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 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
April 21, 2021 7:50 AM

The Crop Protection Network (CPN) has produced a new web book called Fungicide Use in Field Crops. Fungicides are an important crop protection tool for modern...

Pesticide Education, Plant Diseases
April 19, 2021 11:10 AM

The 2021 Virtual Crop Scout School is now available and is free to the general public. The scout school consists of 22 webinars from crop protection specialists at eleven Midwest...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases, Soils, Soil Fertility, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
April 19, 2021 10:12 AM

It’s hard not to be itching to get in the field and start planting, especially since we are past the April 11th crop insurance date for planting. However, the optimum planting date is dictated by soil conditions (moisture and temperature), the weather forecast, and the calendar date...

Crop Production
April 16, 2021 11:07 AM

With cool weather conditions potentially causing delays in cover crop termination, what options are available? Cereal rye ahead of soybean is not nearly as problematic. While planting green may not be advised for beginning cover crop users, more experienced cover crop users have...

Crop Production
April 15, 2021 3:57 PM

Recent research showing the benefits of sulfur application to corn in Iowa have many folks asking questions about ammonium thiosulfate or ATS. ATS and ammonium sulfate (AMS) contain both nitrogen and sulfur, however in different amounts. AMS also differs from ATS in that all the sulfur in AMS is...

Soil Fertility
April 15, 2021 9:24 AM

While it seems like most alfalfa fields are greening up quite nicely this spring, there have been a few reports of winter injury in alfalfa stands, especially if stands or parts of stands may have been covered by sheets of ice during the winter.

Take some time now to evaluate stands for...

Crop Production
April 14, 2021 4:32 PM

Even though the weather has been variable this past week, one thing is certain: black cutworm is moving through Iowa. During week 2 of the Iowa Moth Trapping Network (April 4 to April 10), our cooperators reported 122 total black cutworm (BCW) and 21 true armyworm (TAW) moths. Windy conditions...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 13, 2021 11:43 AM

Does the recent increase in nitrogen (N) cost and the increase in corn grain price warrant a change in nitrogen rates in 2021?  The following discussion gives an overview of the current N cost and corn price situation

New crop corn for delivery during the fall of 2021 was $4.05 per bushel...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 2:55 PM

Choosing a corn seeding rate is as much art as it is science because soil conditions and seed quality can greatly affect the outcome. The goal is to choose a seeding rate that produces an economical optimal yield as opposed to the maximum yield. A seeding rate has to factor in seed quality,...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 12:21 PM

The final April climatological outlooks issued by the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) show elevated chances of warmer than average temperatures. On the precipitation front, there is no clear signal for Iowa, as outlooks continues to show a moderate La Niña configuration with above average...

Crop Production
April 9, 2021 10:10 AM

The following are a few thoughts on nitrogen (N) management for the 2021 growing season.  Many fertilizer decisions have already been made - however a quick review of N plans is in order. However, the recent increase in corn grain prices and in-season cost of nitrogen fertilizer may warrant of...

Crop Production
April 8, 2021 11:02 AM

The 2021 moth trapping season is underway, and our volunteers placed traps the week of March 28. Black cutworm (BCW) monitoring is a long-standing project in Iowa, and true armyworm (TAW) was added in 2017. Both of these pests are migratory, making it difficult to predict where populations will...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 7, 2021 6:26 AM

As the weather turns warmer and the days grow longer, many of us are thinking about getting equipment like sprayers ready for the spring. Beyond making sure the machine is mechanically sound and fit for spring (which...

Equipment and Machinery
April 6, 2021 11:06 AM

As it has started to warm up, folks are ready to implement early-spring weed management programs, especially in fields with infestations of winter annuals like field pennycress and marestail (horseweed). Spring burndown (preplant) herbicide programs should target winter annual plants at the...

April 6, 2021 8:30 AM

As more producers integrate cover crops into their operation, there has been increased interest in planting corn into a green or living cover crop, such as cereal rye, and terminating the cover crop after planting.

To help provide some insight into how “planting green” might affect corn...

Plant Diseases
April 6, 2021 6:26 AM

Program Specialist Levi Powell with ISU Digital Ag explains a quick tutorial for checking the closing wheel alignment of your planter in the shop before heading to the field.

Equipment and Machinery
April 5, 2021 6:26 AM

ISU Digital Ag Program Specialist Levi Powell explains a simple process for checking planter depth settings in the shop to increase machine accuracy before you head to the field.

Equipment and Machinery
April 2, 2021 2:02 PM

Occasionally, corn planted after a cereal rye cover crop may have reduced yields. Proposed reasons for this yield decline include allelopathy, seedling disease, nitrogen immobilization and poor planter performance. In our lab, we are interested in understanding how seedling disease and...

Crop Production
April 2, 2021 1:30 PM

The recent dry conditions across the state, carried through from the 2020 growing season, has created an environment in which field fires are of concern this spring if current conditions continue to persist.  Strong winds can increase problems by acting as a catalyst, drying crop residue,...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery, Soil Fertility
April 1, 2021 1:17 PM

Spring planting season may come with added challenges as growers continue to deal with the effects of last August’s derecho event. Many fields through central Iowa were riddled with downed corn, and while some fields were able to be partially harvested, others were damaged so severely that...

Crop Production
April 1, 2021 11:35 AM

The nice weather and dry conditions have led some to think about the start of planting. My opinion, it is too early. Remember crop insurance replant dates are not until April 11. Use the extra days to get plans in order and a little rest and relaxation before the pace picks up.


Crop Production
March 26, 2021 12:55 PM

Volunteer corn remains high on many minds this spring and one of the biggest questions is how much of those corn seed will germinate this spring. In an effort to learn more about the challenge we’re facing, Bob Hartzler collected soil and corn ears from the same fields he collected from last...

Crop Production, Weeds