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.

September 16, 2021 10:05 AM

Safety should always be at the forefront of your farming operations, and harvest is no different. When operating large equipment such as combines and grain carts, overhead power lines pose an increased risk to farm safety. An average of 62 people each year are electrocuted when their farm...

Equipment and Machinery
September 16, 2021 7:52 AM

I got invited to SERF (ISU Southeastern Research Farm) field day last week to highlight corn rootworm management. I was easily distracted when it wasn't my stop and started walking around soybean plots looking for insects. [this is a common occurrence with entomologists!] Soybean was in...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
September 15, 2021 9:50 AM

While the rains the end of August have helped to improve the dry conditions some across the state, the rains also brought along some strong winds and hail that caused some significant crop damage in parts of NE, EC, and SE...

Crop Production
September 14, 2021 7:14 AM

As the 2021 growing season comes to a close, what should you be thinking about in terms of corn disease and how that might impact your harvest plans?

Plant Diseases
September 9, 2021 11:34 AM

As harvest starts to ramp up across Iowa, many people will be evaluating their crop scouting activities from 2021 and starting to make plans for 2022. In a ...

Equipment and Machinery
September 7, 2021 3:30 PM

With harvest quickly approaching, it’s time to make sure your combine is prepped and ready for the field. This article published in fall of 2020 has some good tips for...

Crop Production
September 7, 2021 2:25 PM

Although I am retired, I still am passionate about weeds and decided to continue my Labor Day Tour of the first known infestations of Palmer amaranth in Iowa. I started this ‘survey’ in 2014, links to earlier reports are found at the end of this article. My efforts do not involve a systematic...

September 6, 2021 9:12 PM

Anytime after R3 (milk stage) has traditionally been a great time to do yield checks in corn. After R3, kernel abortion is less likely and plant stress will result in reduced kernel size or fill rather than kernel loss. In addition to performing a yield check, walking late reproductive corn...

Crop Production
September 1, 2021 9:47 AM

With the recent storms rolling through northern Iowa, many growers are experiencing field conditions similar to those seen across the state after the 2020 derecho. To help ensure a safe and productive harvest, we’ve rounded up some tips and information that were developed after the derecho last...

Crop Production
August 31, 2021 10:27 PM

Mark your calendars for our upcoming fall field days. Below is a list of the upcoming field days that will take place in early September and topics featured at each field day. All field days are free and open to the public. We hope you can join us!

Sept. 7, 2021 – Annual Forage...

Crop Production
August 24, 2021 10:38 PM

The drier and warm conditions have really pushed crops along across the state. In addition to the drought concerns and issues related to the drought, other common observations made in fields across the state include more sightings of tar spot, sudden death syndrome and/or brown stem rot in...

Crop Production
August 23, 2021 2:45 PM

As we enter the harvest season, we know we need to be looking forward to the next growing season at the same time. Having plans in place for your 2022 fertilization program before harvest starts is a good idea. Making these plans is tougher this year due to variable yields across the state due...

Soil Fertility
August 23, 2021 1:29 PM

Choosing the best crop variety to maximize yield and profitability while still staying within budget is vital to any farm, whether its 100 acres or 100,000. It is also a driving objective for plant breeders that develop these varieties for farmers.

Plant phenotyping is an important part...

Crop Production
August 20, 2021 8:10 AM

Historically, corn silage harvest starts within the next two weeks. However, harvest has started early in some droughty areas with light soils. Corn is a high yielding, high energy, low protein forage that is commonly used for growing and finishing beef cattle, in cow-calf production systems,...

Crop Production
August 19, 2021 7:56 AM

My lab has been driving all over western Iowa looking for soybean gall midge. They stop by 3-6 fields in each county and scout for larvae along field edges. This is part of a larger effort funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program to better understand the current distribution of this...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 17, 2021 12:40 PM

I have seen yellow patches in Iowa soybean fields this past week. Plants within these patches have foliar symptoms that appear to be caused by sudden death syndrome (Figure 1; SDS). When...

Plant Diseases
August 10, 2021 12:25 PM

With parts of northern Iowa now being in a D3 or extreme drought and other areas on the drought monitor expanding, the drier conditions are a concern with what impact they are having on the crops as well as forage...

Crop Production
August 9, 2021 8:25 AM

A new Aerial Application Manual (CS 26) is now available for individuals planning to take the aerial applicator exam to become certified or renew their certification. This manual will assist aerial applicators and aerial applicator consultants in preparing to take the commercial pesticide...

Pesticide Education
August 4, 2021 4:44 PM

The “I See Dead Plants” podcast, a new offering from the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, is now open to listeners interested in learning how plant science research impacts everyday life.

Crop management experts are interviewed to share findings about plant...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Pesticide Education, Plant Diseases, Weeds
August 4, 2021 10:05 AM

Corn rootworms, spider mites, soybean gall midge, and the hot and dry conditions were common questions or issues received or observed by ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists this past week. Read on for more specifics about what’s happening around the state.

Northwest Iowa...

Crop Production
July 28, 2021 11:05 AM

The hot and dry conditions this past week resulted in crops showing more signs of stress, especially in the drier parts of the state. Drought stress, spider mites, corn rootworms, and questions regarding fungicide applications were the big questions or issues observed by ISU Extension field...

Crop Production
July 22, 2021 12:40 PM

In October 2020, EPA approved five-year registrations (until 2025) for dicamba products including XtendiMax (Bayer), Engenia (BASF) and Tavium (Syngenta) for over-the-top use in Xtend and XtendFlex soybeans. These new dicamba product registrations included national cutoff dates (June 30 in most...

Crop Production, Weeds
July 21, 2021 4:37 PM

If you listen carefully, you can hear corn tassels rattling in the breeze, and occasionally the hum of a crop sprayer. 

This growing season started off exceptionally dry, apart from southeast Iowa. The moisture that arrived in July and hung around for a couple of weeks was welcomed by...

Plant Diseases
July 21, 2021 7:09 AM

Last week, a team of us met up at the Iowa State University Southeast Research Farm (SERF) to evaluate root injury in a small trial for corn rootworm management. The trial had four treatments replicated eight times. The treatments included no management (glyphosate-tolerant only; no Bt traits or...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 20, 2021 9:52 PM

Corn started pollinating within the last week, and soybeans range from full flowering (R2) to beginning pod (R2). The hot topics this past week across the state included foliar fungicide decisions, corn rootworms, and herbicide injury in soybeans. Read on for more specifics on what ISU Extension...

Crop Production