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Author: rpuri

Wheat Field Day celebrated at CIMMYT-BISA Farms in India



Every year in March CIMMYT-BISA organizes Wheat Field Day as an annual event to celebrate and honor the hard work that goes into producing quality seed at BISA farms. It is the annual celebration of research, productiveness, 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/select new, improved advanced breeding lines 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.

It is organized on a large scale 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), Samastipur (Bihar) 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 75 scientists from the national system (public & private sector) joined the wheat field day.

Wheat nurseries at BISA farm, Ludhiana during the 2023-24 cycle.

Dr. Ravi Singh (Scientist Emeritus, CIMMYT) explained about germplasm selection to participants at Ludhiana Wheat Field Day.

A total of 20105 entries and 22531 plots were planted at the BISA research farm, Ludhiana during the 2023-24 season. This includes ~6500 standard yield trial plots and ~16,000 small plots with two rows for stripe rust screening and germplasm maintenance.

Advanced wheat breeding lines from CIMMYT and international nurseries are available for selection by public and private sector national partners, some of which are described below:

  • Stage-1 Trial:  Total Entries: 4971 entries
  • Elite Parcela Chica (EPC): 1458 entries
  • South Asia Bread Wheat Genomic Prediction Yield Trial (SABWGPYT): 540 entries
  • High Zinc Wheat Yield Trial (HZWYT):100 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): 45 entries
  • Stress Adapted Trait Yield Nurseries (SATYN): 45 entries
  • High Zinc Advanced Nursery (HZAN): 23 entries
  • Elite Late Heat Tolerance Trial (7thELHT): 60 entries
  • 15th HLBSN: 50 entries
  • Station Trial: 15 entries

Almost the same pattern was followed at the other two farms of BISA where a similar pattern was used to display the trials.

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

Vijay Kumar Sinha, Deputy Chief Minister, Bihar Visits BISA Research Farm in Samastipur


Raj Kumar Jat

Vijay Kumar Sinha (centre), Deputy Chief Minister, Bihar with Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, Agronomist, BISA (right)

On 24th February 2024, the honorable Deputy Chief Minister Shri. Vijay Kumar Sinha visited the BISA research farm in Samastipur, Bihar. BISA, being an implementing partner in the Bihar Govt’s CRA program offers new and innovative farming techniques for the farmers of Bihar. Thus, for the deputy Chief Minister, this visit was particularly focused on having a firsthand experience of BISA’s state-of-the-art farm in Samastipur. He was given a comprehensive tour of the BISA farm by Dr. Raj Kumar Jat, a senior scientist, at BISA. Dr. Jat highlighted the role of BISA in Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) program of the Bihar Govt and shared the updates of the program with Mr. Sinha.   

He gave a detailed analysis on Climate Resilient Agriculture and provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges posed by climate change and the imperative need for adaptive agricultural practices. The discussion encompassed strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of fluctuating weather patterns, emphasizing the importance of sustainable approaches. 

Mr. Sinha also visited the experimental plots dedicated to Conservation Agriculture & Organic Farming at BISA farm underscoring the significance of sustainable farming methodologies. Dr. Jat also talked about the utilization of drones in agriculture and the way precision farming techniques offer valuable insights into leveraging technology to enhance agricultural productivity. The discussion highlighted the potential of these advancements in mitigating losses attributed to climatic variability and pest infestation, thereby empowering farmers with effective solutions. 

As a symbolic gesture, Mr. Sinha actively participated in transplanting a mango seedling at the BISA farm. This act not only symbolized collective efforts against climate change but also underlined the government’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture.

His visit to the BISA farm in Samstipur, served as a testament to the collaborative efforts meant for  fostering agricultural resilience. Through insightful discussions, commendations, and symbolic gestures, the visit reaffirmed the commitment towards promoting sustainable agricultural practices and combating the challenges posed by climate change.

Moving forward, it is imperative to translate the insights gained from this visit into actionable initiatives. Strengthening research and extension efforts, facilitating technology adoption among farmers, and fostering partnerships between government bodies, research institutions, and the agricultural community are essential steps towards achieving agricultural resilience and sustainability.

Exploring the World of GISH Technology in Japan to validate BNI (Biological Nitrification Inhibition) trait in wheat.


Manish Vishwakarma

On April 11, 2022, ICAR-BISA-JICA started working on a new initiative called “Project for the Establishment of Nitrogen-Efficient Wheat Production Systems in Indo-Gangetic Plains by the Development of BNI Technology”. Three ICAR institutions (IIWBR and CSSRI in Karnal, IARI at New Delhi) are involved in this project to breed BNI wheat varieties in India. A full-fledged breeding program has been initiated by the three ICAR institutions and BISA at the three BISA research farms in India (Ludhiana, Jabalpur & Samastipur). For identifying wheat lines carrying BNI trait it is necessary to use GISH (Genomic In Situ Hybridization) technology. Therefore, taking a step forward and considering the capacity-building needs of the teams involved, a hands-on training was organised by the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and Tsukuba Ibaraki, JAPAN, a renowned institute revered for its contributions to agricultural sciences. The training organised for eight days (17th Feb to 25th Feb) aimed at providing hands-on training to scientists from India on GISH technology to validate BNI translocation.

Dr. Manish K Vishwakarma, BISA, Dr. Ajay Bhardwaj, Principal Scientist, CSSRI, Dr. C N Mishra Senior Scientist, IIWBR and Dr. Harikrishna, Scientist, IARI, participated in the training.

During the visit, scientists visited JIRCAS’s state-of-the-art facilities, where cutting-edge research is conducted on various agricultural challenges. From climate-resilient crop varieties to sustainable farming practices, the breadth of research undertaken at JIRCAS was truly impressive for the scientists.

In the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences President, Osamu KOYAMA office

The team was welcomed by Dr. SUBBARAO Guntur Venkata’s (Group Leader for BNI Research Crop) informative talk on BNI technology. Later, Dr. KISHII Masahiro, a distinguished researcher at JIRCAS, adeptly navigated scientists through GISH’s theoretical and practical aspects. He elucidated the principles behind GISH and its application in identifying chromosomal translocations with clarity and enthusiasm. Each concept was meticulously explained, from the fundamentals of probe design to the intricacies of hybridization techniques, laying a solid foundation for a hands-on experience. They examined the samples under the fluorescence microscope and observed the signs of translocation, charting new frontiers in genetic analysis.

Scientists not only deepened their understanding of GISH technology but also fostered a sense of camaraderie. “As we reflect on our time at this esteemed institute, we are grateful for the opportunity to learn from the best in the field and contribute to the ever-expanding tapestry of scientific knowledge. We had the honor of meeting with the president JIRCAS Mr. Osamu KOYAMA, who graciously shared their vision for the future of agricultural science” said Dr. Manish Vishwakarma.

Scientists also had an opportunity to visit Tokyo and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Mount Fuji and Mt. Tsukuba leaving a deeper appreciation for Japanese culture, discipline, and tradition.

A New Climate Adaptation Atlas to Safeguard South Asian Agriculture

Bram Govaerts, Director General, BISA and Arun Kumar Joshi, Managing Director, BISA

Climate change is no longer a distant threat but a reality that profoundly affects our lives. Among the most vulnerable regions to climate change, South Asia stands out because it is home to over 100 million farmers and produces over 285 million metric tons of milled rice and 128 million metric tons of wheat (FAO 2020-21). Among 193 countries worldwide, South Asian countries rank in the top quarter for climate risk and are experiencing rising meteorological and climate-related disasters. These pose significant challenges to farmers and the 216 million people in South Asia living in extreme poverty (World Bank, 2018), further jeopardizing their food security and livelihoods.

PC – Vinaynath Reddy/CCAFS

Considering this, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) is working with national agriculture research systems in South Asia to develop the Atlas of Climate Adaptation in South Asian Agriculture (ACASA).

The Atlas brings together spatially explicit South Asian data on the nature and evolving patterns of climate hazards. It will assess climate risks using gridded, village-scale analyses and through historical crop yield data and satellite signatures. The Atlas will consider the exposure of smallholder populations, farms and crop and livestock enterprises. It will assess the vulnerability or adaptive capacity of those populations and impacts on the region’s critical commodities. Importantly, the Atlas will provide a unique set of on-line tools and a portfolio of adaptation options to underpin better decisions regarding investments in agricultural technologies, climate information services, and policies. The project will also focus on building the capacity of concerned stakeholders such as multi-lateral agencies, government bodies, NGOs, and the private sector in the use of Atlas assets, through training materials, tutorials, and periodic workshops. This will enable informed investments and policy decisions to benefit 100 million farmers in South Asian region. For wider use, the Atlas will be embedded online as an open-source, web-enabled and interactive and dynamic tool for easy access by all concerned stakeholders.

Drawing on the expertise and experience of South Asian nations such as Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, which have suffered from extreme heat, prolonged droughts, and severe flooding in key crop-producing areas, ACASA represents an example of collaboration and knowledge exchange to reduce farmers’ risks and offer them ways to adapt.

BISA and CIMMYT are pleased to anchor this remarkable collaboration that leverages multi-disciplinary expertise and perspectives to address the complex challenges posed by climate change, linking the detailed characterization of climatic risks with mitigation technologies and policies to meet the needs of diverse stakeholders. The proposed work will contribute actively to the CIMMYT2030 Strategy where one of the 5 impact areas is centered around Climate adaptation and Mitigation. The entire strategy designs a path toward a Food and Nutrition Secure world through science and innovation amid a global climate crisis.

Established in 2011 by CIMMYT and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) is a non-profit international organization that applies advanced technologies to improve food systems and food security, nutrition, livelihoods, and the environment in South Asia, home to more than 300 million undernourished people.