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.

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
June 2, 2021 3:46 PM

The use of aerial imagery in production agriculture has continued to grow and evolve over the last several years since its debut on the market. With significant changes in how imagery is captured and processed and the quality of images available, there are now many applications for this...

Equipment and Machinery
June 2, 2021 1:25 PM

For those worried about the need for additional N this spring, one method in determining if additional N is needed is by doing the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test (LSNT). This test measures the nitrate-N concentration in the top foot of soil. The measured N is a combination of nitrate residual...

Soil Fertility
June 1, 2021 2:38 PM

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 1, 2021 1:31 PM

The first ‘official’ finding of Palmer amaranth in Iowa was August 2013 in Harrison County. Shortly thereafter the weed was identified in Muscatine, Fremont and Page County. These infestations were likely due to Palmer amaranth seed being transported on equipment/trucks involved in crop...

June 1, 2021 10:51 AM

Frost injury occurred Saturday May 29 across much of the area.  Radiational frost occurs when leaf temperatures actually reach lower temperatures than nearby recorded air temperatures.


Frost has occurred

            - along field edges - especially corn...

Crop Production
May 31, 2021 10:43 PM

Carbon markets and weed management strategies in soybeans will be the featured topics at an upcoming Agronomy Workshop and Crop Advisor Training being offered from 8 AM to noon on June 16 at the Southeast Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm located near Crawfordsville.


Crop Production
May 26, 2021 12:17 PM

For the first time during the 2021 moth trapping season, more total true armyworm moths were reported than black cutworm moths. During Week 8 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network, our cooperators reported 109 total black cutworm (BCW) and 128 true armyworm (TAW) moths.

Week 8 report...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
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