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.

June 22, 2020 1:17 PM

There have been reports of flowers in the earliest planted soybeans, and I observed them in NW Iowa late last week. That means these beans are entering the R-1 stage of development. If you have a history of white mold in your soybeans and are considering treatment for reducing the impact of this...

Plant Diseases
June 18, 2020 4:40 PM

Temperature Inversions

It is never recommended to spray a pesticide when a temperature inversion exists, and many labels provide guidelines to follow in order to avoid applications during one. This blog will discuss what temperature inversions are, why they can be...

Crop Production, Pesticide Education, Weeds
June 18, 2020 3:56 PM

Today, with Ashley Dean and Angie Rieck-Hinz, I met Warren Pierson at FEEL to look for corn rootworm larvae. I predicted peak corn rootworm egg hatch for central Iowa this week based on accumulating degree days. We had no trouble finding larvae in refuge corn, ranging from ¼ to ½ inches in...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 17, 2020 3:58 PM

The growing season is in full swing, and as Iowa growers and gardeners move along toward the Fourth of July, it is important to remember that the COVID-19 precautions continue to alter operations at the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC).

The PIDC continues to...

Plant Diseases
June 16, 2020 9:26 PM

Reports of soybean gall midge adults emerging, rainfall or lack of rainfall, weed management concerns, and herbicide drift were some of the common issues or concerns that ISU Extension field agronomists saw or heard about this past week. Read on for more about what's happening in specific...

Crop Production
June 15, 2020 10:18 AM

Radiation is down up to June 1 according the latest FACTS extrapolations.

The springtime decreases in radiation—especially in May—could have caused yellowing corn leaves and slowed down leaf appearance rates (radiation and moisture play a role in phenology, even though temperature is the...

Crop Production
June 12, 2020 3:45 PM

Today, ISU entomology graduate student, Mitchell Helton, captured the first adult soybean gall midge in Iowa. Just a few hours later, cooperator Lauren Botine (Corteva Agriscience), collected another adult. Currently, our traps are placed in fields infested with soybean gall midge in 2019. There...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 9, 2020 8:46 PM

Sidedressing nitrogen, post emergence herbicide applications, and putting up hay were the main field activities that took place over this past week across the state. Some of the issues ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists saw this past week ranged from dry conditions in the western part...

Crop Production
June 9, 2020 3:23 PM

Yellowing of corn plants early in the season can be confusing to diagnose. And in some conditions there may be a period of time after corn emergence where small corn just does not look good. There can be a number of causes for plant yellowing. An example is the description in a recent ICM Blog...

Soil Fertility
June 9, 2020 1:59 PM

One important benefit of cover crops to our production system is providing an alternative selection pressure on weed populations. Cereal rye has the best potential to suppress weeds because it accumulates more biomass than other cover crop species.  Weed suppression is closely related to the...

June 5, 2020 6:47 AM

Numerous herbicides registered for postemergence use on Xtend soybean have excellent activity on important weeds of Iowa’s soybean fields. Unfortunately, herbicide resistance in waterhemp is widespread to the herbicide groups active on this weed: Group 2 (ALS inhibitors), 9 (glyphosate) and 14 (...

Herbicide Resistance
June 4, 2020 9:52 AM

Earlier this week I was out in corn fields "helping" my lab crew collect disease data.  The corn was not looking great but hopefully it has perked up with the past few days of sun and warmth. I know I have!

I noticed in my corn-on-corn fields anthracnose leaf blight on the lower leaves of...

Plant Diseases
June 3, 2020 9:59 AM

The trapping season for true armyworm (TAW) and black cutworm (BCW) has come to an end. We appreciate our cooperators for tirelessly checking traps the last two months and reporting their captures so we can provide the most accurate scouting information for these pests. To recap, we had 36...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 2, 2020 3:57 PM

The crops have really started to take off this past week with the warmer temperatures. While rainfall limited field activity in parts of the state, where fieldwork could be done many got started on sidedressing, post herbicide applications, and putting up hay. Yellow and uneven corn, weed...

Crop Production
June 2, 2020 10:10 AM

Although there is no evidence of widescale problems with carryover injury to corn or soybean, ISUEO field agronomists have received a few reports. The potential for carryover injury is determined by several factors, including: 1) persistence of the herbicide, 2) herbicide rate, 3) soil...

June 1, 2020 1:45 PM

In order to keep up with any changes and updates on pesticide uses and restrictions from year to year, it’s important to thoroughly read the label before any applications are made, even if the same product was used the previous year. If nothing else, it helps to refresh our memory on the...

Crop Production, Weeds
May 28, 2020 2:58 PM

Iowa State’s Dr. Charles Hurburgh will be presenting on the topic “Ongoing Impacts from the 2019 Harvest and Early 2020 Crop Forecast” as an installment in the Grain Elevator and Processing Society’s...

Grain Handling and Storage
May 27, 2020 5:17 PM

More large flights of moths were reported across Iowa last week. In fact, the statewide weekly totals for both true armyworm (TAW) and black cutworm (BCW) far exceeded those of previous weeks. Across the state, our cooperators reported a total of 243 TAW moths and 188 BCW moths between May 17...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 27, 2020 3:33 PM

Last week brought little sunshine, cooler temperatures, and soggy conditions across much of the state. Yellow-looking corn, slow growing crops and forages, and uneven or poor stand establishment were some of the common concerns ISU Extension field agronomists have been hearing and seeing. Read...

Crop Production
May 26, 2020 11:03 AM

While all applicators should carefully read their pesticide labels, newer products like the dicamba products labeled for use over-the-top use in soybean have many more application restrictions and recordkeeping requirements than others. This blog will describe the new language in the ‘...

Pesticide Education, Weeds
May 22, 2020 11:59 AM

Thanks to ISUEO Field Agronomist Meaghan Anderson and Extension Entomologist Ashley Dean, I had a great field scouting adventure in central Iowa. First visiting the field for poor germination and other issues, Meaghan was digging in the soil in search of more information and found grubs! So of...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 22, 2020 10:17 AM

Last week, the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Crops Team held its Field Scouting Basics Workshop for those who will be scouting fields this growing season. For those that might have missed this day-long virtual seminar, we've uploaded the entire virtual workshop to the Iowa...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases, Soils, Weeds
May 22, 2020 10:04 AM

I try to stay focused on important weed management issues, but people1 send me ads they feel need to be called out for breaking the principles of integrated weed management. Today's entry into the Herbicide Ad Hall of Shame is a promotion for Tough herbicide.  I don't...

Herbicide Resistance
May 20, 2020 5:00 PM

By this time in the spring, moth activity typically quiets down a bit. Not this year – we were still seeing large flights of moths last week! True armyworm (TAW) activity picked up again with a total of 84 TAW moths reported across the state. Black cutworm (BCW) captures decreased compared to...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 20, 2020 3:36 PM

Western and northern corn rootworms are serious corn pests in Iowa and the Corn Belt, reportedly responsible for over 1 billion dollars in yield loss and control costs annually in the United States. The larvae tunnel into and consume corn roots, which can reduce nutrient and water uptake (Figure...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites