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 25, 2021 10:02 AM

While the rain may have limited fieldwork across the state this past week, it was much welcomed in many areas that have been on the drier side. Most of the corn and soybeans that have been planted are now emerged. Two of the more common issues seen in fields this past week included alfalfa...

Crop Production
May 24, 2021 2:43 PM

Sandy to clay soils have different hydrological properties such as wilting point, field capacity, and saturation level (Fig 1a). Wilting point means no water is available to plants, field capacity means near optimum moisture for plant growth, and saturation means the soil pores are full of water...

Crop Production
May 24, 2021 1:55 PM

The Forecast and Assessment of Cropping sysTemS (FACTS) webpage is evolving. When it was launched in 2015, FACTS provided forecasts soil moisture, nitrogen, phenology, and crop yields at two Iowa locations. In 2016, it was expanded to six Iowa...

Crop Production
May 20, 2021 1:49 PM

Western and northern corn rootworms are serious corn pests in Iowa and the Corn Belt, primarily due to their feeding habits but also because they can overcome nearly all management tactics available to farmers. The larvae tunnel into and consume corn roots, thereby reducing nutrient and water...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 20, 2021 11:59 AM

Reported captures for both species in the trapping network were down from previous weeks. During Week 7 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, our cooperators reported 60 total black cutworm (BCW) and 22 true armyworm (TAW) moths.

Week 7 report:

The TAW moths...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 18, 2021 3:05 PM

Planting is starting to wrap up around the state for both corn and soybeans, and according to the May 17 NASS-USDA Crop Progress Report, 94% of the corn...

Crop Production
May 17, 2021 3:26 PM

As planting wraps up and crops begin to emerge across the state, data collected during planting can help you diagnose many issues in your field and determine if they were related to machine performance or agronomic factors. In this video, Program Specialist Levi Powell shows how to use spatially...

Equipment and Machinery
May 12, 2021 2:33 PM

The 2021 cropping year will be remembered for a long time as an unusual year in many respects. Corn and soybean growth are off like a turtle race in many locations this season. So, we may be driving around, doing some road scouting, and asking ourselves why this is taking so long. After all, the...

Crop Production
May 12, 2021 2:03 PM

Black cutworm remains the dominant moth species captured by cooperators in our trapping network. During Week 6 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, our cooperators reported 73 total black cutworm (BCW) and 34 true armyworm (TAW) moths.

Week 6 report:

The TAW moths...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 11, 2021 10:34 PM

This past week brought some much needed and welcomed rain across the state. Planting is getting on the downhill slide with corn planting about 86% complete and soybean planting about 67% complete across the state according to the...

Crop Production
May 11, 2021 7:46 PM

The May 10 USDA-NASS Iowa Crop Progress Report showed 86% of the Iowa corn crop is planted and 22% is emerged; soybeans are 67% planted and 6% emerged....

Crop Production
May 11, 2021 1:03 PM

I am always surprised to find insect abundance and diversity when scouting in alfalfa. It never disappoints. At any point in the growing season, one is likely to find 20+ species of potential pests feeding on foliage. However, finding a lot of different insects at one time doesn’t necessarily...

Insects and Mites
May 10, 2021 2:06 PM

Planting conditions in April were pretty good for planting. In fact, there were many reports of planting in early April. Unfortunately, April was much cooler and dryer than normal. Early planted corn and soybean took longer to germinate and emerge because of these cooler conditions. Additionally...

Crop Production
May 6, 2021 1:43 PM

The weather warmed up a bit during Week 5 (April 25 to May 1), and the moths were flying more than previous weeks. During Week 5 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, our cooperators reported 97 total black cutworm (BCW) and 33 true armyworm (TAW) moths.

Week 5 report:...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 4, 2021 3:07 PM

A lot of planting progress was made for both corn and soybeans over the last week. According to the May 3 USDA-NASS Crop Progress Report, approximately...

Crop Production
April 29, 2021 3:10 PM

Cooler conditions continued into week 4, resulting in relatively few moths being caught across the state. During week 4 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network (April 18 to April 24), our cooperators reported 56 total black cutworm (BCW) and 15 true armyworm (TAW) moths.

You may be wondering...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 29, 2021 1:58 PM

Soybean research and Extension specialists from land-grant universities across the country welcome you to join a monthly informal discussion on production topics that have timely relevance. By joining the Notes from the Field webinar series, you will get highlights and current issues from across...

Crop Production
April 28, 2021 2:38 PM

Just last week, Ashley Dean predicted overwintering mortality of bean leaf beetle in Iowa. It looked pretty grim for this soybean pest, with over 77% mortality predicted for central...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 28, 2021 10:06 AM

Like in prior springs, we often see a trend in the weed identification questions in certain parts of the state. This spring, a small mustard species with finely-divided (I like to say frilly or lacy) leaves is the most frequent plant requiring identification by our clients. There are several...

April 27, 2021 9:38 AM

It’s been an unusual spring with the cooler and drier conditions. While many would welcome a rain, the warmer conditions mean planting has gotten underway. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists share reports on what they are seeing and hearing in their respected regions...

Crop Production
April 27, 2021 8:29 AM

While the warm weather has finally arrived for planting season, dry soil is becoming an increasing concern in parts of the state. In addition to concerns about subsoil moisture, some fields have had significant surface drying, particularly in areas with more tillage this spring. Dry soil...

Crop Production
April 26, 2021 12:02 PM

During week 3 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network (April 11 to April 17), our cooperators reported 62 total black cutworm (BCW) and 9 true armyworm (TAW) moths. Cooler conditions recently may have slowed down moth migration into the state, but black cutworm remains the dominant species caught in...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 22, 2021 3:03 PM

The optimum rate of Nitrogen fertilizer application on corn varies from year to year and from field to field. Here we provide simulation data to aid decision making.

We simulated 25,000 fields across the U.S. Corn Belt from 1984 to 2021 using the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator...

Crop Production
April 22, 2021 2:42 PM

The concern for not having enough water during the 2021 growing season is increasing. Observations from Iowa fields (i.e., deep soil samples and tile drainage experiments), and analytical frameworks (i.e., Drought monitor) indicate below normal moisture in parts of Iowa. Here, we benchmark the...

Crop Production
April 21, 2021 10:10 PM

Subsoil moisture levels have improved for 2021 crop production.

Iowa State University has completed their spring survey of subsoil moisture in northwest Iowa, says Paul Kassel, ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist located in Spencer.  The amount of subsoil moisture is sampled in...

Crop Production