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.

October 23, 2020 8:44 AM

Farmers should always be mindful of the respiratory hazards and associated health concerns with exposure to dusts and molds during grain harvest and handling. This becomes especially important in a year like 2020 with the derecho windstorm, drought stress, and harvesting overly dry grain...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 20, 2020 12:30 PM

2020 corn harvest in Iowa is likely to include increased amounts of damaged grain from the drought, derecho, or excessively dry corn at harvest. As grain bins are filled, fines and broken or damaged kernels tend to accumulate near the center of the grain pile, while whole and higher quality...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 19, 2020 12:56 PM

Unusually warm weather in Iowa the second week of October led to rapid in-field drying of crops. Many farmers now find corn at 11 to 14 percent moisture content in the field. Excessively dry corn is more brittle and susceptible to mechanical damage during harvest. Dr. Charles Hurburgh notes that...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery, Grain Handling and Storage
October 14, 2020 9:00 PM

The early harvest this year has created opportunities to complete fall field work and manure applications much earlier than usual. However, applying manure before soils have cooled to below 50°F can be a costly decision. Pushing manure application to later in the fall or waiting until spring can...

Crop Production
October 14, 2020 9:53 AM

Grain damage from the August 10 derecho storm and drought is widespread in the state and highly variable. The following is a list of five tips or good practices that farmers should consider this fall for good grain management, especially when working with suboptimal quality grain. At the end of...

Equipment and Machinery, Grain Handling and Storage
October 13, 2020 7:43 PM

Recent warm weather was great for drying crops in the field, but resulted in warm grain going into farm storage. Cool that stored grain as soon as possible to extend storage life. Forecast temperatures for the next several days are favorable for cooling stored grain to around 45 degrees. 

Grain Handling and Storage
October 11, 2020 8:54 PM

While the weather is working in our favor this year for grain harvest, the crop is drying down quickly and mold and dust are prolific. Dust and mold cause significant respiratory issues that range in symptoms from minor discomfort to more serious illnesses. Protecting yourself from exposure to...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 8, 2020 4:58 PM

The Integrated Crop Management (ICM) conference and Crop Advantage Series programs have been mainstays of Extension agronomic programming for many years. It is regretful that because of the COVID pandemic, those programs will NOT be offered this coming December and January. We are offering a new...

Crop Production
October 7, 2020 1:03 PM

A concern for corn fields damaged by this year's Derecho is how best to manage volunteer corn in 2021. Our recommendation is to rotate to soybean or some other crop if at all possible since additional control options are available in soybean (...

October 2, 2020 9:47 AM

It is almost time, but not quite yet, that anhydrous ammonia (NH3) applications could begin (remember 50F and continued cooling 4-inch soil temperature, and the colder the better). However, some areas of Iowa have dry soils this fall. Can anhydrous ammonia be applied to...

Soil Fertility
September 29, 2020 3:11 PM

Prairie potholes?! What are they? Prairie potholes are low-lying, poorly drained soils that are prone to flooding. The...

Crop Production
September 25, 2020 9:26 AM

Farmers in Iowa are faced with some new challenges this harvest season after the derecho swept through the state in early August. In this video, Ben Covington and Dr. Matt Darr with ISU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering share their tips for harvesting downed corn this fall,...

Crop Production
September 23, 2020 10:57 PM

Many producers in central and east-central Iowa are facing severely damaged corn fields from the recent August 10th derecho. With poor quality grain not suitable for the general grain market or storage, and fields that are not mechanically harvestable, a producer might consider...

Crop Production
September 23, 2020 10:46 PM

Many producers in central and east-central Iowa are facing severely damaged corn fields from the recent August 10th derecho. With poor quality grain not suitable for the general grain market or storage, and fields that are not mechanically harvestable, a producer might consider...

Crop Production
September 23, 2020 3:00 PM

When heading into the field for harvest, it’s important to make sure your monitors, sensors and scales are getting accurate numbers. Taking the time to calibrate your combine yield monitor is the first step in making sure you are using high quality yield data to make decisions in your operation...

Equipment and Machinery
September 21, 2020 2:42 PM

August's derecho left many Iowans with unharvestable corn. For operations that left their corn in the field, decisions should be made to reduce the problem of volunteer corn next planting season. 

In this video, Field Agronomist Meaghan Anderson and Weed Specialist Bob...

September 21, 2020 1:31 PM

Help the CPN determine how to serve you best through this short survey.

The Crop Protection Network (CPN) develops tools to help farmers, ag industry, and...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Pesticide Education, Plant Diseases, Weeds
September 21, 2020 9:19 AM

Kathleen Delate, ISU, takes viewers on an organic field day visiting the ISU Neely-Kinyon Farm Organic Field Day 2020. Watch the video here:

Crop Production
September 18, 2020 11:06 AM

The challenges of this growing season continued this month when a storm front brought more than 3 inches of rain to much of the state. While the rainfall was welcome for pastures and cover crops, it added to the challenges in corn fields, especially those suffering from drought and the derecho....

Crop Production, Plant Diseases
September 18, 2020 8:58 AM

In addition to preparing the soil for planting, tillage can be an effective strategy for weed management. During a field trial, blue chalk was applied to the soil surface in areas where a tillage pass was made with a vertical tillage (VT) tool at a 3 degree, 5 degree and 9 degree gang angle...

Equipment and Machinery
September 17, 2020 9:24 AM

Adjustable vertical tillage (VT) tools can easily allow you to till your fields more or less aggressively depending on the tool’s gang angle setting. In this video, Dr. Matt Darr shows the impact different gang angle settings have just below the soil surface.

Equipment and Machinery
September 16, 2020 11:40 AM

While drought is still widespread, rainfall blanketed most of the state last week, providing some welcome relief to pastures, hay fields, newly-seeded cover crops, and later maturing soybeans. The rainfall caused some standability concerns with corn. Other issues noted by field agronomists ...

Crop Production
September 16, 2020 8:22 AM

Vertical tillage (VT) tools can be an effective way to maintain residue and prevent soil erosion while still preparing the soil for planting.  When you select a vertical tillage tool for your operation, consider these factors:

1. Types of blades

In areas with wet...

Equipment and Machinery
September 15, 2020 10:54 AM

After the derecho passed through Iowa in early August, many farmers have been left with unharvestable fields. These fields may require additional management to prepare the soil for another crop next season. In this video, Dr. Matt Darr reviews the results of four tillage options five days after...

Equipment and Machinery
September 10, 2020 5:19 PM

Managing residue and tillage this fall can be a challenge given the volume of residue due to downed corn by high winds and drought. There is a tendency to think about tillage as the first option in managing a high volume of crop residue. The impact of residue incorporation with tillage on soil...

Soil Management