Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University in 2009. She is an associate professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated pest management (IPM) for field crops. Dr. Hodgson's current extension and research programs are focused on improving corn and soybean production by using IPM tactics to protect yield and increase overall farmer profits. Among other projects, she oversees insecticide efficacy evaluations for soybean aphids, Japanese beetles, and aphids in corn. Erin also helps manage emerging field crop pests and invasive species. 

Profile picture of Erin Hodgson

Dr. Daren Mueller is an assistant professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Dr. Mueller eraned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, and his master's degree and doctorate in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1999 and 2001. His main research interests involve understanding the biology and management of soybean diseases. The Iowa State IPM program, among other things, develops several publications about field crops pests, leads the ISU Field Extension Farm, and is involved in several STEM education projects. 

Daren Mueller

Dr. Alison Robertson is an associate professor of plant pathology and microbiology. She provides extension education on the diagnosis and management of corn and soybean diseases. Her research interests include Pythium seedling disease of corn and soybean and Goss's wilt. Dr. Robertson received her bachelor's degree in plant pathology in 1991 from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, and came to the United States in 1999 to pursue a doctoral degree in plant pathology at Clemson University. She started working at Iowa State University in May 2004.

Alison Robertson photo

Adam Sisson is an extension specialist with the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Sisson focuses on the development of publications and other educational resources for farmers, agribusiness, and students. He received his bachelor's degree in agronomy and environmental studies in 2006 and a master's degree in sustainable agriculture in 2009; both from Iowa State University. 

Adam Sisson

Dr. Mark Licht is an assistant professor and extension cropping systems specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. His extension, research and teaching program is focused on how to holistically manage Iowa cropping systems to achieve productivity, profitability and environmental goals. Research is centered around varied aspects of soybean, corn and cover crop management as well as agronomic implications of precision technologies.

Mark Licht
June 22, 2017 11:04 AM

The introduction and spread of Palmer amaranth in Iowa undoubtedly will have a significant impact on crop production and weed management in the future.  However, since the first infestations were identified I've been intrigued by what seemed odd behavior for a plant with Palmer amaranth's...

June 21, 2017 12:33 PM

The six weedy Amaranthus species at the weed garden have grown quite a bit, but I'm not sure how much easier it is to differentiate a few of the species. The six pigweeds are Palmer, Powell's and spiny amaranth, waterhemp, and redroot and tumble pigweed (not in that order!!). The...

June 21, 2017 9:47 AM

Today while scouting a commercial field north of Ames, I was looking for soybean aphid. I didn't see one aphid (sniff, sniff), but I did see a handful of thistle caterpillars. The caterpillars web together soybean leaves and feed inside the temporary home. They also produce copious amounts of...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 20, 2017 4:46 PM

Some much needed rain fell across parts of the state last week, but with the rain came some strong winds and hail in parts of the state. Other areas could still use some rain. Iowa State...

Crop Production
June 20, 2017 10:42 AM

Consider attending one of the Nitrogen and Water Week field days next week – June 27 to 29.

Our focus of these meetings is to have attendees ‘kick the tires’ on the tile drainage studies conducted by Iowa State University. 

Nitrate in tile drainage water is on the mind of many...

Crop Production
June 19, 2017 8:11 AM

Unfortunately, hail damage is not a rare occurrence in Iowa. Every year hail damage occurs; it is just a matter of how severe it is and how widespread it is. In most cases, hail damage results in varied levels of defoliation. Defoliation will have an impact on crop yield potential at a greater...

Crop Production
June 15, 2017 2:07 PM

The Field Extension Education Lab has five clinics/workshops this summer in July and August. Below is a list of programming updates that correlate with current farmer concerns and this year’s crop issues:

  • New to the lineup this...
Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases, Soils, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
June 13, 2017 10:33 PM

The USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report showed that Iowa's corn crop is 96% emerged and gave Iowa’s corn crops a 77% good to excellent rating. Soybean...

Crop Production
June 13, 2017 7:55 AM

This year at the ISU FEEL weed garden I've established a plot with nine weedy members of the Amaranthaceae family, including six pigweeds .  The pigweeds were transplanted on June 9 and pictures taken on June 11. Species include redroot pigweed, tumble pigweed, Palmer amaranth, spiny amaranth,...

June 8, 2017 2:19 PM

While searching for Palmer amaranth in a pollinator habitat planting I encountered a few musk thistles.  As I always do when I see this weed, I examined flower heads for the presence of the musk thistle weevil.  This insect was imported to North America as a biocontrol agent for musk thistle.  ...

June 7, 2017 7:24 AM

The USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report showed that Iowa's corn crop is 90% emerged and gave Iowa’s corn crops a 77% good/excellent rating. Soybean planting...

Crop Production
June 2, 2017 7:57 AM

This week, we finally got most of our plots in the ground. We've been patiently waiting for soil conditions to improve. This year, I have research in four locations around Iowa: NW Research Farm (Sutherland), Northern Research Farm (Kanawha), NE Research Farm (Nashua), and Johnson/Bruner...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 31, 2017 8:50 AM

Armyworm feeding has been observed in several fields in northeast and southeast Iowa. Most of the fields with the feeding had cereal rye planted last fall and were terminated this spring.

Now is the time to be scouting for armyworms. Look for feeding on leaves. The larvae will typically...

Insects and Mites
May 30, 2017 2:35 PM

The 2017 North Central Weed Science Society (NCWSS) Collegiate Weed Contest will be hosted by Iowa State University at the Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) near Boone, IA on July 26-27, 2017. Undergraduate and graduate students from universities throughout the Midwestern United States...

May 30, 2017 9:25 AM

Last summer, I wrote a blog about how the spring started off warm compared to most summers. I was curious to know about accumulated temperatures for 2017. According to the...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 25, 2017 1:05 PM

It is that time of year and with the weather conditions we’ve had the last 30 day we should expect to see purple corn, yellow corn, and maybe even some tattered leaves. Mostly the mosaic of corn color is a product of the weather; cooler and wetter. Over the last 30 days, rainfall has been 150 to...

Crop Production
May 23, 2017 1:07 PM

Monarch butterflies are an iconic species, known for their vibrant orange color and magnificent migration. Monarchs overwinter as adults in Central Mexico and fly to Texas and Oklahoma in the spring. Females lay eggs on milkweed plants, and the caterpillars feed on milkweed for about two weeks....

Insects and Mites
May 23, 2017 12:58 PM

Currently 92% of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted and 62% of the soybean crop according to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report. However, the wet weather...

Crop Production
May 23, 2017 12:49 PM

In 2017, ISU is reporting black cutworm (BCW) peak flights by county and providing degree day resources for more personalized cutting prediction dates using actual accrued degree days for a specific location. We first reported on BCW peak flights in the...

Insects and Mites
May 22, 2017 2:49 PM

Recent requests for information has prompted us to share what we know about "jumping worms," another in a long list of invasive species that could have a negative impact on our landscapes and natural areas. In the words of Gilda Radner, "It's always something. If it isn't one thing – it's...

Insects and Mites
May 15, 2017 7:24 AM

Cooler and wetter conditions can effect corn germination and emergence, but they can also provide a favorable environment for seedling diseases.

One research study being conducted by ISU is taking a closer look at seedling diseases in corn. The goals of the research are (i) to identify...

Plant Diseases
May 12, 2017 3:43 PM

I decided to take advantage of the great weather and see if Palmer amaranth could be identified in CRP fields where it was introduced last year.  I went to one field in Boone County and another in Story County.  I was happy to find that both fields had good stands of forbs that will compete with...

May 12, 2017 3:33 PM

You might not think insects would make great parents, and in general, you would be correct. Most species just drop eggs and keep moving. But there are a few species, particularly true bugs (Hemiptera), that do try to protect their young. Parental care ranges from hiding eggs, to providing food,...

Insects and Mites
May 10, 2017 8:43 AM

#Plant17 is progressing across Iowa. Following a period of cooler and wetter weather, most farmers have been able to get back in the fields over the weekend and either resume or start planting. According to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress report, Iowa had 52% corn planted and 19% of soybeans for the...

Crop Production