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 27, 2022 9:08 AM

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...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
September 20, 2022 9:00 AM

All it takes to start a fire is just a spark from an engine, an overheated bearing on a combine, or a hot exhaust manifold where some dirt and dry plant material have gathered. Dry plant residue, dusty conditions, low humidity levels and strong winds are a recipe for combine and field fires....

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
September 19, 2022 9:22 AM

It’s hard to believe another growing season has come and is almost gone. 2022 has had its share of challenges: a wet start, drought, corn root worm, soybean gall midge, pigweed, and (my favorite) tar spot. And now, as we approach harvest, we face final challenges like ear and crown rot.


Plant Diseases
September 13, 2022 1:54 PM

As the growing season winds down, ISU Extension field agronomists share what they are seeing out in fields or are getting questions on. Some of the common observations include the drought stress resulting in crops shutting down early, tar spot becoming more prevalent in fields, sudden death...

Crop Production
September 9, 2022 8:19 AM

Again this August, I joined my colleague Patrick Hatting, Farm Management Specialist for central Iowa, and checked several Polk County corn fields to make yield estimates. After R3 (milk stage) is a great time to venture...

Crop Production
September 6, 2022 4:15 PM

Before the rush of harvest gets here, take some time to get your grain bins ready for a new crop. The first step in minimizing grain spoilage from insects is to start with a clean bin. Grain-feeding pests can survive on residual grain, broken kernels, fines, foreign material, and molds...

Grain Handling and Storage, Insects and Mites
August 26, 2022 7:30 AM

As we enter the time for aerial and broadcast overseeding of cover crops, now is a good time to think about how current weather, soil and crop conditions might affect things. First and foremost, there are parts of the state that are very dry and others that have been getting timely rains....

Crop Production
August 24, 2022 3:54 PM

I continue to receive tar spot reports from across Iowa. Given the moisture we have had the past couple of weeks and the growth stage of the crop, this is not surprising.  Tar spot development is favored by leaf moisture. As the growing season...

Plant Diseases
August 24, 2022 8:19 AM

Several labs in the Midwest have been monitoring the distribution of soybean gall midge in Iowa since 2018. Last year, we sampled many counties in western Iowa but only confirmed three new counties. This year, we focused on the counties just east of the distribution in 2021 and were able to...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 16, 2022 3:38 PM

While the story of the "haves" and "have nots" continues across the state, some areas in NW did finally get some much-needed rain early this week. And unfortunately, the Zearing area in Central Iowa also had some hail damage. Some of the observations or questions coming in from the field this...

Crop Production
August 11, 2022 1:00 PM

You are invited to attend the upcoming field days that will be hosted at the outlying Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms this fall. These field days will feature the latest information on crop production and crop management practices. Below is a list of the upcoming field...

Crop Production
August 11, 2022 9:16 AM

Twospotted spider mites have been noted in fields across much of Iowa already this summer, as much of Iowa is in abnormal or extreme drought (D0-D3, US Drought Monitor). Scouting for spider mites in field crops...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 9, 2022 10:54 PM

It’s the story of the haves and have nots when it comes to rainfall across the state. Unfortunately the areas that could really use the rain, seem to miss the rains. Consequently, some parts of the state are looking pretty tough with the drought conditions. Besides the drought conditions in...

Crop Production
August 8, 2022 8:51 AM

Recycling is the environmentally friendly and responsible way of disposing of empty pesticide containers. In 2021, over 803,000 pounds of pesticide containers were collected and recycled in Iowa. Recycling options vary depending on the container size.

Recycling containers 55...

Pesticide Education
August 3, 2022 10:49 AM

Parts of the state are classified as being abnormally dry to being in an extreme drought based on the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map. With the hot temperatures returning this week and little to no rainfall...

Crop Production
August 3, 2022 9:05 AM

The past week brought again spotty rainfall across the state. With the dry conditions and warmer temperatures forecasted there are concerns about what this may mean for the crops. Spider mites, corn rootworms, grasshoppers, aphids, and weed escapes were other observations or concerns coming from...

Crop Production
July 29, 2022 7:16 PM

This is the time of the year when late-season pigweeds (waterhemp and Palmer amaranth) poke through the soybean canopy and produce seeds. These late-season pigweeds either emerged after herbicide applications, or survived inappropriately timed or less-than-effective postemergence herbicides. ...

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
July 27, 2022 9:06 AM

While crop development is behind this year due to the late planting, warm weather in the forecast will result in faster development than we prefer during reproductive growth stages of our crops. Appropriate identification of reproductive growth stages can be important for numerous reasons like...

Crop Production
July 26, 2022 3:59 PM

Signs of stress could be seen in corn and soybean fields, especially in the drier areas of the state with the warmer temperatures last week. Most of the corn either has pollinated or is pollinating and soybeans are in the R2 to R3 growth stages. Corn rootworm beetles, Japanese beetles, drought...

Crop Production
July 22, 2022 12:44 PM

Western and northern corn rootworms are serious pests of corn throughout the Corn Belt (Photo 1). We recommend that farmers scout every cornfield every year, regardless of the management tactic(s) used, to evaluate management decisions and prepare for next year. It is a good idea to scout for...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 19, 2022 5:13 PM

With hot weather and few rain chances in the forecast, concern turns toward soil moisture reserves and the ever-important pollination timing in corn. ISU Extension field agronomists observed corn rootworm beetles, Japanese beetle feeding,...

Crop Production
July 18, 2022 1:26 PM

As mentioned in my previous ICM Blog article this year, June 20 was the cut-off date for over-the-top applications of dicamba products (Xtendimax, Engenia, and Tavium) in dicamba-tolerant...

Crop Production, Weeds
July 18, 2022 7:52 AM

The most effective way to make treatments decisions for pests with chewing mouthparts (e.g., Japanese beetle, bean leaf beetle, caterpillars, and grasshoppers) is to estimate defoliation. I’m a “lumper” and don’t try too hard to distinguish feeding by species. Replicated data over multiple...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 13, 2022 2:00 PM

Iowa Soil Health Workshop Planned for August 4th

Topics will include fertility tests, cover crops, and evaluating soil health with a microscope

A soil health workshop will be held Aug. 4 at Iowa State University’s Field Extension Education...

Crop Production, Soils, Weeds
July 13, 2022 10:04 AM

While there was some much-needed rain across the state last week, the rain also brought some wind with it as well that resulted in lodged or leaning corn as well as some greensnap in fields. In addition to the wind damage, herbicide injury in soybeans, tar spot concerns, and Japanese beetles...

Crop Production