Maize: Advance F1& Design F2 Nursery

BMS 3.0 Tutorials


Graham McLaren & Shawn Yarnes, The Integrated Breeding Platform


This tutorial describes the first steps in a pedigree breeding process:

  • Import observations and selections from an F1 nursery
  • Advance the nursery based on number of ears selected to create F2 nursery list
  • Update the seed inventory
  • Design the F2 nursery

Restore from Previous Tutorial

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

?Import F1 Nursery Data

The previous tutorial described the export of an Excel file for collecting nursery data. An Excel file filled with fictitious nursery data is provided for import back into the F1 nursery.
Example File: 

 Observation sheet of the F1 Nursery: NOTES and nEarsSel columns filled with fictitious data

  • Launch Manage Nurseries from within the Maize Tutorial Program. Browse for the F1 nursery, MT2010F1.

  • Highlight the F1 nursery, MT201F1, and Open.

  • Select Import Measurements from the Actions dropdown menu.

  • Specify Excel format, and browse to the prepared data file, MT2010F1.xls. Select import.
    ?Example File: MT2010F1.xls

  • Review the data loaded in the Measurements Tab. The F1 Nursery has 93 entries from which 123 ears were harvested from 123 individual plants . Select Save to store to the database.

Notice that once data is loaded into a nursery the germplasm and checks cannot be modified.

Advance F1 Nursery

  • Select Advance Nursery from the Actions menu.

  • Establish the settings for advancement and select Finish.
    • Methods: Select breeding method is the same for each advance, and choose Single plant selection.
    • Lines: Deselect the same number of lines selected for each plot.  Choose nEarsSel (number of ears selected) as the variate to define the number of lines selected from each plot.
    • Harvest Location: CIMMYT Harare
    • Harvest Date: August 2010

Save F2 Nursery List 

The Advance List can be described as the F1 Harvest list or the F2 Nursery list, since the 123 entries in the F2 Nursery list represent all 123 ears selected from individual plants in the F1 nursery. 

  • Select Save Advance List to store the germplasm records and allocate GIDs.

  • Save the F2 nursery list in the 2010 Nursery Lists folder. Name the list, MT2010F2. Describe the list as the F2 Nursery list in the description and the list type. Save.

Update F2 Seed Inventory

  • Once the advancement is saved and the F2 list is given new GIDs, the seed inventory can be updated. Select all 123 entries in the F2 and Update Inventory.

  • Set the inventory details and Save
    • Location:  Cabinet 1, Shelf 1, Container 1
    • Scale: g Weighed
    • Amount: 120 

The F2 inventory amounts are now available for review from the Advance List table. 

Design F2 Nursery

  • Launch Manage Nurseries from within the Maize Tutorial Program. Select Start a New Nursery.

  • Establish the basic details of the nursery.
    • Nursery Name: MT2010F2
    • Description: F2 Nursery
    • Objective: 2010 Population Development
    • Creation Date: Leave default 
    • Completion Date: Blank 
  • ?Use a previously created nursery as a template and select Choose.

  • Browse to the Basic nursery template and Select

Nursery Settings

The nursery settings are populated by the basic nursery template and need to be modified match specific nursery settings.

  • Modify the nursery settings.

    • Management Details are variables describing the management of the whole nursery. Add Gary Atlin as principle investigator (PI_Name). Set SITE to CHIREDZI.
    • Remove SOURCE from the Germplasm descriptors by selecting the minus (-) icon.
    • Selection Variates are details of the advancement method(s) to be applied to the nursery.  The table includes variables that will determine the number of selections. Remove SEED_STORED from the table by selecting the minus (-) icon. Choose Single plant selection as the advancement method for the entire nursery.
    • Nursery Conditions are variables measured across the entire nursery, like total rainfall or soil pH. Add the variable, SITE_SOIL_PH, by selecting the Add button. Start typing the word "soil" and select SITE_SOIL_PH from the dropdown menu and Add. Close the popup window.
    • Traits are the variables you observe on every plot, such as biological traits or other observations such as notes or conditions. Remove all trait variables except pMSV (Maize streak virus score) and GLS (grey leaf-spot score) by selecting the minus (-) icon.

Germplasm & Checks

  • Open the Germplasm and Checks tab. Browse for the Nursery List.

  • Select MT2010F2.

  • Review the 123 entries in the F2 nursery list. Ignore the option to browse or import a check list.  This nursery will not have checks. Populate the Measurements tab by saving the nursery list.


Nursery design is now complete.  Germplasm & Checks can still be modified.  However, once observations have been added to the measurements tab Germplasm & Checks can no longer be modified without overwriting observations.

The nursery is now available to make field maps and labels, and is ready for export into data collection format. Select Export Nursery Book from the Actions dropdown menu to create a data collection sheet for printing to import on to a handheld data capture device. 


  • Choose Excel as the export format and Plot Order for collection. Select Export.

Export Data Collection File

  • Choose Excel as the export format and Plot Order for collection. Select Export.

  • Save the Excel file in a known location on your computer and open this file with Excel. The file consists of two worksheets, the description and observations. 

Save F2 Nursery

  • Select the save button and highlight the 2010 Nurseries folder. Select.

Funding & Acknowledgements

The Integrated Breeding Platform (IBP) is jointly funded by: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the European Commission, United KingdomÂ’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. 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.