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.

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
July 25, 2023 10:50 PM

Limited rainfall, the hot weather this week, corn rootworm, weed escapes, insect defoliators, and questions on foliar fungicides have been the more common issues or questions Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists have seen or heard about over the last week. Read on for...

Crop Production
July 18, 2023 10:27 PM

Over the last week much needed rain was received, but it also unfortunately brought along wind and hail to some parts of the state. Other hot topics coming in from fields across the state this past week included corn rootworm, soybean gall midge, phytophthora in soybeans, tar spot, gray leaf...

Crop Production
July 18, 2023 7:00 AM

Check out the upcoming field days being offered around the state this August. These field days will feature a variety of topics ranging from strip-till and conservation to forage production and corn rootworm management.  

August 1, 2023 | Corn Rootworm Field Day...

Crop Production
July 14, 2023 11:51 AM

Blister beetles are an occasional late-summer problem in Iowa alfalfa fields. The beetles feed on alfalfa and soybean foliage, but leaf loss is not of economic importance. The bigger concern with blister beetles is their toxicity to livestock when accidentally consumed in feed. The beetles...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 11, 2023 4:19 PM

Corn rootworm, soybean gall midge, tar spot, drought stress, and weed control issues are some of the common issues or questions Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists have seen or heard about the past couple of weeks. Read on for more specifics about what’s happening...

Crop Production
July 7, 2023 9:43 AM

The smoke from the 2023 Canada wildfires was noticeable in Iowa, especially on June 28 and 29, and concerns about impacts on crop productivity were voiced. The smoke from the California wildfires (August 2021) was evident in Iowa too, however, this did not have a negative effect on crop...

Crop Production
July 6, 2023 2:34 PM

Although some parts of Iowa have been catching up with moisture deficits, many areas continue to be in severe drought. Drought stress combined with high temperatures is good news for field crop pests like grasshoppers and spider mites. We’ve been getting reports of high grasshopper numbers...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 27, 2023 12:36 PM

While some much needed and welcomed rain fell across most of the state this past week, some areas received minimal to no rain. The dry conditions, herbicide injury, potato leafhoppers, nutrient deficiencies (mainly potassium), weed control failures, and tar spot are some of the highlights on the...

Crop Production
June 23, 2023 1:44 PM

Well, I’ll be darned! Yesterday I tweeted the only disease being seen in Iowa corn was common smut on leaves. Thanks to an overzealous crop scout from a seed company, we can confirm that tar spot was observed in central Iowa (Poweshiek, Tama, Marshall, Jasper, Story and Polk counties) yesterday...

Plant Diseases
June 20, 2023 3:16 PM

Dry conditions causing crop stress, herbicide carryover and drift, nutrient deficiencies induced by the dry conditions, armyworms in forages, and a frost event in NE Iowa were some of the common or big issues or questions ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists heard about or received this...

Crop Production
June 15, 2023 11:51 AM

On June 14, Iowa State University extension entomologists put out a Pest Alert to scout for true armyworm because of statewide reports of this pest feeding on crops. In addition, there have been multiple...

Insects and Mites
June 15, 2023 9:50 AM

We’re well into the growing season in Iowa. We are in full swing in the Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic (PIDC) as growers, certified crop consultants, and field agronomists start to notice problems in their fields. While there is information on our PIDC webpage (...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites, Plant Diseases, Soils, Weeds
June 13, 2023 12:17 PM

The dry conditions across the state can be attributed to a lot of the issues or questions ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists heard about or received this past week including issues like herbicide carryover, nutrient deficiencies, and showcasing compaction issues in fields not just from...

Crop Production
June 12, 2023 9:09 AM

The best way to break the drought is to write an article from extension about dry weather. So, here’s a stab at trying to make it rain.

Today’s hybrids have amazed farmers on their yields in dry environments. I often get questions about early season drought stress and corn rolling in the...

Crop Production
June 9, 2023 2:26 PM

We have had a busy few weeks fielding questions from farmers and agronomists about various insects that are feeding in crop fields. Temperatures have been warm and that has prompted many insects to resume activity – they are hungry! The biggest concern lately has been true armyworms, but other...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 6, 2023 10:38 PM

Spotty rainfall and dry conditions, replanting/filling in soybean stands, weed management/herbicide application considerations, and fertilizer burn on corn roots were some of the more common concerns or questions ISU Extension Field...

Crop Production
June 6, 2023 5:34 PM

Plan to attend the upcoming field days that will be hosted at the outlying Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms this summer. These field days will feature the latest information on crop production and crop management practices. Below is a list of the upcoming field days that...

Crop Production
June 6, 2023 11:06 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 31...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 5, 2023 8:36 PM

The final June climatological outlooks from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued on May 31st continue to show similar patterns as the initial outlooks from mid-May. On the temperature side, there are higher probabilities of warmer-than-average conditions across most of Iowa. A “...

Crop Production
June 1, 2023 3:02 PM

With the steady growth and production of pasture forages across the state comes the steady appearance and growth of the nuisance pasture weed, multiflora rose (MFR). Due to its unpalatability, most grazing species will not consume MFR, allowing it to continue growing throughout the season and...

May 31, 2023 9:46 PM

The choice to foliar feed crops is a management decision each farmer needs to make based on personal preferences. Before considering these products, we need to first consider the return on the investment and chance for success. 

When considering foliar fertilizing corn and soybean we need...

Crop Production
May 31, 2023 4:16 PM

With turning the calendar to June, now is the time to be seeding warm-season annual forages like sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass, sudangrass, millets, and teff. These forages can help to fill in the gap with the summer slump or provide some extra forage when your perennial forage supply may be short...

Crop Production