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.

June 6, 2016 6:01 PM

Most of Iowa has not received high precipitation amounts this spring, however, some regions have–most notably western Iowa (see maps). Wet springtime conditions typically raise the question about the status of applied nitrogen (N).

Soil Fertility
June 6, 2016 5:24 PM

The USDA Crop Progress Report from Monday, June 6, shows corn planting 100% complete in Iowa, with 97% of corn emerged. The agency report has Iowa's corn crop at a 80% good/excellent rating. Soybean planting is 94% done, ahead of last week's 88% and the five-year-average...

Crop Production
June 6, 2016 11:53 AM

Increasing sprayer travel speed causes the controller to increase boom pressure (and decrease droplet size). If field conditions have you running behind and your sprayer travel speed has increased 20–25%, consider using one size larger nozzle tip to minimize drift potential.

Equipment and Machinery, Pesticide Education
June 2, 2016 12:28 PM

Today, I heard about some armyworm feeding on corn in northeast and northwest Iowa. In the NE Iowa field, rye was planted last fall and killed late this spring. Armyworms tend to be aggregated, or found in big groups, and can cause significant injury seemingly overnight. The caterpillars are...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 27, 2016 7:54 AM

Although most of my research projects are outside, I occasionally do work in growth chambers and greenhouses. This week, I started a seed treatment evaluation for soybean. I'm looking at 12 different treatments and seeing how soybean aphid responds. Working in more stabilized conditions takes...

Insects and Mites
May 27, 2016 6:27 AM

Researchers at the University of Illinois recently published a paper identifying the PPO resistance mechanism in Palmer amaranth.  It turns out that both Palmer and waterhemp have an unusual type of mutation providing resistance to the group 14 herbicides (PPO inhibitors).  Rather than a...

Herbicide Resistance
May 26, 2016 3:13 PM

A lot of farmers worked some long hours to complete fieldwork over the weekend because of the predicted rainy weather. There have been some heavy rains in extreme northwest Iowa early this week, but much of my area has missed those heavy rains. And, as a result, a lot of fieldwork was completed...

Crop Production
May 26, 2016 7:12 AM

Plants with yellow flowers are a common sight in roadsides and other grassy areas as one drives across Iowa at this time of year. There's a good chance these plants are one of the weedy mustards (wild mustard, yellow rocket, hedge mustard, etc.), golden alexander, or wild parsnip. The mustards...

May 25, 2016 10:00 AM

Yesterday, I was asked to help confirm an identification of a few beetles in a cornfield near State Center, Iowa. They ended up being striped and spotted cucumber beetles. Sometimes the striped cucumber beetle can be confused with western corn rootworm; however, it would be unlikely to see adult...

Insects and Mites
May 24, 2016 12:56 PM

While I don't have a bucket list of weeds, it's always nice to find a new one. Today I had my first encounter with blue mustard (Chorispora tenella). Like all mustards, this plant has four petals, but the petals of blue mustard are pink to purple in color and very narrow, relative to...

May 23, 2016 2:57 PM

A lot of soybean planting progress was made across the state this past week, as farmers tried to get ahead of this week's daily rain forecast. Most corn planting has been completed in Iowa, with 75% already emerged, according to the May 23 USDA Crop Progress Report....

Crop Production
May 20, 2016 12:29 PM

Several corn fields in southeast Iowa are having disease issues this spring. After visiting with several ag retailers and farmers, I had Alison Robertson and Tom Kaspar, a plant physiologist with the USDA-ARS, out yesterday to look at some fields with issues. When we put all the pieces together...

Plant Diseases
May 20, 2016 9:47 AM

I've had several questions on how long to wait following the frost event this past weekend before making a postemergence application. The answer depends on several factors, including 1) stage of corn at frost injury, 2) vigor of corn at time of frost, 3) weather following the frost, and 4)...

May 19, 2016 1:08 PM

While driving to a field plot in Webster County earlier this week I saw a land roller being used in a field. My first thought: "If we have time to roll fields, why is there such resistance to the suggestion of mechanical weed control?"

Most farmers of my age have...

May 18, 2016 6:26 AM

Scouring rush and field horsetail are two species in the Equisetum genus. These are primitive plants that produce spores rather than seeds, but they spread primarily by underground rhizomes. Until recently these two weeds were found primarily in roadside ditches, but the reduction in...

May 16, 2016 1:52 PM

My area has a real range of conditions with corn planting 65-75% complete in the northwest part of my area. There is maybe 15% of the soybean crop planted in the northwest part of my area. The corn and soybean planting progress is 95%+ complete in the northeast part of...

Crop Production
May 16, 2016 8:51 AM

Temperature is the key for both corn and soybean. Temperature below 28oF for a couple of hours will be lethal to growing tissue that has emerged. Temperatures between 28oF and 32oF will result in definite frost injury to above ground tissue. And temperatures...

Crop Production
May 16, 2016 8:41 AM

As Merle Haggard said in his song, Under the Bridge, “you’ll find some great grub feedin’ here below.” I got a couple calls about grub injury in seedling corn last week and how to identify annual grubs (e.g., masked chafers and Japanese beetle) from true white grubs (May and June beetles) with a...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 13, 2016 11:16 AM

In the NW corner of Iowa it has, once again, been a wet week. There have even been localized rains as high as 6" for the week, although most received significantly less. Getting back to planting, it's has been difficult, and we are lagging the rest of the state in planting progress. We aren't...

Crop Production
May 9, 2016 4:47 PM

Iowa has 80% corn planted as of May 8, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress Report, up from 57% the previous week. The report shows that soybeans planted also made a notable jump from 7% complete on May 1 to 29%.

Many farmers were able to get back in the fields this weekend with a...

Crop Production
May 6, 2016 4:08 PM

I've been getting a lot of questions about needing additional N for corn; growers are torn between putting some UAN in with herbicides vs. spreading urea. I’d caution them against using UAN as a carrier on emerged corn if they are applying herbicides. Yes, there are a few products that allow...

Crop Production, Soil Fertility
May 5, 2016 12:33 PM

My home drinking water source comes from the Xenia Rural Water District. Depending on where you are located within the district, your water comes from an alluvial aquifer, or surface water from the Raccoon River or the Des Moines River. The water is treated and delivered to my home and,...

Crop Production
May 4, 2016 1:58 PM

We have had a couple nice days and farmers are looking forward to some predicted good weather. Farmers are taking this all in stride since many have been through this before.

There has been a fairly abrupt line of heavy rainfall/planting progress in the area....

Crop Production
May 4, 2016 9:39 AM

As of May 1, the USDA reported 57% of corn had been planted in Iowa. See below for area conditions and planting progress around the state from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists. ISU Extension...

Crop Production
May 3, 2016 3:52 PM

The United States has almost half of the corn crop planted for the season at 45% complete, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Progress Report on May 2.

The USDA reported 57% of corn planted in Iowa as of May 1, with the 5-year average being 28%. The...

Crop Production