Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology, at Iowa State University in 2009. She is a 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

Daren Mueller is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Daren received 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. Daren’s main research interests involve understanding the biology and management of field crop diseases. Daren is also a co-director of the North Central IPM Center and the Crop Protection Network.

Dr. Alison Robertson is a 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 associate 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.

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 directs the North Central IPM Center.   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 in the broad areas of consumer horticulture, biological control, and invasive insect management.

Laura Jesse Iles

Dr. Sotirios Archontoulis is an assistant professor of integrated cropping systems at the Department of Agronomy. His main research interests involve understanding complex Genotype by Management by Environment interactions and modeling various components of the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Dr. Archontoulis's overall goal is to investigate practices that can increase the efficiency of system by means of increasing crop yields and simultaneously decreasing inputs or losses such as water and nitrogen. His approach combines field experimentation and use of mechanistic simulations models.

May 20, 2024 10:29 AM

Last week at our Field Crop Scout School one resource that we shared was a list of crop scouting related apps and web-based resources. There are a lot of apps and web-based resources out there that can be helpful when it comes to crop scouting.

Check out the list we complied below or...

Crop Production
May 16, 2024 9:39 AM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for public comment on Dicamba, Glufosinate-P, and Acephate.

New Use for Dicamba Product

Bayer CropScience has requested the EPA to register a new use of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton.


Pesticide Education
May 16, 2024 7:53 AM

You may have heard of a special entomological event happening this year. It’s true, a rare “double brood emergence” of periodical cicadas is happening in 2024. The last time this happened was in 1803 when Thomas Jefferson was the US president. Read on to learn more!

Brood XIII, called the...

Insects and Mites
May 15, 2024 9:57 AM

Week 6 (May 5 to May 11) brought fewer moths into Iowa than the previous week, but cooperators still recorded 135 black cutworm (BCW) moths around the state. Five significant flights occurred last week, adding to the numerous significant flights that have already occurred this season.

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 14, 2024 2:00 PM

Western and northern corn rootworms are serious corn pests in Iowa and the Corn Belt. These pests readily adapt to management tactics, especially in continuous corn production. The larvae consume corn roots, thereby reducing nutrient and water uptake, and cause stalk lodging. The adults may also...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 14, 2024 9:32 AM

Last week was another wet week with rainfall totals ranging from just over 0.5 inch to 2.5+ inches of rain across the state. Folks were finally able to get back in fields late last week and over the weekend to do tillage, plant, spray, and even get hay cut and baled or cover crops harvested for...

Crop Production
May 10, 2024 4:30 PM

Planting progress started off strong, but recent rain events across the state have brought it to a screeching halt. It seems like fields get just about fit to get back in them to plant and it rains again. According to the May 6th USDA Crop Progress Report, corn planting was at 47%...

Crop Production
May 10, 2024 8:31 AM

With all the alfalfa weevils, we’ve had quite a few questions on how do you know if a field is a threshold to take action? Or I’ve used my sweep net, what’s the threshold per sweep for alfalfa weevil?

First off, a sweep net can be a helpful tool to determine if alfalfa weevils are present...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 9, 2024 9:41 AM

With the quick planting that happened the week of April 22-26 and the lack of field activity since due to high winds and rain, some fields may have crops emerging that have had no preemergence herbicide. While some herbicides can be applied prior to or after crop emergence, many have...

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
May 9, 2024 9:30 AM

Estimating First Crop Alfalfa Harvest using PEAQ

Alfalfa growth and development is affected by many factors, including temperature, soil moisture, stand age and even cultivar. We have had a warmer and milder winter leading into spring, causing earlier alfalfa green-up and...

Crop Production
May 7, 2024 10:36 PM

Recent rain events have put a delay on much planting progress and other field activities across the state of Iowa. Planting considerations, alfalfa weevil, cover crop termination, and weed management have been some of the common questions or topics reported by ISU Extension and Outreach...

Crop Production
May 7, 2024 4:03 PM

Is it Time to Graze Your Pastures?

As spring rolls in, our cool-season pastures start showing signs of life and look more enticing than the muddy feeding areas. But before we let our livestock loose, it's crucial to assess whether pastures are truly ready.  While the...

Crop Production
May 7, 2024 3:53 PM

For the second year in a row, alfalfa weevil is the most prominent spring pest for farmers. Unprecedented populations south of I-80 have been reported in 2024 and are proving to be much more severe and widespread than in previous years. We are predicting northern Iowa counties to also experience...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 7, 2024 11:52 AM

Black cutworm moth captures spiked again during Week 5 (April 28 to May 4). A total of 182 BCW moths were reported by our cooperators during Week 5. The most moths were reported on April 29 (81 moths), but captures were scattered throughout the week. Six significant flights occurred last week,...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 7, 2024 10:01 AM

With technology playing such an integral part of our ability to effectively manage crop production, it makes sense that it also plays a key role in effective scouting. One of the simplest technologies (now, anyway) is taking a good picture to share with a trusted advisor, a farmer client, or...

Crop Production
May 6, 2024 5:24 PM

As pastures and hayfields begin to green-up, we need to start thinking about our fertilization program. Forages, just like row crops, need fertilizer to be productive.

We will quickly discuss fertilizer applications for your alfalfa and grass hay, and for your pastures.

In each...

Crop Production
May 6, 2024 2:14 PM

Rainy springs can keep many producers out of the crop fields for days at a time. This provides a great window of opportunity to get out into pastures, take a look at the current weed pressure, and begin implementing management tactics to get weeds under control.

Early spring weed control...

May 1, 2024 11:55 AM

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists have completed their spring survey of subsoil moisture in northwest Iowa.  Subsoil moisture is sampled in mid-April in the spring and early November in the fall across northwest Iowa each year.  The dates that the samples were...

Crop Production, Soils, Soil Management
May 1, 2024 9:46 AM

Last week (April 21 to April 27) had a few windy days that likely brought many moths into Iowa, but numbers were lower than Week 3. A total of 109 BCW moths were reported by our cooperators during Week 4. Most of those moths were reported between April 23 and April 25. Six significant flights...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 24, 2024 12:51 PM

Windy conditions last week (April 14 to April 20) brought a lot of black cutworm (BCW) moths into Iowa. A total of 157 BCW moths were reported by our cooperators during Week 3. April 17 had the most total moths reported (50 moths), but captures were consistent throughout the week. Ten...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 24, 2024 10:32 AM

I’ve been scouting several alfalfa fields in East-Central Iowa this spring, and it’s always interesting to see what you get in your sweep net. While I’ve been able to find quite a few alfalfa weevil adults and larvae in fields this spring, that’s not all I’ve found!

Alfalfa weevil...

Insects and Mites
April 23, 2024 10:57 AM

Recent rains, cooler temperatures, and the windier conditions have slowed field activities. According to the May 22 NASS Crop Progress Report, 13% of the...

Crop Production
April 23, 2024 7:00 AM

Proper spray nozzle selection plays a key role in effective pesticide applications. There are a lot of useful sprayer nozzle selection guides and even online resources or apps to assist with nozzle selection. 

One additional new resource applicators may find useful is a new Purdue...

Pesticide Education
April 19, 2024 8:41 AM

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is your first line of defense against pesticide exposure. PPE includes  items such as gloves, coveralls, aprons, and respirators. Generally, as the toxicity of a pesticide increases, the more PPE items there are required.

Read the Label

Pesticide Education
April 17, 2024 1:49 PM

Moth counts ramped up dramatically during Week 2 of the moth trapping network (April 7 to April 13), although we often get large flights with spring storm systems in April. Despite the low captures reported during the first official week, 70 total black cutworm (BCW) moths were reported last...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites