Cowpea: Design & Manage 3 Site Field Trial

BMS 3.0 Tutorials


Shawn Yarnes, The Integrated Breeding Platform


This tutorial describes the design of a three-site field trial using a randomized complete block design with three replicates, the export of data collection sheets, and import of field observations back to the database.

Restore from Previous Tutorial

Screenshots and activities in this tutorial build upon work preformed in previous tutorials.

Overview of the Trial Manager

The trial manager is a tool for designing field trials.  The Breeding Management System supports randomized complete block, incomplete block, and row-column experimental designs. The Trial Manager uses standardized crop ontology terms to describe treatments, factors, and trait measurements.

  • Access the Trial Manager from Breeding Activities in the workbench menu. Select Start a New Trial.

Basic Details

  • Enter the Trial Name, 3 Site Trial, and a Description.  Leave the default settings for the other Basic Details. Select Use a previously created trial as template. At any point in trial design save progress by selecting the Save button.

  • Choose the Basic Trial Template from the Public Trials folder. This will populate the trial with customizable trial design.


  • Under Trial Settings add a management detail not included in the template, STUDY_INSTITUTE, and type in UC Riverside.  Select Tim Close from the dropdown menu as the principal investigator (PI_NAME).


  • Browse for the Trial Germplasm List.

  • Select Trial Germplasm List.

  • Review the list of 15 germplasm that will be included in the trial.

Treatment Factors

  • This trial will not have treatment factors, so leave empty.


  • This is a three location Nigerian field trial. Specify 3 environments for this trial.

  • Add the three location names, Abeokuta, Amakama, and Bauchi, and the name of the cooperating breeder for these locations as Issa Drabo.

Experimental Design

  • Choose the Randomized Complete Block Design with 3 replications for this tutorial. Select Generate Design to populate the measurements tab.  


  • The traits of interest in this trial are the weight of 100 seeds (g) and 50% maturity (days) (SDWT100 and MAT50). Review the list of traits preselected in the template.  Notice that SDWT100 and MAT50 are preselected.

  • At this point the trial is now ready for field mapping, label printing, and file export for data collection. Select Save at the bottom of the page to save the empty trial design.

Export Trial Book

  • Select Export Trial Book from the Actions button dropdown menu to export files for field data collection.

  • Export Excel files corresponding all three locations to a know location on you computer and open.  

Restore Program

  • Since each randomized trial will be different due to randomization, you must restore your program so that the trial design matches the tutorial's pre-formatted observation files.
    Restoration File: Restore Cowpea Tutorial 6.1 (.sql)
  • After restoration return to the Manage Trials and browse to the 3 Site Trial.  The restored trial will be identical to the trial designed in previous steps, except that experimental design randomization will match the observations in the pre-formatted import files.

Import Trial Data

  • Select Import Measurements from the Actions button dropdown menu to import field observations. Browse and select to the pre-formatted Abeokuta data. Select Import. You must save the trial after the import of each location or subsequent imports will overwrite previous data. Repeat and import phenotypic observations from the other two locations.
    Example Files: Cowpea Trial Abeokuta (.xls),
    Cowpea Trial Amakama (.xls)Cowpea Trial Bauchi (.xls)


  • Confirm that the data has been upload by scrolling to the MAT50 and SDWT100 columns in the measurements table and select Save.

Funding & Acknowledgements

The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) is jointly funded by: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, United Kingdom's Department for International Development, CGIAR, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the CGIAR Fund Council. Coordinated by the Generation Challenge Program the Integrated Breeding Platform represents a diverse group of partners; including CGIAR Centers, national agricultural research institutes, and universities. 

The statistical algorithms in the Breeding View were developed by VSN International Ltd in collaboration with the Biometris group at University of Wageningen. Cowpea ?demonstration data was provided by Jeff Ehlers, Tim Close, Philip Roberts, Bao Lam Huyuh at the University of California Riverside and Issa Drabo at the Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles in Burkina Faso. These data may have been adapted for training purposes. Any misrepresentation of the raw breeding data is solely the responsibility of the IBP.

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