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.

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
August 3, 2020 8:17 AM

ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists, Meaghan Anderson and Angie Rieck-Hinz, recently partnered with their extension colleagues at the University of Minnesota to organize and deliver the second webinar series, Essential Row Crop...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases
July 29, 2020 9:20 PM

Over the last two weeks I have received a few calls related to identifying a “new form of waterhemp” in Southwest Iowa. In reality, we do not have a new form of waterhemp, but a condition referred to as ‘fasciation’ (Figure 1). While this can occur in many plant species, plants like cacti and...

July 29, 2020 8:20 AM

While the drought concerns and drought impacts on row crops and forage crops seems to be the big issue especially in western Iowa, other common issues or questions reported by ISU Extension field agronomists this past week included corn rootworm activity, earworm feeding, Japanese beetles...

Crop Production
July 27, 2020 6:12 PM

Growing up on his family’s farm, Steve Schomberg learned the importance of environmentalism by his father. Conservation and sustainability remained central to Steve’s life while he worked at the University of Illinois, which is where he first learned about miscanthus and its use as a biomass...

Crop Production
July 27, 2020 11:22 AM

One option to consider in fields with severe storm damage with no or limited yield potential is annual forages. This option may especially be of interest to livestock producers who could utilize the forage or may be short on forage or feed as a result of the storm damage. The following...

Crop Production
July 26, 2020 8:37 AM

 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Pocahontas and Sac county will hold meetings to discuss the effects of the current drought on crops and livestock.


The Sac county meeting will be held on Thursday August 6 at the Sac County Fairgrounds 4-H Building at 416 Park...

Crop Production
July 24, 2020 2:08 PM

Low rainfall and high temperatures recently have caused some drought stress on local crops this summer. This is not wholly unexpected and there are some strategies crop producers can do to minimize the damage.

Higher nighttime temperatures cause plants to have higher nighttime respiration...

Crop Production
July 24, 2020 10:53 AM

Crop scouts and field researchers now have a new tool at their disposal to help correctly estimate disease severity and insect defoliation in field crops. The new online tool has been created by the Crop Protection Network and can be...

Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases
July 21, 2020 9:16 PM

While parts of southern Iowa did receive some much needed rain, the western part of the state continues to be dry with parts considered to be in a D2 or severe drought. Besides the weather concerns, other common...

Crop Production
July 18, 2020 11:30 AM

With several severe weather events in Iowa this month, reports of lodged corn are coming our way. Often times, a small part of the field is flattened and would be difficult to see from the edge. I encourage you to get out into cornfields and see how your stands look this month. In some cases,...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 16, 2020 10:49 AM

I was recently asked about an alien-looking caterpillar from central Nebraska. I occasionally see silver-spotted caterpillars in Iowa and wondered if you were seeing any in soybean?

The caterpillars are definitely a unique species because of the body coloration! The bodies are yellow-...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 15, 2020 7:15 AM

While the western part of the state continues to be on the dry side, parts of central and eastern Iowa got hit with some storms this past week resulting in wind and hail damage. Besides the dry conditions and storm damage, herbicide injury in soybeans, gray leaf spot, potato leafhoppers, and low...

Crop Production
July 14, 2020 8:38 AM

Hailstones damaged corn and soybean in multiple locations across Iowa on July 11, 2020.  Fungicide use after hail injury is sometimes suggested as a way to benefit damaged plants. In order to help determine if fungicide use after hail is beneficial, Iowa State University undertook multiple years...

Crop Production, Plant Diseases
July 13, 2020 2:19 PM

The storms that moved across Iowa late last week and over the weekend brought rainfall, but they also brought some strong winds and hail. For those folks dealing with wind or hail damage, the first step should be to communicate with your crop insurance agent. Additionally, below are some...

Crop Production
July 13, 2020 1:24 PM

In 2018 and 2019, research was conducted on a relay intercropping and double cropping systems to evaluate as a possible alternative to Iowa’s traditional corn-soybean or continuous corn cropping system.

There were 2 sites; one near Kalona and another near Ames, Iowa, to study these...

Crop Production
July 10, 2020 2:55 PM

Each year, decisions on planting date and cultivar selection are the major deciding factors on yield potential. Under current, year-to-year variable weather patterns and future climate change these decisions have become much more important. And there is a known knowledge gap on how future...

Crop Production
July 9, 2020 2:40 PM

For a couple of years, some Iowa farmers have noticed lower yields along the southern and/or western edges of their fields. The low yields along the border tend to be prevalent when soybean, hay, or pasture are growing adjacently to the field on the southern or western edge. This phenomenon...

Crop Production
July 8, 2020 11:21 AM

Now is the time when decisions to apply a foliar fungicide in soybeans are being made. As you are making that decision, this is a quick reminder that fungicide resistance, particularly to the quinone outside inhibitor (QoI) fungicides (FRAC Code 11), has been found to be widespread in Iowa in...

Plant Diseases
July 8, 2020 10:23 AM

Since July 1 high humidity and temperatures have been scorching Iowa. Okay, maybe that is a little extreme. June has led to dry conditions across much of central and southwest Iowa. Heat and dry weather are not desired weather conditions in the 2 weeks before or after pollination. This four-week...

Crop Production
July 8, 2020 7:00 AM

There is no question that dicamba injury across the Iowa landscape in 2020 is the most extensive it has been since the introduction of dicamba in the 1960s. ISUEO field agronomists and commercial agronomists in several areas of the state report nearly all non-dicamba resistant soybean are...