Objectives


1. Rust Pathogen Surveillance


To strengthen Pakistan’s own wheat rust surveillance and facilitate maximum synergies between Pakistan and international rust surveillance efforts.


Partners: ARI-B, CCRI-K, NIFA-K, WRI-P, RARI-P, BARI-P, WRI-S, NIA-S, SARS-F, CDRP-F, MARC-F, AJK-A, USDA-MN, USDA-WA, CABI-SA


Rationale: The rust pathogens and wheat farmers continue to engage in a biological “arms race” in which the resistances deployed by breeders are overcome, sometimes rapidly, by genetic changes in local rust populations (through mutation, recombination, or migration). Wheat breeding programs are making significant progress towards directed deployment of inherently durable genetic resistances, but surveillance for new rust strains remains important for both stem rust and yellow rust. Early detection of new rust threats allows wheat breeders and seed producers to maximize the resilience of current and future wheat crops by shifting the composition (in terms of resistance genes) of breeding materials, candidate varieties, and registered varieties in the seed improvement system. Threats include but are not limited to the Ug99 stem rust lineage. Informative surveillance is a sophisticated process involving not only “eyes on the crop”, but propagation and knowledge of pure genetic stocks of both wheat and putatively distinct rust strains. For wheat stocks, the traits of interest in rust management are seedling and adult reactions to different rust strains; while for rust strains; key traits are revealed in their behavior as pathogens when used to infect stocks of wheat (“differentials”) carrying different rust resistance genes. DNA fingerprinting and other indirect diagnostic technologies are advancing rapidly in wheat and the rust pathogen genetics, but skilled expertise in rust culture and manipulation is still required.


2. Pre-breeding to Enhance the Diversity and Utility of Rust Resistant Wheat Breeding Parents


To enhance Pakistan’s access and contributions to the increasingly sophisticated and diverse set of genetic and laboratory technologies available in pre-breeding.


Partners: WRI-P, SARS-F, CDRP-F, USDA-NC, USDA-MN, USDA-WA


Delineation of ‘pre-breeding’ from ‘breeding’ is an acknowledgement of the distinction, as well as overlap, between technologies employed in breeding parent development versus variety development. The products of pre-breeding are high value breeding lines, which are employed in breeding where the products are new varieties. In the context of rust resistances, pre-breeding starts with the identification or discovery of novel and resilient sources of resistance genes. Novel genes are most often found in un-adapted genetic backgrounds that preclude their direct use in breeding programs. Pre-breeding is the increasingly sophisticated process of moving the desired resistance genes into genetic backgrounds that allow direct use in breeding programs. Pre-breeding is one of the major themes of the Cornell based Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UK’s DFID. Cytogenetic and molecular breeding techniques are applied to isolate, characterize, and manipulate putatively unique sources of resistance. The DRRW, and other international pre- breeding efforts at CIMMYT, ICARDA, USDA and elsewhere, illustrate both the value that others place on this arena, and to the potential benefits of informed collaborations. Pakistan can enhance the impact of resources it already devotes to pre-breeding by increased connectivity with the world community.


3. Accelerated Breeding to Develop and Test Rust Resistant, High Performance Candidate Wheat Varieties


To develop high-yielding, farmer-desired candidate wheat varieties with durable rust resistance; as well as to strengthen the capacity of Pakistan to develop, test, and rapidly promote such varieties.


Partners: AZRC-B, ARI-B, CCRI-K, NIFA-K, WRI-P, RARI-P, BARI-P, WRI-S, NIA-S, SARS-F, NCWP-F, CDRP-F, MARC-F, AJK-A


Pakistan’s Provincial and National wheat improvement system is one of the most productive in the world. This Objective will increase the impact of that system through increased exchange of information and germplasm with the primary partners (USDA-ARS, CIMMYT, ICARDA) and the global community as a whole (e.g., the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative). In addition, the project will modernize Pakistan’s key wheat breeding programs with technologies that enhance the scale and precision of field breeding operations, including replicated field experiments. Poor precision and factors that limit through-put per breeding program (number of field plots) are the targets of efforts to improve breeding efficiencies world- wide. The range of the number and precision of yield trial plots per breeder, key determinants to a breeder’s success, is as much as 10 fold worldwide; partly because of staff training, but primarily because of a lack of access to inventory, plot, data, and grain sample management technologies. USDA, as well as CIMMYT and its predecessor agency have 50+ years of experience at the cutting edge of high throughput, high efficiency, and high precision wheat improvement, both in the flow of seed, plants, and data from one generation to the next; as well as in the key arena of testing small samples for grain processing attributes. This Objective aims to assist Pakistan to acquire the planters, threshers, data recorders, computer hard/software, and other essential and efficiencies rendering equipment; plus enhance staff capacities that it can and should be exploiting. Precision and magnitudes of both non-replicated and follow-on replicated field trials will be enhanced.


Marker-assisted selection and physiological breeding (water use efficiency, heat and drought tolerance, etc.) will be assessed for applicability and where feasible, implemented. Strategies of pre-release multiplication will be assessed to ensure pre-release multiplication does not limit availability of seed at variety release.


4. Seed Multiplication and Distribution


To accelerate seed multiplication and enhance access to new cereal rust-resistant varieties.


The overall objective is to ensure fast replacement of existing susceptible commercial varieties that are vulnerable to new races of stem and yellow rust to minimize the time from the identification of potential varieties to their availability in farmers’ fields through fast track release of resistant varieties and accelerated seed multiplication and dissemination of new rust resistant varieties working with NARS, national seed programs and farmers.


Partners: AZRC-B, ARI-B, CCRI-K, NIFA-K, WRI-P, RARI-P, BARI-P, WRI-S, NIA-S, NCWP-F, MARC-F


In Pakistan, developing an immediate action is necessary for replacement of existing susceptible wheat varieties to counter the threats. The formal seed sector provides on average 19% of the total seed requirement of close to 1.5 million MT of bread wheat seed required annually. From these amount the formal public and private sector provides about 5 and 14%, respectively whereas the remaining 81% comes from the informal seed sources. Hence there is a need for fast track varietal release and accelerated seed multiplication to ensure the delivery of new rust resistant varieties to farmers.


Variety release in Pakistan is under strict guidelines. However, under situations like a sudden outbreak of new virulence races on major varieties there is a need for reappraisal of release system to cope with emergency situations. ICARDA will work with NARS partners to devise strategies for fast track release of new rust resistant varieties. Under normal practices, seed multiplication starts after official release of the new varieties. However, under pandemic situation there is urgency for rapid seed multiplication to ensure quicker access to new varieties by farmers. Initiatives will be undertaken for pre-release breeder nucleus seed (breeder), pre- basic and basic seed production of ‘potential’ new rust resistant wheat varieties identified by the project to ensure the availability of seed at farmers’ level. The pre-release multiplication of potential advanced lines will run in parallel with variety testing process. Accelerated seed multiplication would be linked to popularization and demonstration to create awareness among farmers to facilitate quicker adoption and diffusion. The basic seed produced will ultimately be made available to the public and private seed companies for further multiplication to produce sufficient quantity of certified seed for distribution to farmers.


To ensure fast track release and accelerated seed multiplication the project works in close consultation with relevant partners operating at the federal and provincial levels including the Seed Councils responsible for final approval of varieties, agricultural research institutes/centers responsible for developing varieties, testing and production of early generations seed (breeder nucleus and pre-basic), Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSCRD) responsible for conducting the DUS (distinctness, uniformity and stability) tests and seed quality assurance, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) responsible for VCU (value for cultivation and use) tests, agricultural development and extension services, public seed corporations (Punjab, Sindh, etc) and private seed companies involved in basic seed and certified seed production and marketing to farmers.


Availability and access to early generation seed (basic seed) remain one of the constraints for production of later generations of certified seed particularly for the private sector. The project from will be working and negotiating with the partners and ensure that reputable private seed companies with adequate facilities get access to promising lines and involved in pre-release seed multiplication and testing under agreed procedures to satisfy national regulatory regimes. The involvement of the private sector is already demonstrated where few companies (e.g. Ali Akbar Seed Company, Jullundur Seed Corporation, etc) were involved in pre-release seed multiplication of Ug99 promising lines and testing them on their own farms in 2009. Some other private seed companies were also involved in 2010.


In Pakistan, it is possible to include promising lines simultaneously in different variety trails (Zonal Variety Trials and National Uniform Trails) to satisfy VCU requirements and one year tests to confirm the varietal characteristics for DUS if breeders provide sufficient information on varietal description which would facilitate reaching the objective of the project. More importantly some private seed companies are also hosting National Uniform Trails which would facilitate their awareness of the performance of released varieties and access to seed for further multiplication. The project would work with partners to reinforce and formalize this collaboration to engage and involve the private sector in early generation seed multiplication.


5. Agronomic Management Practices


To enhance the productivity and sustainability of rainfed and irrigated wheat in wheat based systems in Pakistan.


Partners: RARI-P, BARI-P, EAR-P, WRI-S, NCWP-F, MARC-F


Wheat in Pakistan is grown in different agro ecological zones. In irrigated areas wheat is planted after cotton, rice and sugarcane. In rainfed areas wheat is grown in sequence with maize, sorghum, pearl millet and after fallow especially in low rainfall zones.


In irrigated wheat systems the wheat productivity is lower than the potentials of improved varieties and yields obtained by progressive farmers. The low crop yields are related to poor crop management. This includes late planting of wheat due to late maturity and harvest of previous crops like cotton, rice and sugarcane, low soil fertility due to continuous exhaustive cropping systems and lack of legumes in the rotations and weed infestation. Crop yields are also reduced due to low and imbalanced use of fertilizer.


In rain fed ecologies limited soil moisture, imbalance and inefficient nutrient use of fertilizers and weed infestation are the key constraint in achieving sustainable high yields. Soil moisture is lost in the repeated tillage operations in absence of moisture conservation techniques and soil cover. Farmers hardly leave any residues on the soil surface or include any legume in these systems resulting in low wheat yield.


Therefore the objective can be achieved if interventions are made to overcome these problems. (The productivity and sustainability of wheat and wheat systems in Pakistan will be enhanced with expanded information about optimum management processes for wheat production. This includes information on planting time, fertilizer, soil and water management, equipment, and other agronomic guidance. External information and training will be provided by ICARDA with support from CIMMYT.



Objective Project Level Milestones Partner institution milestones
Objective 1. Surveillance. To strengthen Pakistan’s own wheat rust surveillance and facilitate maximum synergies between Pakistan and international rust surveillance efforts. (18) Finished: national surveillance stakeholder meeting where plans for following season were agreed (trap plots composition/location agreed; survey routes agreed; FAO/ICARDA participated in and informed meeting). November; repeats in 2012 and 2013. The partner participated in annual surveillance planning meeting called by NCWP/CDRP. November 2011-2013.
(9) Finished: national rust survey for yellow and stem rusts. May; Repeats in 2012 and 2013 (10) Preserved and Propagated in Pakistan: 20+ live samples of stem rust from 2010/11 crop survey. May; repeats in 2012 and thereafter. (11) Preserved and Propagated in Pakistan: 20+ live samples of yellow rust from 2010/11 crop survey. May; repeats in 2012 and thereafter. The partner conducted wheat rust survey as per W-PEP plans and submitted a report to NCWP/CDRP. May 2012 and 2013
Objective 2. Pre-breeding (host resistance) ; genetic gains in breeding and seed systems are higher because 1) there is knowledge of the nature and mechanisms of resistances rusts in Pakistan; 2) improved breeding parents are available; and 3) field rust screening is routine. Activity 1: A baseline resistance study to establish the nature and distribution of resistance genes/systems in Pakistan germplasm. (4) Completed: year 1 (and then year 2) of the baseline resistance study. March 2012 and 2013. Activity 2: Strengthening of annual rust reaction phenotyping backstopped by USDA-ARS-MN and WA) (seedling and adult plant); in Pakistan and in Kenya; backstopped by USDA-ARS-MN and WA) Activity 3: Preliminary marker-assisted parent building (primarily at USDA-ARS-NC) • The partner participated in planning for Kenya and Pakistan rust screening. September 2011, 2012, and 2013; April 2012, 2013. • The partner contributed to the analysis of the baseline resistance studies. January, 2012; repeated in 2013.
Objective 3: Breeding. Accelerated Breeding to Develop and Test Rust Resistant, High Performance Candidate Wheat Varieties (1) Increased: the number and performance (in terms of yield, rust resistance, quality, etc.) of high breeding value, rust resistant segregating populations and advanced lines emerging from key breeding programs in Pakistan. (June repeating in 2012 and 2013) (3) Generated: baseline data generated on breeding program capacities and precision in terms of field trials (yield and disease). (November; repeats in 2012 and thereafter) (4) Procured: plot, data, and grain sample management technologies to upgrade capacities of key Pakistan breeding programs. (March 2012) (10) Increased: upgraded field and other essential research equipment enables key breeding program capacities to be tripled and precision increased (e.g., cvs<12% in yield trials). (June 2012 and 2013) • The partner provided a baseline report on 2010/11 breeding activities (October 2011) • The partner provided a baseline report on the precision of replicated trials for 2009/10 and 2010/11. (October 2011) • The partner reported on the just-concluded main season crossing and early generation breeding activities (up to yield trials) showing how project funds increased the quality and quantity of populations etc .(June 2012 and 2013) • The partner reported on the integration of newly acquired project-funded field and other research equipment into its breeding and testing operations (and other objectives if relevant). (June 2012)
(2) Optimized: coordination of information and material exchanges relating to wheat breeding and rust resistance among key Pakistani breeding programs, and between national and international breeding programs (September 2011-13) • The partner participated in the joint annual wheat planning and W-PEP planning meetings and shared wheat breeding and testing plans (October 2011-13) • The partner participated in the Traveling Wheat Seminar (wheat season annually) • The partner analyzed and shared field data including replicated trials. (the end of June 2012 and 2013)
(5) Maximized: the utility of summer Pakistan’s in-country off-season nursery (Kaghan) for accelerating generation advance at key Pakistan breeding programs. (June 2012 and 13) • The Partner participated in off-season nursery planning with the aim of accelerating generation advance (October 2011, 2012 and 2013) • The partner reported on the impact of increased off-season nursery activity on increasing the effective number of generations per year in its breeding strategy (October 2012 and 2013)
(6) Limits Removed: Pre-release multiplication of candidate lines ensures adequate seed availability of rust resistant superior wheat varieties at the time of release. (Feb 2012) The partner reported on results of activities that maximized available seed of pre-release breeding lines. (June 2012 and 2013).
(8) Shared: results of Pakistan-based adult and seedling stem rust reaction of key Pakistan breeding parents and elite lines. (April 2012 and 2013) The partner shared field data from rust screening nurseries. (April 2012 and 13).
(9) Reported: genetic basis and mechanisms (hyper-sensitivity response vs. minor gene adult plant only resistance) of rust resistances for all advanced lines and released varieties from key Pakistan breeding programs. (august 2012) The partner participated in coordinated efforts to identify the genetic basis of rust resistances in advanced lines etc. (October 2012 and 13).
Objective 4: Seed. Seed Multiplication and Distribution Year 1 (October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011) 1) Accelerated pre-release seed multiplication of advanced lines in NUWYTs 1.1) new varieties entered pre-release seed multiplication by partner organizations (public/private) 2) Popularization of newly released stem rust resistant varieties 2.1) Newly released Ug99 and rust resistant varieties demonstrated 3. ) Study conducted on variety release procedures and capacity for early generation seed production 3.1) Study on variety release procedures conducted 3.2) Capacity of NARS in early generation seed production assessed 3.3) National consultation meeting of stakeholders on variety release and early generation seed production organized 4. ) Establish pilot farmer-based seed enterprises in provinces with less developed seed program (Sindh, etc) 4.1) Two communities selected and pilot seed enterprises established 4.2 ) Training on seed production and enterprise management provided 5. ) Capacity of NARS partners strengthened 5.1) Two participants attend regional short course on variety identification, maintenance and quality seed production trained at ICARDA 5.2) Five participants attend Regional training workshop on variety description and Maintenance in Ethiopia Year 2 (October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012) 6) Pre-release multiplication of new potential promising lines (breeder nucleus seed) and repeating variety maintenance activities of year 1 (2011) 7) Pre-release seed multiplication of potential promising lines to produce pre-basic/basic seed from Year 1 (2011) by expanding 8) Demonstration and popularization of potential promising lines 8.1) Conduct variety demonstration and associated technologies in collaboration with extension services 8.2) Organize field days to create awareness of new promising lines and associated technologies among farmers Year 3 & 4 (October 1, 2012-September 30, 2014) 9) Pre-release multiplication of new potential promising lines (breeder nucleus seed) and repeating variety maintenance activities of year 1 (2011) and year 2 (2012) 10. Pre-release seed multiplication of potential promising lines (pre-basic/basic seed) from Year 2 (2012) 11) Demonstration and popularization of potential promising lines by repeating and expanding the 2012 activities and provision of small seed packs to farmers. 12) Large-scale certified seed multiplication and distribution 12.1) Large-scale seed multiplication by public seed corporations and private companies sector 12.2) Technical backstopping and training on certified seed production, processing, storage and quality assurance to maximize yield and seed quality and seed marketing. 13) Establish pilot farmer-based seed production and marketing in marginal wheat production environments 13.1) Identify farmer groups for pilot village-based seed production enterprises 13.2) Establish pilot village-based seed production enterprises 13.3) Provision of facilities and initiate seed production and marketing 13.4) Monitoring operations. • The partner provided plans for project supported activities that enhanced source (BNS, Pre-Basic and Basic) seed production (October 2011, 2012, and 2013) • The partner reported on their activities in support of seed multiplication and distribution. (June 2012 and 13)
Objective 5: Agronomy. Agronomic Management Practices Year 1 (October 1, 2010-September 1) Evaluation of minimum/ zero till wheat technology in rainfed areas. his will be evaluated with and without residues left on the soil. This will be done in at Barani Agricultural Research Institue Chakwal in medium rainfall zone 1.1) Identification of economical levels of fertilizers in irrigated wheat in cotton- wheat cropping system . This trial will be done at farmer fields. Different levels of nitroguen and phosphorus will be evaluated. 2) Relay cropping of wheat in standing cotton to avoid late planting of wheat in cotton zone. In this trial broad casting of wheat in standing cotton crop will be compared with farme practice of wheat planting after the harvest of cotton crop. 3) Wheat planting on beds/ ridges will evaluated with farmer practice for grain yield. Water use in both treatments will be monitored . 3.1) Monitoring of wheat performance following rice and berseem crops in rice- wheat cropping zone. Year 2 (October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012) 4) Evaluation of minimum/ zero till wheat in rainfed and irrigated area. This will be evaluated with and without residues left on the soil. 5) Identification of economical levels of fertilizers in wheat different cropping systems. 6) Introduction of legumes in cotton -wheat and rice- wheat rotations (Irrigated). These legumes include berseem and mug beans Soil fertility and weeds infestations will be monitored . Relay cropping of wheat in standing cotton to avoid late planting of wheat in cotton zone. In this trial broad casting of wheat in standing cotton crop will be compared with farme practice of wheat planting after the harvest of cotton crop. 7) Wheat planting on beds/ ridges will evaluated with farmer practice for grain yield. Water use in both treatments will be monitored . 8) Evaluation of weed management techniques in rainfed and irrigated wheat. 9) Capacity building of scientists and farmers on successful interventions. 9.1) Trainings on component production technologies eg, zero tillage, weed management, nutrient management etc. Field days and seminars will be organized to out scale successful interventions. Year 3 & 4 (October 1, 2012-September 30, 2014) 10) Demonstrations of successful and proven technologies in wheat to farmers in different cropping systems. 11) Relay cropping of wheat in standing cotton to avoid late planting of wheat in cotton zone. This will include planting wheat on beds and broad casting of wheat in standing cotton crop 12) Evaluation of weed management techniques in rainfed and irrigated wheat. 13) Capacity building of scientists and farmers on successful interventions, Develop recommendations for farmers. Trainings on component production technologies egg, zero tillage, weed management, nutrient management etc. Field days and seminars will be organized to out scale successful interventions. • The partner provided plans for project supported agronomy research (October 2011, 2012, and 2013) • The partner reported on their activities in support of agronomic management and practices. (June 2012 and 13)
Objective 6: Ensure coordination of planning and implementation and capacity building in Pakistan through: 1) Overall coordination effected for Pakistani and International Partners; 2) Programmatic co-leadership provided with CIMMYT for technical Objectives 1, 2, and 3; and 3) programmatic co-leadership provided with ICARDA for technical Objectives 4 and 5. Coordination and communications provided within PARC, and between PARC and other Pakistan Institutional partners, CIMMYT, ICARDA, and USDA-ARS. Procedures and Plans for project supported international travel. Deliverables as per project-level indicators of progress described under Objective 6 in Annexure 1.