A training course on developing stress-resilient maize for early-/mid-career maize breeders from national programs, agricultural universities and seed companies, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), was held at CIMMYT-Hyderabad, India, on 15 May 2015. The course was open to partners in the Heat Tolerant Maize for Asia (HTMA) project and members of the International Maize Improvement Consortium (IMIC-Asia). It covered key aspects of precision phenotyping, including enhancing precision of field trials, managing adequate levels of stress to express available genotypic variability, using advanced tools to capture data efficiently and precision in recording various traits in phenotyping trials.
At the outset, B.S. Vivek, Maize Breeder at CIMMYT-Hyderabad, introduced the course agenda and objectives and mentioned that participants would learn various aspects of stress phenotyping. C. Aditya, System Developer, and M.T. Vinayan, Maize Stress Breeder at CIMMYT-Hyderabad, discussed FIELD-LOG, the new android-based data-capturing software developed by CIMMYT. They explained the details of its software applications and the method used for recording data in the field and transferring them to a computer.
FIELD-LOG is an excellent user-friendly system that increases the efficiency of data capturing and processing, and at the same time significantly reduces the chances of human error. Participants received hands-on training on using FIELD-LOG to install, operate and record data in the field, and then transfer them to a computer. This was followed by a series of presentations by P.H. Zaidi, Senior Maize Physiologist, CIMMYT-Hyderabad, on various aspects of field-based precision phenotyping for abiotic stress, including site selection and characterization.
Seetharam, Project Scientist at CIMMYT-Hyderabad, discussed various plant traits and the proper way of capturing data in field phenotyping trials. Participants practiced recording data on various traits in heat stress phenotyping trials using the FIELD-LOG system. M.T. Vinayan explained the do’s and don’t’s in field phenotyping at various stages.
At the end, participants provided feedback on the course and thanked CIMMYT for organizing it. They also suggested adding other features to further enhance the usefulness of the FIELD-LOG system.