Entomologist Jeff Bradshaw Joins Panhandle REC

Entomologist Jeff Bradshaw Joins Panhandle REC

Jeff Bradshaw began work in January 2010 as entomologist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff. Bradshaw will be focusing his research and extension programs on integrated pest management of insects in wheat, sugarbeets, dry edible beans, sunflower, and rangeland in the 17-county UNL Panhandle District.

Jeff Bradshaw
Jeff Bradshaw

During the next crop season he plans to research

  • host plant resistance in dry beans to Mexican bean beetle and western bean cutworm
  • host plant resistance in sugarbeets to sugarbeet root aphids
  • potato pest resistance, along with UNL Plant Pathologist Bob Harveson
  • vector biology in plants and how some insects affect disease transmission
  • wheat stem sawfly in wheat (Sawflies have become a big problem in areas of the Northern Great Plains and are moving eastward.)

Bradshaw, who has already made presentations at 12 area Extension meetings, said he is looking forward to working with growers, consultants, and agribusiness representatives in the area and contributing to CropWatch.

Almost on arriving at the research and extension center, Bradshaw was presented with a mystery.  Nebraska dry beans that had been shipped to Florida were found to have been infested with a pest and there was concern for this shipment as well as other stored grain in Nebraska. Learning more about the pest(s) could help sellers discover the source of the problem.

Bradshaw received a few stray body parts mixed in with insect frass and set about to identify the pests. After initial I.D.s he contacted Jim Kalisch, one of UNL's pest diagnosticians in Lincoln. Kalisch identified the pests from the mismash of parts and provided Bradshaw with a whole ecosystem of how they would have developed in Nebraska dry beans in storage, answering some important questions for storage facilities.

The Thrill of Discovery

For Bradshaw the Panhandle appointment is exactly what he hoped to be doing at this time in his life — "I'm on Cloud Nine." 

He said his great-grandmother always remembered how as a three-year-old, he already knew he wanted to work with bugs.  Now, as a full-fledged entomologist, he said he enjoys the exploration, discovery, and problem-solving that comes with working in research and extension.

He's also interested in using newer technologies and communication tools to communicate with clientele in the Panhandle and looks forward to working on more Web information, including sites which can be accessed from hand-held media devices and include a layer of social networking.  The latter would allow for real-time sharing of field information and photos with growers and crop consultants.

As with many faculty appointments in UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bradshaw has a joint appointment. His is in the Extension and Agricultural Research divisions.

Education and Experience

Bradshaw received a Ph.D. in entomology and plant pathology in 2007 from Iowa State University. His doctoral dissertation focused on the management, biology and ecology of the bean leaf beetle.  He received his M.S. and B.S. degrees in zoology (in 2001 and 1998, respectively) from Southern Illinois University, and an associate's degree with a specialization in biology and chemistry in 1996 from Illinois Central College.

Before moving to Nebraska, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he was part of a large project funded by British Petroleum to identify potential economic pests of biomass crops that might be used for fuel production. (Economic pest injury of fields of switchgrass or miscanthus historically haven't been an issue as these species weren't grown as field crops; however, that paradigm could change and knowing the barriers is important.) 

Prior to that, Bradshaw was an extension postdoctoral research assistant at Iowa State University. (See Soybean Insects Guide, the ISU Web site he developed to aid in identifying soybean insect pests.) He also was a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant at ISU and worked as a teaching assistant at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Bradshaw and his wife, Katie, moved to Scottsbluff in December.

Lisa Jasa
CropWatch Editor