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.

February 12, 2024 2:32 PM

Iowa State University’s IPM Team has monitored field crop pests for a long time. The pests have changed over the years, but the goal is the same: to help inform farmers about pest activity in Iowa. Our moth trapping efforts target black cutworm, which is a migratory moth. Since timing of arrival...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
January 3, 2024 8:21 AM

To maintain your private pesticide applicator certification, you must either pass an exam every three years or attend an approved Private Continuing Instruction Course (P-CIC) between December 1 and April 15 each year your certification card covers.

In-Person Training

The best...

Pesticide Education
January 3, 2024 8:00 AM

Corn seed costs continue to go up and with weaker commodity prices there is growing interest in looking at ways to cut costs or simply ensure seeding rates are economically optimized. These efforts open eyes to the possibility of using variable rate seeding to reduce seed costs in low...

Crop Production
November 28, 2023 8:01 AM

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) will host their 2024 Annual Meeting and Conference at the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis-Airport on February 13-14, 2024. The MCCC is a collaboration of researchers, extension staff, farmers, agencies, and industry with the mission of facilitating widespread...

Crop Production
November 21, 2023 2:30 PM

Aside from visiting loved ones, my favorite thing about the holidays is the food. Particularly the big sit-down meal shared with a full table. So my question today – what would that holiday spread look like for a blade of grass in the pasture? Simply put – what can we, as grass growers, provide...

Crop Production
November 20, 2023 8:00 AM

Many are considering which corn hybrids to select for the 2024 crop. This also means I start getting questions about whether or not to plant transgenic or conventional hybrids. It is a really important decision to make because selecting the right hybrid, the right genetics is, in my mind, the...

Crop Production
November 15, 2023 7:00 AM

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists have completed their fall survey of subsoil moisture in northwest Iowa. Subsoil moisture sampling in Iowa dates back to February 1954 when ten sites were chosen for soil moisture sampling. In 1959, the sampling increased to 22...

Crop Production, Soils, Soil Management
November 1, 2023 12:54 PM

The rain that has occurred over the state this fall has been welcomed and sorely needed. However, rainfall totals have been variable across the state and not enough to make up the deficit from the growing season. Northwest Iowa has received the most rainfall, with totals ranging from 3-6”. Parts...

Crop Production
October 30, 2023 9:54 AM

Researchers recommend that soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth are 50° F and cooling before applying fall anhydrous ammonia or manure with a high ammonium nitrogen (N) content, such as with liquid swine manure.

Looking at the current 4-inch soil temperatures across the state, we did...

October 26, 2023 4:02 PM

Crop stover is used for livestock feed, bedding, and cellulosic ethanol production. When stover is removed from the field, nutrients, in addition to what is removed with grain harvest, are removed and not recycled back to the soil for future use by crops. Crop stover removal amounts are also...

Crop Production
October 23, 2023 9:28 AM

Agricultural confined-space related cases of injuries and fatalities saw a dramatic rise in 2022, including grain entrapment cases which rose nearly 45%, based on ...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 18, 2023 3:14 PM

An updated Corn and Soybean Field Guide is now available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

This 236-page pocket-sized guide (3-3/4" x 6") combines corn and soybean integrated pest management information in one publication for ease of use by corn and soybean farmers,...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases
October 11, 2023 9:40 AM

Harvest is rolling right along across the state. Check out what ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are seeing and hearing on how harvest is progressing in their respective areas of the state.

Northwest Iowa...

Crop Production
October 4, 2023 8:00 AM

After the last several years of dry conditions, some pastures may benefit from a renovation in 2024. Proper planning and preparation are needed to successfully improve pastures with either a late winter frost seeding or no-till renovation with interseeding next spring. Below are some good...

Crop Production
October 2, 2023 11:17 AM

Fall is a great time to take soil samples for testing. Soil testing is the only way to determine soil nutrient levels and test results can help make critical management decisions for the next growing season. Soil testing starts with the soil sample. It is critical to take a collection of...

Soil Fertility
September 29, 2023 8:43 AM

I have had several calls and emails about corn turning black – particularly the husks and leaf tissues. Walking in these fields turn a white shirt black quickly, and not surprisingly, combining this blackened corn can be very dirty. 

The corn is black because the tissues are being...

Plant Diseases
September 25, 2023 12:49 PM

Agricultural confined-space related cases of injuries and fatalities saw a dramatic rise in 2022, including grain entrapment cases which rose nearly 45%, based on ...

Grain Handling and Storage
September 21, 2023 10:18 AM

We are once again receiving reports of the notable “edge effect” causing dramatic yield reductions along corn field edges. Occasionally, we get reports earlier in the season as it is often visible from drone or aerial footage in the late part of the season as field edges mature more quickly that...

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
September 19, 2023 9:50 AM

After walking several fields last week before harvest got into full force, I noted fields where stalk integrity was a concern. If you have not done so already, I would encourage walking fields before harvest to understand how your crop will stand through the harvest season. A pre-harvest walk...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery, Grain Handling and Storage
September 18, 2023 9:37 AM

It is much too early to fall apply anhydrous ammonia to meet your 2024 corn nitrogen (N) needs, but there are other factors to consider given our dry soils this fall. 

Several agronomists have noted that earlier than normal corn firing this year was due to the crop running out of N and...

Soil Fertility
September 18, 2023 9:31 AM

Harvest has already started for many across the state. With the extra flurry of activity including more equipment and...

Equipment and Machinery
September 15, 2023 1:37 PM

Every year soybean harvest has some type of challenge. Soybean is one crop where it is difficult to get all the conditions perfect. The use of draper style headers with soybean harvests allows harvest to begin earlier and handle green stems, green pods, and variable moisture.

Below are...

Crop Production
September 14, 2023 1:00 PM

For many parts of Iowa, 2023 is the third consecutive year of drought conditions. This has made establishing cover crops challenging. Drought conditions make overseeding cover crops into standing corn and soybean less successful because of a lack of rainfall to get seeds to germinate. Advice to...

Crop Production
September 13, 2023 8:51 AM

Agricultural confined-space related cases of injuries and fatalities saw a dramatic rise in 2022, including grain entrapment cases which rose nearly 45%, based on...

Grain Handling and Storage