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 10, 2020 3:17 PM

Safety should be a major concern for all farmers during harvest, but as the season goes on, it can be easy to miss details or neglect safe practices that can put you or others at risk. Here are six simple safety tips to maintain throughout the season to keep yourself and your crew out of harm’s...

Equipment and Machinery
September 10, 2020 2:58 PM

Before working in or around your combine, it’s important to go through proper shutdown and lockout/tagout procedures to ensure safety for yourself and those around you. Refer to this list for a reference on how to safely shutdown your machine, and use these practices every time you perform...

Equipment and Machinery
September 8, 2020 2:41 PM

Fall nitrogen (N) application for corn continues to be popular for several reasons, including lower product cost, time for application, equipment availability, suitable soil conditions, and competing springtime field activities. Success, relative to spring or sidedress timing, can be enhanced by...

Soil Fertility
September 8, 2020 10:22 AM

ISU Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently hosted a “five-stop” virtual field day series. This series featured a greeting by Dean Dan Robison, an administrative update on the farms, and four consecutive days featuring water quality research, fungicide...

Crop Production
September 7, 2020 8:19 AM

Harrison County: Ground zero for Palmer amaranth in Iowa is a 25 acre field that had a severe Palmer amaranth infestation when the weed was first identified in 2013.  Since then populations have consistently declined - this year I was unable to find any Palmer in the field,...

September 3, 2020 11:57 AM

Downed corn from the August 10 Derecho, which affected millions of acres in Iowa, will contribute to significant volunteer corn populations in crop fields in 2021. Volunteer corn ranging from 800 to 13,000 plants per acre can cause yield losses up to 54% in soybean and up to 13% in corn,...

September 2, 2020 10:29 PM

Drought continues to expand across the state, and August 2020 came in as one of the driest Augusts since 1893 across the state. Crops appear to be racing toward maturity, with several reports of both corn and soybean very near harvest-ready. While...

Crop Production
September 1, 2020 2:29 PM

Save money and time this fall by planning for no-till soybean planting next spring. Many farmers are moving away from tillage, due to a host of detrimental environmental factors involved with tillage as well as reducing cost of soybean production.

Soybean yields are not impacted by no-...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
September 1, 2020 8:38 AM

Following the derecho event on August 10, millions of acres in Iowa face challenging conditions. In many cases the corn may be unharvestable. These unharvestable fields require some level of fall management to ensure the future crop can achieve even emergence and normal early plant growth.

Crop Production
August 31, 2020 2:45 PM

The combination of drought, derecho and recent hot weather in Iowa increases the need to keep grain quality in check. As harvest nears, consider the following:

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
August 28, 2020 3:15 PM

Corn fields destroyed by the August 10, 2020 derecho will have different crop residue than normal after grain harvest. Things that will be different include early plant death (at varying reproductive growth stages), ears at various stages of grain fill, and whole plants instead of “loose” stalks...

Soil Fertility
August 27, 2020 8:07 AM

Dear regulators,

I assume you are evaluating data and reviewing information that will guide your decision regarding the re-registration of dicamba for use in dicamba-resistant (DR) crops. As you know, farmers have a critical need for additional tools to help manage herbicide-resistant...

August 26, 2020 3:45 PM

Rainfall still eludes most of the state of Iowa, and drought has continued to envelope the state, with the driest areas expanding from the west central part of the state. Crops continue to go downhill in the...

Crop Production
August 25, 2020 6:09 PM

Chopping silage during rapid drying conditions always bring up the question of “How much water do I add?” The short answer: It is practically impossible to add enough to get to your desired moisture level. 

To add one point of moisture for each ton of silage you would need to add seven...

Crop Production
August 25, 2020 8:23 AM

Fall Management Options for Corn Fields That Are Unharvestable

Millions of corn acres have been damaged by the derecho on August 10. Unfortunately for some of these acres, harvest will not take place. Decisions regarding fall management options will need to be made in the...

Crop Production
August 21, 2020 2:55 PM

The unprecedented August 10 derecho storm event has caused significant damage to Iowa corn fields. If it’s decided to proceed with harvesting the field for grain, several operational changes may increase performance and productivity of the combine.

Equipment and Machinery
August 21, 2020 9:44 AM

The range of soybean gall midge has expanded in 2020. There are three new counties in Iowa (Osceola, Dickinson, and Calhoun) for a total of 29. So far, 108 total counties are confirmed in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Likely more counties have soybean gall midge but...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 20, 2020 10:18 AM

While much of the damage from this month’s derecho is due to strong hurricane-force winds, isolated pockets of hail affected crops also, particularly in parts of Carroll, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Boone, and Story counties.  When addressing any crop damage, contact your crop insurance provider...

Crop Production
August 17, 2020 7:34 AM

Wind and storm damaged soybean have been reported across Iowa, creating yet another stress for farmers this growing season. Certain fungicide products are marketed as being capable of reducing stress in crops, so should they be sprayed on soybean this late in the season?  


Plant Diseases
August 14, 2020 7:07 AM

Caterpillars have been extremely active this year, especially in soybean. We suspect that late-season infestations of caterpillars in corn are no exception. These infestations are serious because these caterpillars feed on the ear and/or tunnel into stalks. Their feeding can also lead to...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 13, 2020 11:02 AM

When steel grain bins sustain wind damage, careful inspection is needed to evaluate repair or replacement options. Inspection assistance and advice from a consulting engineer or bin manufacturer representative is the best option.

When damage is confined to the roof, sidewall sheets, or...

Grain Handling and Storage
August 12, 2020 8:06 PM

Monday’s derecho event took a toll on crops across Iowa. Satellite imagery shows millions of acres of Iowa crops impacted by the high wind events. As growers dig out from the destruction left after the storm, decisions regarding how to manage the impacted crop will be front and center.


Crop Production
August 12, 2020 12:32 AM

While some rainfall has come to the droughty areas of the state, drought intensified to D3 (extreme) drought in parts of central and west central Iowa. Unfortunately, a large swath of the state is now facing...

Crop Production
August 4, 2020 10:58 PM

Drought conditions persist in western Iowa and have expanded further into central and north central Iowa this week. Common issues reported by ISU Extension field agronomists this past week included poor grain fill and fast reproductive development in corn, increasing disease pressure in some...

Crop Production
August 3, 2020 8:08 PM

In the interview, “A Farmer’s Journey with Miscanthus: Part 1,” we learned about Steve Schomberg and his involvement with growing miscanthus for the University of Iowa power plant. Steve has also been working with Koch Angus Farms, a cattle production farm near Letts, Iowa for the last four...

Crop Production