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.

April 17, 2024 11:54 AM

Timing is crucial for spring planting. Planting too early can expose young stands to damaging frost, while planting too late can lead to greater potato leaf hopper and weed pressures.  Establishing a vigorous alfalfa stand is pivotal for future production, forage quality, and minimizing weed...

Crop Production
April 16, 2024 3:55 PM

On May 16th, we will be hosting a Field Crop Scout School at the...

Crop Production
April 16, 2024 8:57 AM

Given the dry conditions that prevailed Iowa in 2023, there will be herbicide carryover in 2024. Suspect herbicides that are likely to carryover include, but are not limited to atrazine, clopyralid, and the various HPPD inhibitor herbicides. Specifically, the accuracy, evenness, and timing (i.e...

Crop Production, Weeds
April 12, 2024 9:27 AM

Iowa soils can hold 9-12 inches of water in the soil profile and most parts of Iowa have shallow water tables at about 4-7 feet depth. These two sources of water, together with the precipitation, provide water for crop production. Typically, a 250 bu/ac corn yield requires about...

Crop Production
April 11, 2024 1:51 PM

Planting, in my opinion, is THE most important field operation. Planting in the optimal planting window and into good seedbed conditions will set the plant up for rapid growth and high yield potential. With planters beginning to move or sitting in waiting for better...

Crop Production
April 11, 2024 12:10 PM

Key Points

  • El Nino transitioning to La Nina during this summer; increased risk of heat
  • Still need more moisture for streamflow recovery in many areas of the state, particularly southern and eastern parts of the state
  • Good chances for the planting season to be...
Crop Production, Soils
April 10, 2024 3:03 PM

I have been observing, and also receiving phone calls and e-mails about, purple weeds in untilled fields. If you observe such an area, the weeds are probably either purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) or henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) or a mixture of the two. They are very...

Crop Production, Weeds
April 10, 2024 1:10 PM

A few more farmers are switching to a high-speed planter when upgrading or trading planters.  A few reasons they report for switching to the high-speed planter include:

Equipment and Machinery
April 10, 2024 11:14 AM

The 2024 moth trapping season is underway, and our volunteers began placing traps the week of March 24. Black cutworm (BCW) monitoring is a long-standing project in Iowa to detect moths migrating from southern overwintering sites each spring. By monitoring adult black cutworms, we can provide...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 10, 2024 9:22 AM

read the labelIt is important to read and follow all label instructions before applying a pesticide to...

Pesticide Education
April 9, 2024 8:42 AM

Over the last 10 days, precipitation totals across the state have varied with less precipitation falling in the western and northern part of the state and heavier amounts falling in the east-central and southeast part of the state.


Crop Production
April 5, 2024 2:56 PM

With the announcements of water usage restrictions in parts of Iowa, pesticide applicators may need to use alternative water sources for their pesticide...

Crop Production, Pesticide Education, Weeds
April 4, 2024 3:18 PM

During the past 90 days, temperatures have been warmer than average, keeping soils from freezing and allowing much needed precipitation to infiltrate into the soil. Despite accumulated precipitation across the state being greater than average for the past 90 days, soil moisture is still lacking...

Crop Production
March 29, 2024 9:48 AM

AMES, Iowa – Planting season varies wildly from year to year and technology is always changing. Cool and wet conditions can dramatically delay planting. When soil conditions are remarkably dry, getting seed in the soil at the correct depth is a challenge. But just as each planting season is...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
March 28, 2024 9:59 AM

The 2024 crop season is quickly approaching so this article will help you prepare your GPS monitor for the planting season.  The ISU Extension and Outreach has a web-based guide that can be used either from a computer or smart phone using a web browser like Google Chrome.  This web-based...

Crop Production
March 25, 2024 10:17 AM

The spring planting season in Iowa is quickly approaching. Therefore, it is critical to prepare now and check a few items when starting each field. While it takes time to check these items, field research has shown that getting the correct gauge wheel pressure (downforce pressure) to help create...

Crop Production
March 22, 2024 12:46 PM

The spring planting season in Iowa will start soon, so it is time to make a list of items to check and get completed before we go to the field. As we all know, planting the seed at the right time, right seed depth, and acceptable soil conditions is critical to giving the crop the best starting...

Crop Production
March 22, 2024 9:52 AM

Alan Parnell is passionate about helping to educate farmers and the public about agricultural research.

The Oklahoma native spent more than 30 years as an ag educator for the Oklahoma State University Extension Service. In February, he accepted a position to lead Iowa State University...

Crop Production, Soils, Soil Fertility, Soil Management
March 12, 2024 10:50 AM

By Nabin K. Dangal, Edgar Nieto, Stith Wiggs, Jose Gonzalez-Acuna, and Daren S. Mueller.

Plant Diseases
March 12, 2024 10:24 AM

Recent court cases have brought changes to two pesticides with agricultural uses.

Chlorpyrifos legal for 2024

In late 2023, the Eighth Circuit court rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2021 Final Rule revoking all food tolerances for the organophosphate...

Crop Production, Pesticide Education
March 12, 2024 10:00 AM

It most certainly has been a strange winter with very little moisture. This fact, combined with a multi-year drought has people concerned for spring planting. Most farmers I have talked to this winter have shared concerns about not only the lack of precipitation, but the lack of soil moisture....

Crop Production, Soil Management
February 28, 2024 5:25 PM

High February temperatures have prompted many alfalfa fields across the state to initiate greening up over the past couple of weeks (Figure 1). However, temperatures then plummeted (9°F) earlier this week, likely resulting in the demise of the new growth. But the more pressing question is...

Crop Production
February 26, 2024 9:28 PM

You are invited to the Southeast Iowa Agricultural Research Association's annual meeting, on Thursday, March 7, at the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm, located at 3115 Louisa-Washington Rd, Crawfordsville.

The association, in partnership with Iowa State University, oversees the...

Crop Production
February 20, 2024 1:21 PM

This winter's erratic weather, swinging from -30°F wind chills to unseasonably warm highs in the 50s, has left many pondering whether to frost-seed or not to frost-seed. As the calendar inches towards mid-February, the dilemma intensifies, with some already contemplating drilling spring oats or...

Crop Production