the latest wheat varieties by the public sector.

Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, Senior Scientist and In charge of BISA, Pusa, spoke on the occasion and highlighted the important role of quality seed in improving farmers’ income. He said, ” Quality seed of new wheat varieties can increase 20-30% yield over old varieties. The Borlaug Institute for South Asia has always emphasized on timely sowing and the importance of quality seed in improving farmers’ income. This collaboration with IIWBR will help in making more quality seeds available to the farmers in Bihar.”

The program was a success in creating awareness about the importance of quality seeds in improving farmers’ income and promoting the latest wheat varieties through public-private partnerships. The Borlaug Institute for South Asia is committed to continuously improving the quality of seed available to the farming community in the state of Bihar.

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