Maize: Advance F2 & Design F3 Nursery

BMS 3.0 Tutorials


Graham McLaren & Shawn YarnesThe Integrated Breeding Platform


This tutorial continues the process of pedigree breeding using selections from the F2 nursery to create the F3 nursery list. The tutorial also describes bulking the remaining seed in the F2 nursery and the design of the F3 nursery.

  • Import observations and selections from an F2 nursery
  • Create F3 Nursery List based on the number of ears selected from the F2 nursery
  • Bulk F3 seed from all plots in the F2 nursery
  • Design the F3 nursery with checks

Restore from Previous Tutorial

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

Import F2 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 F2 nursery.
Example File: MT2010F2.xls

Observation sheet of the F2 nursery: columns pMSV, GLS, and nEarsSel filled with fictitious data

  • Launch Manage Nurseries from within the Maize Tutorial Program. Browse for the F2 nursery, MT2010F2.

  • Highlight the F2 nursery, MT201F2, and Open.

  • Select Import Measurements from the Actions dropdown menu.

  • Specify Excel format, and browse to the prepared data file, MT2010F2.xls. Select import.

?Advance F2 Nursery

Advance the F2 nursery based on ears, or individuals, selected (nEarsSel). Review the data loaded in the Measurements Tab. The F2 nursery has 123 entries from which 246 ears (or individuals) are selected. 

  • Select Save to store to the database. 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: CHIREDZI
    • Harvest Date: March 2011


Save F3 Nursery List

Review the Advance List, which can be described as the F2 Harvest list. This list will also serve as the F3 nursery list. The 246 entries in this list represent all 246 ears selected from individual plants in the F2 nursery. 

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

  • Add a new folder to the Program Lists file directory by selecting the green + icon. Name the folder, 2011 Nursery Lists

  • Highlight the new folder and name the F3 nursery list, MT2011F3S. Describe the list as 'F3 Maize Germplasm list (harvest list for F2 Single Plants)'. Set the List Type as HARVEST LIST. Save.


Bulk F3 Seed 

  • Bulk all of the F3 seed from the F2 nursery by plot. Open the measurements tab for the MT2010F2 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 Selected bulk.
    • Bulks: All plots selected - ensures that seed from each plot is bulked
    • Harvest Location: CHIREDZI
    • Harvest Date: March 2011

Save Bulked Seed List 

The Advance List is a seed bulk from all 123 plots in the F2 Nursery. 

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

  • Save the seed bulk list in the 2011 Nursery Lists folder. Name the list, MT2011F3B. Describe the list as the 'F3 Maize Germplasm list (harvest list for F2 bulks)' and the list type as HARVEST LIST. Save.


Design F3 Nursery

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

  • Establish the basic details of the nursery.
    • Nursery Name: MT2011F3
    • Description: MT 2011 F3 Nursery
    • Objective: 2011 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 ART Farm Harare
    • 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, leaving nEarsSel. Choose Selected Bulk as the advancement method for the entire nursery.
    • Nursery Conditions are variables measured across the entire nursery, like total rainfall or soil pH. Leave nursery conditions blank.
    • 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.

  • Add a new folder to the Program Lists file directory by selecting the green + icon. Name the folder, 2011 Nurseries. Select the green check button to create the folder, and click Select to save the nursery.

Germplasm & Checks

  • Open the Germplasm and Checks tab.

  • Browse for the F3 Nursery List and Select.

  • Browse for a check list.

  • Select H2H Check List.

  • Remove KSCO from the check list by by selecting the minus (-) icon, leaving PIONEER and CARGIL in the check list.

  • At the bottom of the Germplasm and Checks tab specify how the checks will be distributed through the nursery.


  • Click Save at the top of the Manage Nurseries form and then click the Measurement tab to review the 272 entries (246 test entries + 26 check entries). 

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.

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. 

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. 

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