Last April, a BMS (Breeding Management System) workshop was held, as a joint effort among Cécile Grenier (researcher at CIAT’s Rice Program), representatives from the Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP), and CIAT’s Data and Research Methods team.

The workshop was divided into two parts. The first part consisted of a training activity for the Rice Program staff and guests from other CIAT programs, where the main goal was introducing the tool to new users and inform about the new functions added during the last year. The second part consisted of a direct interaction with the Tropical Forages (Brachiaria), Cassava, and Bean programs, as well as the Latin American Fund for Irrigated Rice (FLAR) to get a better understanding of their particular needs.

BMS is a set of interconnected computer tools designed to simplify some tasks and manage data in every stage of the crop breeding cycle. It allows breeders to manage trials, plant nurseries, and seed inventories; collect data in electronic field log books; record phenotypic, genotypic and genealogical information; run statistical analyses keeping a reliable, standardized, and centralized record of data from one generation to the next.

María Fernanda Álvarez, postdoctoral fellow in Genetics and Plant Breeding at FLAR, explained that “the workshop was important to get to know the use of this type of software to manage breeding programs, because it makes information more efficient and reliable”. “Data management represents a challenge in any breeding program; BMS provides an option to integrate it, offering easiness and functionality to its users”, added Fernando Rojas, BMS Support specialist.

This system may be used with different crops and its greatest strength is maximizing the genetic gain through collaborative institutional work, making the individual user’s daily work easier. For instance, in rice, “it is a tool that can help improve and manage all the information related to trial sowing, from the preparation of lists, seeds, labels, to collecting data in the field in a practical and reliable way. It is also important, because the Rice Program has different breeding areas, which makes us call things differently, but with BMS we would all be speaking the same language”, concluded Lady J. Arbeláez, Rice Genetics and Genomics research assistant at CIAT.

“This exchange space between IBP representatives and CIAT research staff was a very good opportunity to get acquainted with Center users’ concerns and needs regarding BMS. Every breeding team has its own special features and these must be understood to be able to adjust the system as best as possible to optimize its use. We had the opportunity to interact with staff from different breeding programs, such as Rice, Brachiaria, Beans, Cassava, and FLAR, with an excellent response”, stated Julián Pietragalla, Latin America Deployment Manager at IBP.

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