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.

July 14, 2021 10:48 AM

The drier parts of the state finally received some much-needed rainfall, and unfortunately parts of southern Iowa that are pretty well saturated also received some more rain this past week. Herbicide injury in soybeans,...

Crop Production
July 11, 2021 10:33 AM

A common sight across the state this summer has been yellow or white patches of soybean in otherwise green fields. This ICM Blog will review several possible causes of yellow soybean and provide resources regarding each phenomenon.


Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC)...

Crop Production, Soils, Soil Fertility
July 7, 2021 1:20 PM

Herbicide drift, fungicide decisions, and iron deficiency chlorosis were common questions or issues received and/or observed by ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists this past week. Read on to see what's happening in different regions across the state.

North Central Iowa...

Crop Production
July 7, 2021 9:50 AM

Soybean research and Extension specialists from land-grant universities across the country welcome you to join the next monthly informal discussion on crop production topics that are timely and relevant. When you join the Notes from the Field webinar series, you will get highlights and current...

Crop Production
June 29, 2021 10:35 PM

While some much-needed rain did come this past week it seems that the drier areas continue to miss out or get minimal rainfall and the wetter parts of the state keep getting wetter. The rain also brought some hail, which caused some pretty significant damage not just to crops but property as...

Crop Production
June 29, 2021 2:12 PM

Despite the cooler conditions and precipitation (in some parts of Iowa) last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor categorizes most of Iowa in moderate to severe drought. As we approach tasseling, more and more questions around fungicides are being asked. 


All diseases managed by...

Plant Diseases
June 29, 2021 7:25 AM

I’ve had a lot of questions about soybean gall midge over the winter and in the last few weeks. Most fields have plants with 4-7 trifoliates and I’ve even seen some flowers! If you are connected with the Soybean Gall Midge Alert Network, you know...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 28, 2021 10:04 AM

The mass of water in corn follows a seasonal cycle. During the vegetative stages, corn is around 80% water. Corn water mass quickly accumulates during the vegetative stages. Maximum water mass occurs around 1830 Fahrenheit GDD after planting for many Iowa corn cultivars, aligning with the end of...

Crop Production
June 22, 2021 2:39 PM

The hot and dry conditions last week resulted in many fields showing signs of stress. Thankfully, a much-needed rain fell across a good part of the state late last week and on Sunday evening. Unfortunately, most of NW Iowa seemed to miss out on the rain. With the much-needed rain, there was also...

Crop Production
June 21, 2021 9:10 PM

While some areas received some much need precipitation later last week and over the weekend, there was some hail that came with it. Some fields have pretty minor hail damage and other fields had some pretty significant hail damage.


Crop Production
June 18, 2021 4:42 PM

Today, our lab crew went to the Johnson Farm south of Ames, Iowa to evaluate a bean leaf beetle study. To our surprise, we found many V4-V6 plants with established soybean aphid colonies (Photo 1). It is not uncommon to find sporadic soybean aphids in June, but it is surprising to find a colony...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 15, 2021 12:11 PM

While some areas did receive some much-needed rainfall across the state, most areas received very little to no rainfall this past week. Consequently, it wasn’t hard to see lot of corn fields with leaves rolling this past week across the state. Lots of POST herbicide applications, sidedressing,...

Crop Production
June 14, 2021 2:25 PM

Over the last 5 days, I’ve been asked numerous times about a small butterfly roaming the gravel roads and wooded areas around Iowa. It’s a fast, skittish insect and tracking down a good photo has been really tough. They are described by entomologists as mercurial, or subject to sudden and...

Insects and Mites
June 14, 2021 12:56 PM

The following is a view of the moisture status for six locations in northwest Iowa where the soil was analyzed for spring subsoil moisture.  This discussion may or may not reflect the current soil moisture conditions in your area.  This article does attempt to account for stored soil moisture,...

Crop Production
June 14, 2021 12:32 PM

Across most of Iowa, corn is near V6 stage and much of Iowa is under some degree of drought stress. The exception being extreme southeast Iowa. Being at V6 stage means corn ear initiation is occurring and in the coming week the number of kernel rows on the ear will be determined. This is the...

Crop Production
June 14, 2021 11:36 AM

Micronutrients for soybean production, soybean cyst nematode management and white mold of soybean will highlight the summer field day at the Iowa State University Northern Research and Demonstration Farm near Kanawha.

The North Central Iowa Research Association will also announce a...

Crop Production
June 10, 2021 1:56 PM

For the second year in a row, we’ve been hearing multiple reports of fields with high grub activity in central Iowa, particularly between Ames and Ankeny. Typically, people were called out to the field for other reasons but found grubs once they started digging. In fact, a field I visited last...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 10, 2021 1:36 PM

Most people are already finished with their first cutting of alfalfa throughout Iowa, but each of our 10 field agronomists reports that alfalfa weevil activity continues and has been much...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 9, 2021 9:12 PM

Most herbicide labels caution against applications made under environmental stress such as prevailing hot and dry conditions in Iowa this year. This is because of increased risk of crop injury and/or decreased weed control. Weeds growing under hot, dry conditions are often difficult to control...

June 8, 2021 10:26 PM

This past week brought a range of field activities from replanting and POST herbicide applications to putting up hay and sidedressing nitrogen. Herbicide injury and carryover, dry conditions, yellow corn, and alfalfa weevils have been some of the more common issues ISU Extension field...

Crop Production
June 8, 2021 3:36 PM

With technology advancing all the time, it’s hard to resist the appeal of new equipment. However, there are many upgrades available that can be added to your existing planter to achieve speed and efficiency next planting season. When we talk about upgrades to your planter system, there are three...

Equipment and Machinery
June 8, 2021 11:26 AM

As we continue the postemerge herbicide applications for corn and begin this process for soybeans, it’s important to be on the lookout for temperature inversions, Photo 1.  This blog will discuss what temperature inversions are, why they can be dangerous for pesticide applications, and how to...

Pesticide Education
June 8, 2021 8:51 AM

The dry conditions are causing some to see what is known as “floppy” corn (aka rootless corn). Rootless corn is easy to diagnose – simply dig up plants that are not standing erect like they should be, then gently knock off the soil to get a look at the roots. With rootless corn you will see the...

Crop Production
June 3, 2021 11:16 AM

The trapping season for true armyworm (TAW) and black cutworm (BCW) has come to an end. We appreciate our cooperators for tirelessly checking traps the last two months and reporting their captures so we can provide the most accurate scouting information for these pests. To recap, we had 32...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 2, 2021 4:56 PM

Frost damage, uneven corn, yellow looking crops, and volunteer corn becoming more prevalent were some of the more common issues observed in fields this past week. Read on for more specifics about what ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are hearing and seeing across the state.


Crop Production