Amanda Easterly and Bruno Canella Vieira are recipients of the distinguished Henry M. Beachell Fellowship. This fellowship recognizes academic excellence and research potential in the agronomic and horticultural sciences.
Easterly’s research is focused on increasing wheat productivity through hybrids to meet growing populations and needs. Using a chemical hybridizing agent (CHA) to produce the hybrids, she was able to obtain good male sterility while having no effect on the hybrid wheat seed. Easterly is also working on establishing which combinations of parents are best for developing the hybrids. She tested 26 parents in all combinations for a total of about 650 hybrids to determine the best grain yield. These hybrids were grown in 2016 and 2017 in three locations in Nebraska. She found reciprocal effects to be minimal – meaning a parent line can be used as either a female or male parent – and some hybrids had higher grain yield than their parents. These results set a framework for hybrid wheat research in the future.
Easterly received her doctorate from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in December 2017 and was advised by P. Stephen Baenziger, professor of agronomy and horticulture and Wheat Growers Presidential Chair.
Vieira, an agronomy doctoral student, is focusing on understanding how incorrect herbicide application practices can affect herbicide resistance in weeds. He is investigating if exposure to herbicide drift can influence herbicide resistance evolution on weed populations located on field borders. Vieira is advised by Greg Kruger, associate professor of agronomy.
Beachell, a plant breeder and native Nebraskan, graduated from the department in 1930. He received the 1996 World Food Prize in honor of his contributions in the alleviation of world hunger.