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.

May 20, 2020 1:54 PM

With the weather Iowa has recently experienced and the time of year it is, we all can expect to see purple and yellow corn and even some tattered leaves: the ugly ducklings of your field. Don’t fret just yet, cooler temperatures and wet conditions are all contributing factors to the mosaic...

Crop Production
May 20, 2020 7:42 AM

Iowa’s most significant soybean insect pest, soybean aphid, has host-alternating biology. This species has multiple, overlapping generations on soybean in the summer. Fall migration to buckthorn is based on senescing soybean, and decreasing temperatures and photoperiod. For the majority of the...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 19, 2020 9:20 PM

Some much-welcomed rain fell across the state this past week. Prior to the rain, farmers continued to make progress on getting the crop in the ground. According to the...

Crop Production
May 19, 2020 8:04 PM

Planting is nearly wrapped up for corn, with soybean soon to follow. What a difference a year makes considering the last two years have seen planting delayed. That means corn and soybean emergence should be good, right? Wrong! The cost of seed makes it essential to get the highest, most uniform...

Crop Production
May 19, 2020 10:57 AM

As crops start to emerge, now is a good time to get out and do early-season scouting to see how things went with planting and to also check for any early season crop disease and insect issues. 

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases
May 19, 2020 10:54 AM

Check out our most recent Vlog from the Field Extension Education Lab (FEEL), where we discuss soil temperature, hypocotyls, radicles and cotyledons.

Guest starring in this episode is Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist in central Iowa and an extension field specialist at Iowa State....

Crop Production
May 14, 2020 10:27 AM

As we on the Iowa State Extension Crops Team have been adjusting our programming and schedules to ensure we're still able to provide quality resources throughout COVID-19, we'd like to introduce you to one new resource: The Field Extension Education Laboratory (FEEL) Vlog series.

While we...

Crop Production
May 13, 2020 3:57 PM

Even with some cooler temperatures last week, moths were still being reported around the state. True armyworm (TAW) activity was lower during Week 6 than in previous weeks with a total of 40 TAW moths reported across the state. However, black cutworm (BCW) captures increased dramatically last...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 13, 2020 10:41 AM

Years like this, when corn-planting progress is ahead of normal and we get really optimistic about it, frost raises its ugly head. In the NW corner of Iowa, about a third of the years will include a frost in May. About ten percent of the time it is after May 10. Watching the recovery of emerged...

Crop Production
May 12, 2020 8:53 PM

What a difference the year makes! According to the May 11th USDA Crop Progress Report, 91% of the expected corn crop and 71% of the expected...

Crop Production
May 11, 2020 10:23 AM

Although most crop fields have not reached the stage for regularly planned POST herbicide applications, there likely are situations where people would like to get weeds controlled prior to the rain forecast later this week.  The question is what impact will this weekend’s frost have on herbicide...

May 8, 2020 11:07 AM

The Forecasting and Assessment of Cropping Systems (FACTS) from Iowa State Extension and Outreach results as of May 5 extrapolate that Iowa soils a bit drier than neighboring Illinois or Indiana, but shouldn’t be an issue moving forward:

Crop Production
May 6, 2020 1:53 PM

Moth activity continues in Iowa. During Week 5, April 27 had the most true armyworm (TAW) moths reported across the state. Black cutworm (BCW) flights were a bit spread out throughout the week. In total, 78 BCW moths were reported across the state, which is the highest weekly total of the year...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 6, 2020 1:27 PM

Thin Lizzy predicted it in 1976. Actually, the boys and girls are back in town. Over the weekend, the first painted lady butterflies were spotted in Iowa. Why care about this beautiful butterfly? It seems like a distant memory, but remember the thistle caterpillar bonanza on soybean last summer...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 6, 2020 12:58 PM

Friday and Saturday night will have cold temperatures reach into northern Iowa and maybe even southern Iowa. Below is a National Weather Service low temperature prediction ( for Saturday, May 9. Notice that north of Interstate...

Crop Production
May 5, 2020 1:49 PM

Last week provided another big window for planting and other field activities across the state. According to the May 4th USDA Crop Progress Report...

Crop Production
May 4, 2020 1:42 PM

Clinic update

As the time for crop germination approaches, the staff of the Plant and Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC) want to reiterate that while the clinic is running at a reduced capacity, physical samples will still be accepted this season. Staff still request that interactions with the...

Plant Diseases
May 4, 2020 8:26 AM

Late last week, Dr. Justin Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, wrote some really interesting comments about the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center monthly outlooks. We’ve...

Crop Production
May 1, 2020 8:49 AM

Planting occurred at a near record pace in much of Iowa due to lack of rain in late April. This string of dry weather also allowed most herbicide applications to be made in a timely fashion, but now there is concern about herbicide performance after prolonged time on the soil surface.


April 30, 2020 9:41 AM

Black cutworm (BCW) and true armyworm (TAW) moths continue to be active in Iowa. Last week, our cooperators in southern Iowa reported 37 total TAW moths. April 24 seemed to be the date with the largest flights: 14 TAW moths were caught around the state on that day alone. BCW moths were more...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 28, 2020 1:38 PM

The past week provided a big window for fieldwork ranging from tillage and fertilizer applications to spraying and planting across the state. According to the...

Crop Production
April 27, 2020 9:50 PM

If you missed the live version, a recorded version of the April 22 “Stored grain handling and management webinar” is now available by going to this link:

Grain Handling and Storage
April 24, 2020 10:12 AM

Despite the cold weather last week (April 12-18), moths were active throughout Iowa. April 13 had the most reports. Our cooperators around the state reported a total of 24 black cutworm (BCW) and 12 true armyworm (TAW) moths on that day alone. Figures 1 and 2 show the total moth captures in each...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 24, 2020 9:24 AM

Moth trapping in Iowa is underway. Each year, we monitor field crop pests to help inform scouting activities in Iowa. In 2020, our moth trapping network includes black cutworm (BCW) and true armyworm (TAW; Figure 1). Both of these pests are migratory, making it difficult to predict where...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
April 24, 2020 8:10 AM

Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December of 2018 and passage of Senate File 599 in Iowa have paved the road to the legalization of growing hemp in Iowa. The permitting process is currently open in Iowa. The application deadline for the 2020 outdoor growing season is May 15, 2020.  Listed below...

Crop Production