Sir Albert Howard in India

By Louise E. Howard

Chapter 2
The Work on Wheat

The Problem

The first problem was wheat. This crop was the staple food of many of the peoples of India and was also exported, the amount exported constituting, however, only about one-tenth of the whole crop; nor did these exports rank high on world markets, Indian wheats being soft and white and greatly inferior to the strong Canadian and Australian wheats. The problem was therefore looked on almost entirely as one of improving the food supply of the country; from this point of view it was of extreme importance.

At the second annual meeting of the newly formed Board of Agriculture, held at the Pusa Research Institute in January 1906, Sir Albert Howard, as head of the Botanical Section, was asked to prepare an outline of future work which could apply to the whole of India. Barely four years after this first official assignment, in December 1909, the book entitled Wheat in India appeared. So much information had been collected and there was so much to say that publication was pushed on to fill 288 large-quarto pages, but the work undoubtedly suffers from having appeared before research was completed. That research was immensely stimulated when in 1910, as already described, the Howards doubled their efficiency and trained themselves in a new set of conditions, those of dry farming and irrigation, by transferring their residence each summer to the hot dry climate of Quetta in Baluchistan, where a second set of investigations was carried on. By 1924 no fewer than thirty-one papers (a few items were printed twice, once as Research Station Bulletins and again in the Agricultural Journal of India, so that the actual number of papers is less than 31) exclusively on wheat had appeared, some of a very elaborate nature, all based on original and prolonged experiments.

Possibly in view of these papers the investigators never proposed to themselves to sum up their final results on the same comprehensive scale as that in which they had set out the original problem: no second book appeared. However, a survey of work was presented to the Royal Society of Arts in 1920, while a rather longer Bulletin was published in 1928 after final surrender of the post at Pusa.

The work on wheat was not only outstanding on account of its results, but was of great importance to the Howards themselves. In the course of it they acquired their first fundamental conception of the agricultural needs of the East. It introduced them to problems of drainage, irrigation, and manuring, which had to be solved if progress was to be made. It proved to them that little was known of Indian agriculture, that what had been said was often wrong, and that plant breeding for Indian crops would have to start at the beginning with the huge task of sorting out a great confusion of varieties before any attempt at improvement could be made. It tempted them, very rightly, to merchandise their harvest and to seek a verdict in the severe competition of a Western world market; to go further and test final quality in the form of the baked loaf on the breakfast table, thus pursuing their product to the mouth of the consumer. Moreover, owing to the fact that wheat is a staple crop of the West as of the East, their researches kept them in intimate touch with scientific work along the same lines, especially with the Mendelian school at Cambridge, where some of the Pusa seed was grown on their behalf at the University farm. Finally, the extraordinary success of their efforts ensured their position as leaders in tropical agricultural work and was altogether heartening and encouraging.

The impression gained on reading of the first proposals made is one of great boldness and great assurance; comprehensive ideas are set out and are stated each and all to be necessary. These were embodied in the outline programme which Sir Albert Howard was asked to put before the Agricultural Board meeting of 1906, in which the following points were enunciated. It is stated that the researcher must acquire at first-hand experience of the growing of Indian wheats in the field: he must study the soils of India: he must make a careful survey of indigenous practices -- the antiquity of these was already inspiring Sir Albert with respect: he must take into consideration the prevalent habit of growing mixed varieties and of combining wheat with a legume: must aim at adaptability to very varying conditions of any new variety to be launched: must realize that such new variety would have to be easily distinguishable in the field by some one simple characteristic of colour or appearance: must secure that his crops should be free of rusts and other diseases: must not consider this task accomplished until he had dealt with storage of the grain: until he had followed its career both on home and on export markets: until he had seen it milled, baked, and had discovered the qualities of the actual loaf which was the end result of all his labours. Above all, the investigator must consider with whom and for whom he was working: he must take into consideration India and the peoples of India.

The Conditions

The need for studying the conditions of the country became even more obvious as the great range and variety of circumstances in which this crop had always been grown emerged.

How much there was to be learnt in this direction became clear when a review was made of the methods adopted in the course of centuries for fitting wheat into the general cropping schemes of the different regions.

Fallowing and rotation were also relied on, rotation crops including maize, millet, cotton, tobacco, indigo, rice, sugar-cane, gram, gram with peas, pulses or a pulse-mixture. All the methods adopted, rotation, fallowing, and the growing of leguminous crops, were designed for one end -- to maintain the fertility of the soil so as to enable it to meet the demands of this nitrogen-consuming crop. Even an apparent exception was on examination found to conform to the general principle.

This striking instance of the role which weeds can play in keeping up soil fertility can be cited as an illustration of very recent ideas on the subject of weeds, which, it is argued, should be allowed to play their own part in our general cultivation schemes (F. C. King, The Weed Problem, Faber & Faber, 1951); once again the tradition of the East links up with modern Western knowledge. Sir Albert Howard noted the facts and grasped their general significance. They evidently struck him, for he refers to them again in later life; he must have stored them in his mind as among the many varying aspects of the nitrogen problem.

There can be no doubt that this most thorough survey of Indian practices in wheat growing formed an excellent starting-point for experimental work. But what is most striking is the attitude of mind of the investigator, so careful to note every item in the local practices and consider their bearing. Not in the case of every crop was Sir Albert so respectful of what the Indian cultivators had achieved. As there will be occasion to state in a subsequent chapter, when it came to a survey of Indian fruit growing, or even of indigo, he was a severe critic. But wheat had been grown in India for more than two thousand years; it was a crop essential to existence, every grain of value: the practices of the Indian peasants were the result of generations of hard experience, and though it was to be hoped, and in the event justly hoped, that science could add a great deal, yet the first essential was to understand and appreciate the teachings of these centuries of effort.

In spite of the enormous extent of this crop, valued above all other food crops where it could be cultivated, it was not really easy to grow wheat in India. There was a very great limiting factor in the shortness of the time both for sowing and again for harvest, two separate risks which had to be faced. This the cultivator knew very well.

Finally, the wheat had to be harvested and stored. But there was no machinery and few buildings. The methods were perforce in a category utterly different from those employed in Western agriculture. Once again the investigator's judgment is curiously sympathetic. He seems to have had from the outset a rare faculty for putting himself in the place of the peasant without sacrificing his trained scientific point of view.

Methods in the United Provinces, Bengal, the Central Provinces and Berar, and in Bombay are briefly described as very similar.

The Sorting Out of Varieties

Wheat was so important in India that it would have been strange if there had been no previous investigations. These, however, had been misdirected and for that reason had been unsuccessful.

An obvious first duty was an examination of existing types of Indian wheats and their improvement by plant breeding. Previous investigations on this point had been desultory and local and had committed the unpardonable error of trying to solve the situation by a short cut, namely, by the introduction of foreign varieties. These had proved a complete failure. Much more fundamental work was required. The only way to master the situation was to examine, review, and classify all the wheats of India, a colossal task.

It was practically an uncharted field, and meant sorting out a chaotic confusion of types, in part cross-fertilized, and grown under all sorts of different conditions in this vast country. (Cross-fertilization of wheat in India is frequently mentioned by Sir Albert Howard. Other workers do not appear to have noted it and have attributed the confusion of varieties to initial mixed sowings.) In the course of the intensive examination undertaken, involving thousands of specimens, a mass of data on the inheritance of characters was arrived at, covering such points as bearding, grain colour, felting, grain consistency, and shattering of the ear. These data were embodied in three long and elaborate papers, which were a contribution to botanical knowledge of obvious scope and importance. Research on plant breeding has since then advanced out of all knowledge; there would be little point in conveying the botanical bearing of what was discovered in these years. The reader is therefore asked to take this work for granted or to consult the papers in the original. (The same applies to the long botanical monographs on tobacco, fibres, and some other crops.) The present section will concentrate on conveying the practical results of what was achieved in a little investigated field. The lesson lies precisely in this -- that a problem which had baffled many workers by reason of its utter confusion and vastness was rapidly solved by the exercise of exact knowledge, good judgment, and very great and strenuous industry. None of the infinite labour of this kind of work was shirked in a climate where outdoor operation has its own inconveniences for a European. Here the partnership between husband and wife, each at the height of their powers in these early years, proved its exceeding value. Wearing a topee and with a double-lined sunshade held over her head Gabrielle Howard continued to carry out the minutiae of the cross-fertilization and similar work; Sir Albert has left it on record that she was a veritable mistress of this kind of detailed labour, and also that she was a genius at training Indian workers to assist her and obtained from them a co-operation which surpassed even what he himself was able to evoke. The difficulties were not lessened by the fact that the classification of wheats in other parts of the world was a disputed matter. Several rival systems existed, German, French, American, or Australian, based on widely different principles. After careful consideration of all this work the Howards came to the conclusion that there was nothing for it but to proceed to their own classification of the wheats of India. The results occupy sixty pages of botanical definition in Wheat in India.

This, however, was only the beginning of the work. Each botanical variety was liable to be composed of several types. It is important to grasp what is meant by this term, and the following passage explains this, under the title 'The Constitution of a Wheat Field'.

The upshot of this survey of wheats was, in fact, to prove that it was not enough to identify a botanical variety. What would satisfy the systematic botanist would carry the agricultural experimenter only a little way: his true work began where the other left off. This point is insisted on and is the explanation of why the growing of crops in the field is so earnestly advocated.

The differences between agricultural types only emerges when crops are grown in the large. Then the details mass themselves together and can be picked out by the eye; they usually consist of very trifling nuances of colour, shape, and stand, but they are unmistakable and a sure guide to the plant breeder. Thus in a curious way the delicacy of judgment of the practical investigator has to surpass even that of the worker in the laboratory; but it is based on rather different means.

The Breeding of the New Wheats

The new Indian wheats, known as the Pusa wheats, were perhaps the greatest practical achievement of the Howards. Some fifty named varieties were eventually produced by brilliant and sustained work. Even these were the result of severely imposed restriction of choice. It was, indeed, a matter of great judgment to use the vast material to the best advantage. Faced by the unlimited possibilities in front of them the investigators had decided at an early date 'to concentrate from the beginning on the best only', and their advice on this point is insistent.

The methods open to the investigators were, first, selection and, then, hybridization by cross-fertilization. Selection included both isolation of an existing good agricultural type in the mass and also the creation of a new type by breeding from a single chosen plant of promise; thus this word covers two distinct operations.

The first results were encouraging. It became clear that Indian wheats existed of a quality which had been entirely overlooked. It did not seem that the softness which had so told against them was their essential characteristic.

The emphasis laid by previous investigators on the introduction of foreign varieties appeared to have been unnecessary and mistaken. There was far more to be gained by concentrating on native types, which, as the Howards realized, had had a history of several thousand years and had become adapted to the conditions of the country. (But see Note by Dr. H. Martin-Leake at the end of this chapter.) There was here material of great promise.

At Pusa four varieties were at first isolated, namely, Pusa 20, 21 22, and 23; of these Pusa 22 proved the most useful and subsequently gave rise to superior hybrids, but all four were later discarded for various reasons. At Lyallpur in the Punjab twenty-five agricultural types were isolated. Although none of these were of a really high quality, one, Punjab 11, a white bearded wheat with red chaff, was adopted for distribution on account of its qualities. By 1923 the area under it amounted to 750,000 acres.

The work rapidly proceeded to selection properly so called, namely, to the breeding of new varieties from single chosen plants of outstanding merit (pure lines). This work was at that time comparatively new. The Howards threw themselves into it with ardour, realizing that opportunities were before them which had not been available to previous investigators.

The results were, in fact, outstanding and the best series of Pusa wheats were rapidly and permanently established.

There follows the story of the famous Pusa 4, again best told in the words of the original account. This wheat rivalled and then surpassed even Pusa 12 in popularity.

The third method of arriving at an improved variety was to be by cross-fertilization. The Howards were well aware of the difficulties of this task. The start was in any case from a crop already partly cross-fertilized, a process which had been going on for many centuries in India, the result of which was seen in the innumerable varieties growing in the fields of the ryots. While it was very possible that this spontaneous crossing was the natural means of keeping up the vigour of the crop, which without it might have degenerated slowly (Wheat in India, pp. 139-40), yet the first necessity was, so to say, to undo all this natural process in order to arrive at pure lines. This was bound to be a complicated business.

Under any circumstances the production of a superior type of wheat by hybridization must be a costly and laborious business; Sir Albert estimated that in India it could not possibly be done under five years as a minimum period. Not only was it necessary to have a large armoury of pure lines, got by careful selection, but it was also necessary to know how these pure lines were likely to behave as parents.

The investigators had to have definite aims. These were what they themselves formulated; throughout this work the standards had to be self-imposed.

There was a temptation to lose oneself in the innumerable possibilities of the work. It was at this point that the field method of sowing in the large became a corrective.

The crossing of wheats was begun in 1906. The first trials were made on a wheat of northern India, Muzaffarnagar, a bearded variety of high yielding power; the grain was, however, soft and weak. Two early crosses in 1906 with Pusa 22 and Pusa 6 gave two successful hybrids, Pusa l00 and 101; these retained the high yielding qualities of the Muzaffarnagar. But the straw of Pusa 101 proved not strong enough to support the heavy-ears and this variety was eventually superseded by the favourite Pusa 4. Pusa 100 was found to suit the conditions in certain parts of the Central Provinces, twenty years later it was reported as still holding pride of place and as averaging nearly 70 per cent more than the native kathia.

A second series of crosses from Muzaffarnagar resulted in 'a very fine series of wheats', Pusa 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 110. Pusa 104 and 107 were some of the best-looking wheats ever bred at Pusa, and when sent to Australia became exhibition wheats, Pusa 107 , as already mentioned, taking first prize at the Royal Agricultural Show at Sydney, being the only wheat to obtain the maximum number of points. In India, however, these wheats proved less useful than some other varieties.

Another successful hybrid was Pusa 80, sometimes known as P80-5, obtained by crossing Pusa 4 with Pusa 6, the object being to get a very strong-strawed white wheat for Bihar. This crossing had the effect of combining the outstanding grain qualities of Pusa 4 with the good growing qualities of Pusa 6, and gave very successful yields in the locality for which it was destined.

In other localities there was a demand for bearded wheats.

Finally, for all wheats, whether selected or cross-bred, what is described as 'a very rigid selection for grain characters' was carried out in the laboratory. On the results, after cultivation had been tested both on a large and a small scale, the chosen varieties were sent to the Provinces to be tried out under varying conditions. Simultaneously, in order not to lose time, samples were sent to England for milling and baking. Reference to this is made in the last section of this chapter.

The whole work may be reckoned to have taken some ten or twelve years, the most spectacular triumphs arising from some of the early selection work, above all, from the breeding of Pusa 4 and Pusa 12.

The Problem of Rust

Cross-breeding was, however, of great importance in one direction, the finding of varieties resistant to rust. Indian wheat was generally healthy. Perhaps natural cross-fertilization over several thousand years in the ryot's wheat fields had kept it from degeneration; as already stated, Sir Albert Howard had surmised as much, and modern opinion might bear him out.

But Indian wheat was far from immune to rust. It may be a surprise to learn of the extent to which this crop suffered from this particular evil in view of Sir Albert's later statements that Eastern peasant agriculture is an agriculture free of disease. Sir Albert never placed Indian agriculture -- greatly as he admired it -- in the top rank alongside Chinese or Japanese agriculture; there was also that lack of manure. But in the case of wheat there was a special explanation, namely, in the influence of the zonal conditions. Crops, in order to be inherently resistant, must not only be well grown but must be grown in the right place or area. Now wheat is a cold country crop and is on the verge of not being possible in India. The peoples' need for this excellent grain accounts for its wide distribution, but such distribution was inevitably exposed to risks, as proved by the ancient existence of rusts.

The really arresting fact is that this major project of the wheat investigations was started in a locality particularly unfavourable to wheat. Pusa, with its damp climate, was the last place to be chosen for such work. But, as the Howards argued, there was this to be gained: any variety that would stand up to the unfavourable Pusa conditions could be guaranteed to do well elsewhere.

Was rust caused by weather? Everybody thought so, but there was a complete absence of agreement as to what sort of weather would bring on rust.

What, then, was the explanation of this extraordinary confusion of facts and of opinions? In the following significant passage, which, it must be remembered, dates back to 1909 , the whole later Howard theory of disease-resistance is set out. It is astonishing to find the main points so decisively and clearly expressed and all the apparently contradictory aspects reduced to such simple and convincing explanations.

In order 'to turn the struggle between the wheat and the rust in favour of the cultivator' it seemed desirable to cross-breed from the two primitive wheats, Einkorn and Emmer; in spite of the experience just related above, these were, as a rule, markedly rust-resistant. Crosses were therefore made with T. vulgare Vill. These first experiments proved abortive. It was possible to produce seeds but these either failed to germinate or if germination took place, the seedlings died at once. All attempts to raise even the first generation, whether at Pusa or Lyallpur, failed. With Einkorn the failure was particularly pronounced; the plants never flowered.

These set-backs were undoubtedly disappointing, but there were other lines of attack.

Four crosses were in this way made from Pusa 4 and Pusa 6 with American Club and a new English hybrid. Even these results, though at first sight promising, had eventually to be discarded. Pusa 6 was a variety very apt to shed grain in dry weather; this, which would not have mattered in the damper climate of England, was fatal in India, and, when crossed with the English variety also possessing this defect, the progeny (Pusa 60 to 69), though of excellent quality, had to be rejected as unsuitable for distribution on a large scale. The progeny of Pusa 4 (Pusa 30 to 48) failed to inherit the excellent qualities of their parent, while the progeny of American Club failed to prove rust resistant under Indian conditions.

The work was continued and eventually 'a fair degree of rust resistance' was secured. (Indian Agriculture, p. 39.) In summing up results some ten years later Sir Albert states his reasons for being satisfied with this attainment. (See Chapter 1) At an early stage in the work, he points out that the prevention of rust is a problem which involves factors much more comprehensive than the mere breeding of varieties, useful and necessary though such work may be. He himself had tried more than one expedient and it is not without interest when he reports that pickling seed with a copper sulphate solution or spraying the growing crop with a similar solution or iron sulphate proved equally useless. Early sowing, as tried in Australia, was risky in the Indian climate. Another Australian expedient, the sowing of two-year-old seed instead of one-year-old, proved waste of time; not only did such seed germinate very badly, but 'in due course' it was attacked by rust quite as markedly as the crop grown from younger seed. Rotation of crops appeared to be, apart from the breeding of resistant varieties, far and away the wisest preventive, and, as we have seen, this ancient method had always been incorporated in the practice of the East. (Wheat in India, pp. 100-1.)

The Results

In dealing with this great staple crop of wheat, so important to the peoples of India, the principles which should govern the work of the plant breeder were perhaps more clearly worked out than in the course of any other piece of work. These prolonged and intensive experiments were a great education to the Howards themselves. A baffling combination of problems was encountered, including unsuspected botanical queries, the difficulties of traditional use and custom, and, lastly, very important economic aspects; these together created a situation so fundamental and so comprehensive that in dealing with it the investigators' faculties were called upon.

The very success of the work put the first question: Would the new wheats retain their characteristics when grown elsewhere than at Pusa? For instance, in the canal-irrigated areas of the Punjab or on the black soils of the Peninsula? It was necessary to prove or to disprove this argument. Sowings were made at a number of stations with the help of the officers there in charge, and more especially with the co-operation of Dr. H. Martin-Leake, later to become Director of Agriculture in the United Provinces. The investigations were continued for six years, from 1907to 1912.

It was simultaneously that the milling and baking tests were started, which were to prove so encouraging. In the course of them another point emerged, that high yield and high quality tended to be combined; both large harvests and good grain could be looked for from the same wheat. (The contrary view was prevalent at the time in England; cf. Journal of the Farmers' Club, 1912, p. 80.) Of the quality of the Indian grain there could be no doubt. Sample after sample was sent forward to be examined by the principal milling interests of Great Britain and detailed reports obtained; of the thirty-one papers on wheat written by the Howards six deal with these tests, which embraced baking as well as milling. There is not space here to give the points of the verdicts given by the highest authorities in the milling industry of Great Britain. The conventional condemnation of Indian wheats as soft and inferior was completely reversed. Wheats as good as the best of those exported from Canada could be produced, while Pusa 4 was actually declared to be 'as good as any wheat in the world'. (Mr. A. E. Humphries, one time President of the Incorporated National Association of British and Irish Millers, as quoted in Pusa Bulletin No. 1 7 1, p. 21. Mr. Humphries various reports are printed verbatim in the Pusa Bulletins.) Already in 1909 it could be stated:

In view of such favourable verdicts Sir Albert did not hesitate to claim for India a premier position as a wheat-exporting country. (The increase in the population has since made it impossible for India to export grains, making quality of less importance.)

The European market demanded a strong wheat and it had been an error to ship the soft white varieties.

But in no case was the volume exported more than a fraction of the whole harvest. The problem once more came back to a question of the food of the peoples themselves.

Pusa 4 and Pusa 12 had commanded a premium on their local markets from the moment of their first appearance, in the case of Pusa 12 at the rate of an additional 6 annas (6d.) a maund, in the case of Pusa 4 at the rate of an additional 10 annas a maund.

Eventually, to suit the widely varying soil and climatic conditions of this huge country, five or six main varieties of the new wheats became permanently established. These were Pusa 4 in the North-west Province, Bundelkhund, Gujerat, and parts of Burmah; Pusa 12 in the United Provinces, in Sind, Eastern Bengal, and Bihar; Pusa 52 in North Bihar and the eastern districts of the United Provinces where a bearded wheat was essential; Pusa 100 in the Central Provinces; while Punjab 11covered many hundred acres of the Punjab Canal Colonies.

The areas of the new wheats extended with unprecedented celerity. Estimates could not keep pace with their popularity. In 1919 it could be reported to the Viceroy, on his visit to the Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa, that half a million acres were under Pusa 4 and Pusa 12; by 1921 this had doubled to over a million acres. In 1924 'a conservative estimate' gave an acreage of 2-1/2 million acres, with an additional profit to the growers, at fifteen rupees an acre, of £2,500,000 a year; while in 1925-6 a final estimate, again stated to be conservative, placed the acreage at no less than 7,412,857 acres, and even if the annual profit were reckoned at the lesser figure of ten rupees to the acre, this would mean an enhanced revenue to the peoples of India of seven crores of rupees or £5,500,000 a year. (The figures were arrived at on the basis of the sales of Pusa 12 in the United Provinces in 1916; better quality commanded an immediate pre mium of 3 to 4 annas per maund, which later rose to 8-10 annas, at the local bazaars; increase in yield was at the rate of about 3 maunds to the acre; the two increases combined worked out at 15 rupees extra profit per acre. Report of the Imperial Economic Botanists the year 1915-16, p. 3; the same for the year 1916-17, p 7.)


by Mr. H. Martin-Leake, Sc.D.

formerly Director of Agriculture, United Provinces, and sometime Principal of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad

Towards the end of the last century, Mr. W. H. Moreland, I.C.S. , then Director of Agriculture in the United Provinces, India, was sent to Australia to study the wheat work of that country which was being conducted by Farrer. He brought back with him a number of Australian wheats including some of Farrer's raising.

These were grown on the Cawnpore Farm under the charge of Mr. J. M. Hayman, then sole Deputy Director of Agriculture. Crossing was attempted, probably with a crude technique, for it was before the days of Mendelism and the basis of these crosses was putting successive 'doses' of the Australian wheats on to local Indian wheats.

When I went to Cawnpore from Saharanpur in the autumn of 1906, the crop had already been sown. The work was transferred to me and I found myself in charge of a very large number of small plots, some of them labelled with the names of the original wheats, both local and Australian -- the Australian names I have forgotten. Others were labelled as crosses; thus 'Australian-x-Zuff', or 'Australian-x-Zuff-x-Zuff' (the first cross recrossed by Zuff) 'Zuff' being the shortened form of one of the standard Indian wheats 'Mozuffarnagar'.

Not one of the plots was pure, so that there had been much mixing; in fact, after close study all plots so nearly approximated to the same complete mixture that I decided that the only thing to do was to scrap the lot, go through the crop as a single mixture and pick out promising single plants for a fresh start.

I had been in touch with Mr. A. Howard (later Sir Albert) since his arrival in India in 1905. He had started his wheat work, so I invited him to Cawnpore and we spent a day or two going through the crops, the various plots being considered as a single unit, each selecting plants that appealed to us. That was in the spring harvest of 1907, and we each sowed our own collections at Pusa and at Cawnpore respectively in the autumn of that year. I did not see the Pusa crop but, in the case of the Cawnpore crop of spring 1908, many of these single plant cultures were pure, suggesting that, where these were not Indian types, they were in fact wheats of the original Australian stock introduced.

It was from these that, I believe, Pusa 4 and Pusa 12, came -- the first wheats widely grown throughout the Provinces. It was from the Cawnpore selection that, without any doubt, Cawnpore 13 came, the third of the new wheats which came to form so large a part of the area under wheat.

My own work on wheats ceased with that selection; I did not attempt actual breeding. The later wheats which came to replace these three were the direct product of Howard's own breeding work on true Mendelian principles as then understood.

The above is written from memory as all my records of this work were left in India. But that this recollection is the true one is suggested by the fact that as early as 1910 and certainly by 1914, the area under these three wheats was very large. There could not have been sufficient time to make crosses, sort out the F1s and obtain purity and multiply pure seed. Even starting with purity in a single plant the multiplication factor was very great.

It is interesting to note that one of these wheats, Pusa 4, I believe, was taken to Australia to become a widely grown commercial wheat. If my interpretation of what happened at Cawnpore is correct, and I can see no other, Australia was merely importing one of the wheats originally imported into India from Australia by Mr. Moreland about 1897; possibly slightly modified by a selection of minor characters effected by the natural forces of a different climate.


(a) General

Wheat in India: Its Production, Varieties, and Improvement.
Thacker, Spink and Co. , Calcutta, 1909, pp. 288.

Crop Production in India, 1924: Ch. XI: 'Wheat'.

Journ. of the Bombay Natural History Society, Oct. 1911: 'The Improve ment in the Yield and Quality of Indian Wheat'.

Agric. Journ. of India, Vol. VIII, Part I, Jan. 1913: 'The Improvement of Indian Wheat'.

Bulletin No. 171 of the Agric. Research Institute, Pusa, 1927: 'The 'Improvement of Indian Wheat'.

(b) Botanical Aspects

Journ. of Agric. Science, Vol. II, 1907: 'Note on Immune Wheats'. (Paper not available to the present writer.)

Memoirs of the Agric. Research Institute, Pusa (Botanical Series), Vol. II, No. 7, 1909: 'The Varietal Characters of Indian Wheats'.

Ibid., Vol. III, No. 6, 1910 (together with Abdur Rahman Khan): 'The Economic Significance of Natural Cross-Fertilization in India'; pp. 283- 303, 'Wheat'.

Ibid., Vol. V, No. 1 , 1912 and Vol. VII, No. 8, 1915: 'On the Inheritance of Some Characters in Wheat', I and II.

Ibid., Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1916: 'The Wheats of Baluchistan, Khorasan, and the Kurram Valley'.

Ibid., Vol. XII, No. 1, 1922: 'The Wheats of Bihar and Orissa'.

(c) Agricultural Aspects

Memoirs of the Agric. Research Institute,
Pusa (Botanical Series), Vol. III, No. 4, 1910; Vol. V, No. 2, 1913; Vol. VI, No. 8, 1914 (together with H. Martin-Leake): 'The Influence of the Environment on the Milling and Baking Qualities of Wheat in India', I, II, and III.

Agric Journ. of India, Vol. VIII, Part II, April 1913 (together with H. Martin- Leake): 'Yield and Quality in Wheat'.

Ibid., Vol. IX, Part III, July 1914: 'The Seed Supply of the New Pusa Wheats'.

Ibid., Vol. X, Part I, Jan. 1915: 'Pusa 12'.

Ibid., Vol. X, Part III, July 1915: 'The Storage of Seed'.

Ibid. , Vol. XI, Part I, Jan. 1916: 'The Saving of Irrigation Water in Wheat Growing'.

Ibid. , Vol. XI, Part IV, Oct. 1916: 'The Influence of the Weather on the Yield of Wheat'.

Bulletin of the Fruit Experiment Station, Quetta, No. 4, 1915: 'The Saving of Irrigation Water in Wheat Growing'; reprinted as Bulletin No. 118 of the Agric. Research Station, Pusa, 1921.

Bulletin No. 122 of the Agric. Research Station, Pusa, 1921 (with B. C. Burt): 'Pusa 12 and Pusa 4 in the Central Circle of the United Provinces'.

Agric. Journal of India, Vol. XVI, 1921: 'Pusa Wheats in Australia'. (Paper not available to the present writer.)

(d) Baking and Milling Tests

Bulletins of the Agric. Research Institute, Pusa, No. 14, 1908; No. 17, 1910; No. 22, 1911: l: 'The Milling and Baking Qualities of Indian Wheats, I, II, and III'.

(See also under (c).)

Next: 3. Soil Aeration and Irrigation

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