Operations and phenotyping

Breeding definitions for non-experts

(Note that these definitions are to help increase understanding for those not familiar with plant breeding science. They may lack nuance or precision for technical documents or audiences)


Biofortification: This involves breeding crops to increase their nutritional value, such as developing rice varieties with higher vitamin A content to combat malnutrition.

Operational Excellence Webinar: Process mapping and Lean farming in Nigeria

This webinar is one of our monthly Operational Excellence Webinars to support and promote a continuous improvement culture. The webinar begins with a quick review of some behaviors that exist in a continuous improvement culture. Kehinde will lead a session on process mapping that will feature the value stream map.Ben Hartman (Clay Bottom Farms), Chyka Okarter (USAID Nigeria FtF Agricultural Extension & Advisory Services Activity) and Jean-Pierre Rousseau (Winrock International) will present their work in creating Lean farms in Nigeria.


Operational Excellence: Root cause analysis and the 5 Whys method

Have you ever become frustrated by facing the same problem over and over again, despite repeated attempts to solve it? This EiB webinar aims to teach methods to get to the root cause of the issues you face in the workplace, and learn about how they have been put into practice in the Crop Health Improvement project at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

Bayer’s field testing & phenotyping / HSE in Africa

CGIAR Excellence in Breeding’s BOND and Bayer Crop Science look at Bayer’s principles and practices on two key breeding operations issues:

Field testing and phenotyping contributions to breeding programs

Experts from Bayer Crop Science’s Africa Phenotyping Leadership Team provide a conceptual overview of phenotyping. The team will introduce Bayer’s global phenotyping organization and discuss critical concepts, approaches, and best practices associated with field testing and data management.

Breeding Operation Network for Development (BOND)


The aim of Breeding Operation Network for Development (BOND) is to connect and further professionalize CGIAR, national agricultural research services (NARS), and other interested breeding professionals. BOND will help facilitate opportunities that lead to the acceleration of mechanization, technological capacities, and skill levels of operations professionals and teams.

BOND connects operations professionals, helps develop and implement standardized operating procedures (SOPs) between partner centers, and promotes continuous improvement at the operational level in all technical aspects. BOND works in the most relevant areas, including phenotyping, agronomic practices, seed processing, planting and harvesting.

BOND launched June, 2021 with new programs and opportunities being developed over time. As a “community of practice with teeth,” BOND seeks the creation of real-world opportunities for members to improve their knowledge, skills and connections. The network will share Information about practices, technologies, tools, resources and events, and where possible, provide connections for expert interdisciplinary advice on the best breeding operations practices.

BOND is facilitated by CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB)'s Operations and Phenotyping module. EiB aims to accelerate the modernization of CGIAR/NARS breeding programs to increase the rates of genetic gain and varietal turnover. 


With food demand expected to double by 2050 in low-income countries, crop breeding programs must meet the needs of farmers in these regions. Critical to this is delivering high-yielding, nutritious varieties adapted to new climate conditions. Public sector breeding needs to take a key role to ensure that smallholder farmers and consumers get the varieties they need.

Vital to this are breeding operations teams across CGIAR and NARS. To ensure the heritability of breeding trials, they need to continuously improve and enhance capabilities, procedures, and standardization of practice. These practices and expertise need to be available as resources and on-the-ground with operational teams to support breeding programs across all trials. BOND will help teams and experts share information and access opportunities to reach these goals.


Over time, BOND will offer and facilitate opportunities such as:

  • Connection to hundreds of experts
  • 1-on-1 professional exchange programs
  • Trainings
  • Webinars
  • Networking events
  • Technical visits
  • SOP development
  • Resources
  • Information sharing
  • Continuous improvement support


BOND related news & blogs:

 QUERIES: Contact EiB's Gustavo Teixeira: G.TEIXEIRA (a) cgiar.org

Phenotyping protocols for abiotic stress tolerance in rice

Rice production in rainfed lowland and upland areas is critical to global food supply, but is characterized by low and unstable yields due to a range of adverse climate and soil conditions. A large degree of genetic variation exists within Oryza sativa, and that variation can be exploited by identifying stress-tolerant germplasm for use in breeding to enable the development of new stress-tolerant high-yielding varieties.

Standard operating procedures for UAV phenotyping

UAV phenotyping is about collecting useful and meaningful data for integration into crop breeding programs. As such, a complete UAV phenotyping program should ideally include guidelines and considerations to evaluate the readiness of every part of the full process in order to ensure that no bottlenecks impede the throughput of the phenotyping activities all the while focused on the end goal of data.

CGIAR and NARS cassava and yam breeders visit Brazil

During the week of 12 August 2019, cassava and yam breeders from CGIAR and national agricultural research centers in Colombia, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania participated in an EiB-sponsored visit to Brazil.

After carrying out assessments at 13 CGIAR centers, the trip was one of the improvement opportunities identified by EiB breeding operations and phenotyping specialists Steve Corak and Gustavo Teixeira.

Digitization survey results announced

In March 2019, EiB surveyed its members to identify the models of equipment currently used to digitize breeding operations.

These include package printers, label printers, barcode readers, electronic data collectors and seed counters that can be used to speed up, standardize and introduce efficiency savings into breeding program operations.

The survey results will be used to guide the outreach agenda of EiB module leaders, while the makes and models of equipment preferred by EiB users are available for reference on the EiB Toolbox.