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.

July 8, 2016 6:53 AM

Western corn rootworm (WCR) and northern corn rootworm (NCR) eggs overwinter in the soil and larval hatch is based on accumulated degree days (ADD) of soil temperatures each year. Average hatching dates for Iowa are in early June, with southern counties experiencing egg hatch before northern...

Insects and Mites
July 7, 2016 11:24 AM

Since the last clinic update (6/17/2016), we are starting to transition from seedling diseases to foliar diseases. There is quite a bit of concern from clients about getting an early jump on foliar diseases, in order to plan for foliar fungicide applications. Similarly to the last blog, a...

Plant Diseases
July 7, 2016 9:51 AM

Storms hit eastern Iowa yesterday, bringing variable amounts of rainfall and enough wind to blow some corn down. The damage seems to extend across multiple counties, but I witnessed many fields with varying amounts of damage in Linn and Jones counties.


Crop Production
July 7, 2016 8:53 AM

Spider mites the end of June or first part of July? Our hot and dry weather here in southeastern Iowa have provided favorable conditions for spider mites. Typically we do not see spider mites reaching economically damaging levels until late July or early August when conations (hot and ry) are...

Insects and Mites
July 6, 2016 7:36 AM

Wild parsnip is a biennial that was introduced to North America by the earliest European colonists, it is documented to have been grown in Virginia as early as 1609. In his 1913 book The Weed Flora of Iowa, L. H. Pammel described wild parsnip as ‘common on roadsides in every part of...

July 5, 2016 11:01 AM

Last week, my lab crew found a few different caterpillars feeding in our soybean plots at the ISU Northwest Research Farm. They were hesitant to identify it in the field, so they brought one to me for a confirmation. First, I noticed it had a green body and green head and four pairs of prolegs...

Insects and Mites
June 29, 2016 12:25 PM

This week, I got a note from Tristan Mueller (Iowa Soybean Association) seeing some corn leaf injury from redheaded flea beetle. The defoliation was noticeable and the farmer was considering a foliar insecticide. The fields did not have tasseled yet and he estimated 5-6 beetles per plant. 

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 27, 2016 5:32 PM

The USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report on Monday, June 27, showed Iowa's corn crop condition as unchanged from last week's 79% good/excellent rating. Soybean emergence in Iowa is 99%,...

Crop Production
June 27, 2016 4:22 PM

Earlier this month, I wrote an ICM News article showing peak corn rootworm egg hatch in Iowa. That means at least 50% of viable eggs have likely hatched and larvae will start feeding...

Insects and Mites
June 24, 2016 3:39 PM

Thursday, June 23, brought great weather and a good crowd to the Northern Iowa Research Farm Field Day near Kanawha, Iowa, and the Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm Spring Field Day near Crawfordsville, Iowa; both hosted by Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach....

Crop Production
June 22, 2016 2:07 PM

On Friday evening of last week (June 17), a storm system rolled through the northwest corner of Iowa. Winds with this system were clocked in the 70+ mph range, and one weather station measured wind gusts over 100 mph. Many large trees were snapped off, grain bins damaged, and other facilities...

Crop Production
June 20, 2016 5:11 PM

Iowa Crop Progress Summary
The USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report stated Iowa's corn crop has a good/excellent rating of 79%, above the current national average of 75%. The agency reported all of Iowa's soybeans as planted and 97% emerged, ahead of the 5-year-average by 9%....

Crop Production
June 17, 2016 1:30 PM

So far, this growing season has been relatively quiet on the crop disease front, likely due to the mild weather this spring has brought us. In its place we have seen quite a bit of concern with herbicide injury. Where diseases are concerned, here is what we have encountered so far in the...

Plant Diseases
June 17, 2016 9:27 AM

There aren’t great answers to contend with the root cause (pun intended) of the uneven corn this season. The unusual weather conditions that started last winter and extended into this spring, and long periods of stress magnify small differences within fields and improves the odds of seedling...

Crop Production
June 16, 2016 5:04 PM

I've been getting a lot of calls about uneven corn. Uneven corn can be caused by many factors, and there are usually multiple variables in play. Since a lot of folks have asked, here are some reasons I am seeing uneven spots in fields around west central and southwest Iowa.

Crop Production
June 15, 2016 5:02 PM

A Twitter campaign has been started to track corn and soybean diseases throughout the country. While scouting this summer, farmers and agribusiness professionals are encouraged to tweet a photo with the name of the disease, county, and state to either...

Plant Diseases
June 15, 2016 1:05 PM

The Using Manure Nutrients for Crop Production publication (PMR 1003) has recently been updated with revised beef cattle and dairy manure nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) crop...

Crop Production, Soil Fertility
June 15, 2016 9:17 AM

Cover crops have become quite popular in recent years, not only from a soil conservation and water quality perspective, but also due to their potential to be an additional forage source for livestock producers. To better understand how cover crops can be used as a potential forage source,...

Crop Production
June 14, 2016 11:03 AM

I recently had a call about millipedes feeding on corn kernels in northeast Iowa this week. The farmer had a 120-acre cornfield with approximately 20 percent stand loss associated with millipede feeding. I rarely hear about millipedes as field crop pests, but a couple factors likely played a...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 13, 2016 5:31 PM

Check weed sizes vs. herbicide rates so you can maximize herbicide effectiveness. I am getting calls on some pretty sizeable weeds in fields, especially ragweed and waterhemp. Some of the ragweed (and marestail in some no-till and min-till fields) is already beyond being able to consistently...

June 13, 2016 4:28 PM

The USDA Weekly Crop Progress Report showed that Iowa's corn crop is 99% emerged and has a good/excellent rating of 80% for the week ending June 12. The agency reported 91% of Iowa soybeans have emerged, 10% ahead of the 5-year-average. The good/excellent rating for Iowa soybeans are 81%,...

Crop Production
June 13, 2016 1:02 PM

It seems too early in the growing season yet to be seeing corn diseases like Northern Corn Leaf Blight (NCLB), but I happened to spot a few corn plants with NCLB lesions on them in an isolated area in a corn field in southeast Iowa. Why are we seeing NCLB so early? 


Plant Diseases
June 13, 2016 12:33 PM

It is hot here in Iowa...but not hot enough to discourage us from hand planting a soybean trial evaluating novel germplasm for resistance to Phytophthora root and stem rot (PRR) caused by P. sojae. PRR causes stand and yield losses every year throughout the U.S. 


Plant Diseases
June 10, 2016 4:11 PM

One of the less rewarding tasks of pest management is gleaning information from pesticide labels. Because of the complexity of labels, many people rely on guides produced by universities or distributors to identify solutions for pest problems. While these guides are convenient, they are not...

Pesticide Education
June 10, 2016 7:36 AM

Yesterday, my lab crew went to the ISU Northeast Research Farm near Nashua, Iowa to assess plant stands and take initial aphid counts in my efficacy evaluation trial. My technician found five wingless soybean aphids in a V1 plant. This was certainly interesting, as it could mean uniform colony...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites