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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. 

Photo of Erin Hodgson

Dr. Daren Mueller is an associate 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 earned 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 and a Certified Crop Adviser. 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. 

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

Meaghan Anderson is a field agronomist in central Iowa and an extension field specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Educational programming is available for farmers, agribusinesses, pesticide applicators, certified crop advisors, and other individuals interested in crop production.

Areas of expertise include weed management, weed biology, cover crops, corn and soybean management, and integrated pest management.

Subscribe to the Central Iowa Crop Update for current topics and agriculture events in the area.

Meaghan Anderson

Dr Laura Jesse Iles co-directs the North Central IPM Center and Directs Iowa State Universities Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC).   Dr. Iles has earned B.S. (Animal Ecology), M.S. (Entomology), and Ph.D. (Co-major in Entomology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) degrees, all from Iowa State University.  In addition to directing the PIDC, Dr Iles serves as the entomology diagnostician. As part of the ISU Integrated Pest Management Program Dr. Iles provides educational training and diagnostic services in the broad areas of consumer horticulture, biological control, and invasive insect management.

Laura Jesse Iles
April 16, 2021 11:07 AM

With cool weather conditions potentially causing delays in cover crop termination, what options are available? Cereal rye ahead of soybean is not nearly as problematic. While planting green may not be advised for beginning cover crop users, more experienced cover crop users have...

Crop Production
April 15, 2021 3:57 PM

Recent research showing the benefits of sulfur application to corn in Iowa have many folks asking questions about ammonium thiosulfate or ATS. ATS and ammonium sulfate (AMS) contain both nitrogen and sulfur, however in different amounts. AMS also differs from ATS in that all the sulfur in AMS is...

Soil Fertility
April 15, 2021 9:24 AM

While it seems like most alfalfa fields are greening up quite nicely this spring, there have been a few reports of winter injury in alfalfa stands, especially if stands or parts of stands may have been covered by sheets of ice during the winter.

Take some time now to evaluate stands for...

Crop Production
April 14, 2021 4:32 PM

Even though the weather has been variable this past week, one thing is certain: black cutworm is moving through Iowa. During week 2 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network (April 4 to April 10), our cooperators reported 122 total black cutworm (BCW) and 21 true armyworm (TAW) moths. Windy conditions...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 13, 2021 11:43 AM

Does the recent increase in nitrogen (N) cost and the increase in corn grain price warrant a change in nitrogen rates in 2021?  The following discussion gives an overview of the current N cost and corn price situation

New crop corn for delivery during the fall of 2021 was $4.05 per bushel...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 2:55 PM

Choosing a corn seeding rate is as much art as it is science because soil conditions and seed quality can greatly affect the outcome. The goal is to choose a seeding rate that produces an economical optimal yield as opposed to the maximum yield. A seeding rate has to factor in seed quality,...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 12:21 PM

The final April climatological outlooks issued by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) show elevated chances of warmer than average temperatures. On the precipitation front, there is no clear signal for Iowa, as outlooks continues to show a moderate La Niña configuration with above average...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 10:10 AM

The following are a few thoughts on nitrogen (N) management for the 2021 growing season.  Many fertilizer decisions have already been made - however a quick review of N plans is in order. However, the recent increase in corn grain prices and in-season cost of nitrogen fertilizer may warrant of...

Crop Production
April 8, 2021 11:02 AM

The 2021 moth trapping season is underway, and our volunteers placed traps the week of March 28. Black cutworm (BCW) monitoring is a long-standing project in Iowa, and true armyworm (TAW) was added in 2017. Both of these pests are migratory, making it difficult to predict where populations will...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 7, 2021 6:26 AM

As the weather turns warmer and the days grow longer, many of us are thinking about getting equipment like sprayers ready for the spring. Beyond making sure the machine is mechanically sound and fit for spring (which...

Equipment and Machinery
April 6, 2021 11:06 AM

As it has started to warm up, folks are ready to implement early-spring weed management programs, especially in fields with infestations of winter annuals like field pennycress and marestail (horseweed). Spring burndown (preplant) herbicide programs should target winter annual plants at the...

Weeds
April 6, 2021 8:30 AM

As more producers integrate cover crops into their operation, there has been increased interest in planting corn into a green or living cover crop, such as cereal rye, and terminating the cover crop after planting.

To help provide some insight into how “planting green” might affect corn...

Plant Diseases
April 6, 2021 6:26 AM

Program Specialist Levi Powell with ISU Digital Ag explains a quick tutorial for checking the closing wheel alignment of your planter in the shop before heading to the field.

Equipment and Machinery
April 5, 2021 6:26 AM

ISU Digital Ag Program Specialist Levi Powell explains a simple process for checking planter depth settings in the shop to increase machine accuracy before you head to the field.

Equipment and Machinery
April 2, 2021 2:02 PM

Occasionally, corn planted after a cereal rye cover crop may have reduced yields. Proposed reasons for this yield decline include allelopathy, seedling disease, nitrogen immobilization and poor planter performance. In our lab, we are interested in understanding how seedling disease and...

Crop Production
April 2, 2021 1:30 PM

The recent dry conditions across the state, carried through from the 2020 growing season, has created an environment in which field fires are of concern this spring if current conditions continue to persist.  Strong winds can increase problems by acting as a catalyst, drying crop residue,...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery, Soil Fertility
April 1, 2021 1:17 PM

Spring planting season may come with added challenges as growers continue to deal with the effects of last August’s derecho event. Many fields through central Iowa were riddled with downed corn, and while some fields were able to be partially harvested, others were damaged so severely that...

Crop Production
April 1, 2021 11:35 AM

The nice weather and dry conditions have led some to think about the start of planting. My opinion, it is too early. Remember crop insurance replant dates are not until April 11. Use the extra days to get plans in order and a little rest and relaxation before the pace picks up.

...

Crop Production
March 26, 2021 12:55 PM

Volunteer corn remains high on many minds this spring and one of the biggest questions is how much of those corn seed will germinate this spring. In an effort to learn more about the challenge we’re facing, Bob Hartzler collected soil and corn ears from the same fields he collected from last...

Crop Production, Weeds
March 22, 2021 4:04 PM

In addition to conducting regular spring maintenance on your planter, which we outlined in a recent post, it’s important to adjust the settings and perform...

Equipment and Machinery
March 22, 2021 2:44 PM

Levi Powell with ISU Digital Ag walks through calculating and setting downforce for your planter and how downforce affects your performance in the field.

Equipment and Machinery
March 19, 2021 9:55 AM

Prices for soil fertility inputs have increased greatly in recent months. The bi-weekly “Iowa Production Cost Report” showed a 51% cost increase in anhydrous, a 31% increase for urea, 56% higher...

Soil Fertility
March 19, 2021 9:48 AM

With a long winter coming to an end, our focus now turns to planter setup. While we often focus on new equipment and updates to our planters, knowledge of the basic function of the planter and the role each part of the planter plays in seeding depth and spacing, as well as upkeep of these parts...

Equipment and Machinery
March 18, 2021 9:49 AM

If you grow specialty crops in Iowa or another North Central state, please help us with a study to:

  • assess frequency, severity, and other details of herbicide drift damage.
  • measure related farmer...
Weeds
March 11, 2021 6:18 PM

With spring temperatures arriving in Iowa, grain producers should pay extra attention to the condition of the grain in their bins.

Cold winter temperatures keep mold and insect activity low in stored grain. Rising spring temperatures can trigger spoiling of grain that is...

Grain Handling and Storage

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