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.

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
September 12, 2023 2:27 PM

After about a month of minimal rainfall across the state, some much welcomed rain fell over the weekend and on Monday, September 11. The couple of hot weeks and dry conditions in August really pushed crops along across the state, even causing some to reach maturity prematurely. Silage harvest is...

Crop Production
September 12, 2023 11:40 AM

Harvest is approaching too quickly this fall. Between the dry summer and the spurts of hot weather in August and early September, crop standability is degrading quickly. This blog will go over some potential reasons for standability issues and ways to assess and prioritize fields for harvest....

Crop Production, Plant Diseases
September 12, 2023 9:18 AM

The last couple heat waves combined with continued drought stress has brought on premature corn death. What should be expected as corn grain harvest gets underway? First and foremost expect VARIABILITY of both grain moisture and yield within and between fields. Next plan for variable and...

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
September 7, 2023 12:54 PM

Field crop health matters throughout the entire growing season. The types of diseases on crops depend on the point in the growing season and the environmental conditions. Many later-season diseases result from soilborne pathogens over which in-season fungicide applications have no control. Most...

Crop Production, Plant Diseases
September 7, 2023 9:30 AM

Harvest season is right around the corner and according to the latest...

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
August 28, 2023 10:01 PM

While it is no secret soybean disease has been more prevalent in soybean fields in southwest Iowa this month. However, not all the problems in soybeans can be attributed to disease incidence. I have received and observed an unusual pest this month, Dectes stem borer! Look at your soybeans...

Crop Production
August 23, 2023 8:27 AM

The rains earlier in August across much of the state and more moderate temperatures have been replaced by hotter and drier conditions. While some fields across the state look pretty good, others are showing more signs of stress here this week. Other common observations made in fields across the...

Crop Production
August 22, 2023 7:45 AM

I received several questions about blister beetles in alfalfa hay over the weekend. I thought it might be helpful to review what they look like and provide a few management tactics to minimize the negative effects for animals.

There are at least four species in Iowa, including a) black, b...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 8, 2023 4:31 PM

While some much welcomed rain fell across most of the state over the last week, parts of NE Iowa missed out on the rain and other parts saw 6+ inches of rainfall. From the field, aphids (in corn and soybeans), spider mites, soybean gall midge, concerns about tar spot, and downy mildew in...

Crop Production
August 1, 2023 9:55 PM

Soybean aphids, two-spotted spider mites, fungicide decisions despite little disease pressure, and the hot and dry conditions were some of the more common issues or questions Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists have seen or heard about in fields across the state over...

Crop Production
August 1, 2023 6:07 AM

We have now reached the critical period for maximizing yield for both corn and soybeans. I will focus on soybeans for this blog and how soil moisture affects moisture stress in beans and soybean yield. With recent rains across a sizable portion of Iowa in mid-July, soil moisture profiles changed...

Crop Production