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.

December 2, 2016 8:29 PM

This week during ICM Conference, I talked about a resistance management plan for soybean aphid. My presentation abstract can be downloaded now (ICM Proceedings, pg. 97...

Insects and Mites
November 21, 2016 3:37 PM

The Crop Protection Network (CPN; is a working group made up of state university and provincial Extension specialists, and public/private professionals. This group produces collaborative Extension outputs for...

Plant Diseases
November 7, 2016 3:30 PM

The effect of cover crop on crop yields, soil health, and nitrate-nitrogen (N) leaching is complex and variable from year to year. From an environmental point of view, the higher the rye biomass production at termination day, the higher the likelihood of increasing soil organic carbon and...

Crop Production
November 1, 2016 10:40 AM

Building on the success of the Inaugural Soil Health Conference in 2016, the second Soil Health Conference will be held in the Scheman Building at Iowa State University on February 16-17, 2017. This conference is organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, College of Agriculture...

Soil Management
October 17, 2016 1:03 PM

There is a lot of discussion lately about grain storage and quality. I wanted to make you aware of webinars that may be of interest to you. I was part of a regional project that organized a 4-part webinar series focused on stored grain IPM in the north central region. Here are the topics and...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 17, 2016 6:26 AM

One of the more popular pages on the old ISU Weed Science website was the Herbicide Ad Hall of Shame. It featured ads that I deemed went against Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles. Recently, two of my colleagues nominated the attached ad that promotes the effectiveness of dicamba in...

October 12, 2016 3:31 PM

The weather forecast is calling for temperatures to dip close to freezing tonight (10/12/16) in south central/southeast Iowa, which could mean that we may see a light frost. What does...

Crop Production
October 7, 2016 1:57 PM

A grower provided us a sample of the seed mix used on one of the conservation plantings where Palmer amaranth developed following planting. We were able to extract Amaranthus seed from the native seed mix. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to visually differentiate the ...

Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
October 7, 2016 9:32 AM

In my previous post, I discussed six key factors to keep in mind when considering hybrid choices for 2017, including: cost, disease tolerance, insect package...

Crop Production
October 6, 2016 11:11 AM

Many people have been asking me about little black bugs biting them this summer. Have you experienced this? I would have to guess they would be minute pirate bugs, also known as insidious flower bugs.

Insects and Mites
October 6, 2016 11:10 AM

Harvest is underway! Long days and short nights in the combine, tractor and truck give farmers time to reflect. Key things to remember from 2016 are the wet spring, dry June, wet and late summer, and early fall. With commodity prices lower than past years farmers need to begin developing budgets...

Crop Production
October 6, 2016 7:09 AM

Palmer amaranth has been identified in newly-seeded conservation plantings in more than 30 Iowa counties, and we would not be surprised if the actual number is double that. The number of Palmer amaranth plants per acre has typically been low enough (<250 plants per acre) to make physical...

October 5, 2016 2:05 PM

Right now, I have five different insects walking around my office! Of course, they are accidental invaders along with many other nuisance pests active right now. It’s also a sign of the quality of the building I work in [sigh]. I’ve been asked several times, “how cold does it have to get to...

Insects and Mites
September 30, 2016 9:57 AM

Seems like I have written an article on stalk rot about every year for the last five or six seasons. Luckily, for the most part, the last few years it was a “heads up” about a relatively small amount of fields that were having lodging issues. However, this year it sure seems like stalk integrity...

Plant Diseases
September 22, 2016 12:22 PM

From a non-farm citizen perspective, safety on the roads is imperative. We have to be aware that during harvest and fall field work season, there will be a lot of large and slow moving equipment on the roads. There will also be a lot of grain trucks on the roads, and it is a tough job to drive...

Crop Production
September 21, 2016 10:22 AM

Safety is always a priority for farmers at harvest, but this year may push us harder than most. If our current wet weather pattern continues into the fall, it could be a muddy, difficult 2016 harvest season.

Crop Production, Equipment and Machinery
September 20, 2016 10:16 AM

Sept. 18-24 is National Farm Safety and Health Week and Iowa Farm Safety and Health Week. Clarke McGrath, on-farm research and extension coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Research Center and extension agronomist at...

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage
September 19, 2016 6:42 AM

I tell students in my ID class that weed identification is easy since very few species have traits that allow them to persist in disturbed habitats, thus you run into the same weeds over and over. After a few years in the business, you seldom encounter a weed you haven’t dealt with before. That...

September 15, 2016 12:39 PM

On Sept. 8, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach hosted a fall field day at the ISU Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Crawfordsville, Iowa.

Crop Production
September 14, 2016 12:58 PM

Corn is nearing the end of its maturity here in northeast Iowa, where most of it is in between R5.75 (3/4 milk line) and R6 (physiological maturity), with the late planted fields at or past R5.5 (1/2 milk line). With all of the moisture that we’ve seen here in this area of the state, we have...

Crop Production
September 14, 2016 12:28 PM

During July and August, warm nights may accelerate maturity of corn to the detriment of yield. In most areas of Iowa, 2015 and 2016 were much alike for corn. In this case, nighttime temperatures may indeed be the major factor resulting in a yield improvement or diminished yield in 2016 since...

Crop Production
September 13, 2016 3:50 PM

The early signs of corn and soybean in particular ready for harvest are around the corner, and it is time to think about your next season conservation plans.

Soil Management
September 13, 2016 3:17 PM

On Sept. 8, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach hosted a fall field day at the ISU Northern Research and Demonstration Farm in Kanawha, Iowa. The fall field day focused on water quality topics, cover crops, corn rootworm, and included a wetland tour.

Crop Production
September 13, 2016 2:27 PM

Much of the corn that was planted in mid-April is mature or nearly mature. Some hybrids really progressed a lot this past week (Sept. 5-Sept. 12). Corn planted in early May and mid-May is about 1/2 to 3/4 milk line. I think I am seeing some of the...

Crop Production
September 13, 2016 1:00 PM

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists report crop conditions in south central, southeast, and east central Iowa.

Crop Production