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.

March 24, 2016 11:37 AM

Adult alfalfa weevils begin moving as soon as temperatures exceed 48°F and begin laying eggs in alfalfa. Alfalfa weevil eggs develop based on temperature, or accumulating degree days, and hatching can start around 200-300 degree days. Start scouting alfalfa fields south of Interstate 80 at 200...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 17, 2016 11:51 AM

Spring seems to have sprung early this year with the beautiful weather and very warm temperatures. I like to take a lap around the office on the Johnson County Fairgrounds a few times during the...

March 16, 2016 7:15 PM

Alison and I spent the week editing the nearly final version of two national publications about corn and soybean diseases. These will be published by our society, APS Press, like the Fungicides for Field Crops ...

Plant Diseases
March 16, 2016 10:37 AM

While walking through the Memorial Union a painting caught my eye. The resemblance between Palmer amaranth seedheads and the artwork was striking, my photography skills not so much.


March 15, 2016 2:44 PM

I was curious to compare growing degree days (GDDs) over the last couple summers. It seemed like 2014 and 2015 were cool, wet springs with a slow start for insects. But I wanted to check actual temperature history instead of relying on my memory. I used the ISU Agronomy...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 14, 2016 3:19 PM

While going through the extension winter gauntlet, I talked a lot about corn rootworm. It is one of most important pests in the Midwest and should be on your mind when deciding on hybrids and insecticides. I often got questions about using stacked and pyramided corn hybrids, and there seemed to...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 13, 2016 7:29 AM

Question: What was the most popular POST herbicide program for corn in Iowa Crop Reporting Districts 1 and 2 (NW and NC Iowa) in 1985?

Answer: 2,4-D + Banvel (dicamba), with 78 and 64% of the acres treated, respectively.

Every time I see an...

March 8, 2016 8:58 AM

Generally speaking, warmer winters mean more insects are likely survive because they aren’t exposed to lower lethal temperatures. An early spring can also benefit insects, particularly those species we consider field crop pests, because they are physically larger when crops emerge and can cause...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 4, 2016 10:15 AM

It’s not easy for insects to survive Iowa winters. Some literally can’t - they freeze to death or migrate away to warmer climates. But many insects have adapted to cold temperatures by entering diapause, which is like hibernation. Diapause is a developmental arrest to survive adverse seasons...

Insects and Mites
March 3, 2016 11:45 AM

Many of you know about naturally-occurring entomopathogens in the soil that can kill or suppress insects. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a well-known example of a bacteria that kills insects, and was eventually included in plants as a transgenic protein. My Ph.D. student, Eric...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
March 3, 2016 10:48 AM

The deadline for farmers to submit data for the "Soybean Yield Benchmarking Project" has been extended to April 1, 2016.

The “Soybean Yield Benchmarking Project” is a collaborative effort and is funded by soybean checkoff funds through the North Central Soybean Research...

Crop Production
February 28, 2016 9:11 AM

The overwintering monarch population in Mexico was reported last week and has increased for the second consecutive year (Figure 1). Four hectares of forest (9.9 acres) were covered with monarchs, up from the low of 0.7 hectares in the winter of 2013-14. While this is good news, the low numbers...

Insects and Mites
February 25, 2016 2:23 PM

This is fourth and final part of a series focused on using multiple, effective herbicide groups at effective rates as part of a long-term weed management system.


Herbicide Resistance
February 23, 2016 9:58 PM

A two-page, print-friendly version of the Herbicide Use May Restrict Grazing Options for Cover Crops is now available to download for free at the Extension Store.

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
February 18, 2016 9:20 AM

This is part three of a four-part series on using multiple, effective herbicide groups at effective rates as part of a long-term weed management system.


Herbicide Resistance
February 15, 2016 6:27 PM

On Feb. 2-3, the Inaugural Soil Health Conference brought 235 people together to discuss and bring awareness to soil health issues.

In addition to influential presentations by invited speakers, the conference had 20...

Soil Management
February 11, 2016 9:44 AM

This is part two of a four-part series on using multiple, effective herbicide groups at effective rates as part of a long-term weed management system.


Herbicide Resistance
February 4, 2016 9:23 AM

This is part one of a four-part series on using multiple, effective herbicide sites of action (herbicide groups) at effective rates as part of a long-term weed management system.


Herbicide Resistance
February 3, 2016 7:52 AM

Last fall, I collected common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) seed to establish some plots on a farmer cooperator's land over the winter. My plan was to seed directly into a standing cool-season grass adjacent to a crop field and determine the effectiveness of this method for plant...

January 19, 2016 3:07 PM

The weed control results from 2015 are now available.  The report includes experiments and demonstrations conducted at several of the Iowa State University Research Farms, as well as farmer fields.  Highlights include experiments that report on herbicide tactics to control waterhemp...

Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
January 13, 2016 2:34 PM

Folks will have the opportunity to learn about building healthy soils on Feb. 2-3 at the Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa at the Inaugural Iowa Soil Health Conference.

Producers, agronomists, faculty, scientists, students, and...

Soils, Soil Fertility, Soil Management
December 22, 2015 7:46 AM

Many people have high expectations for the new herbicide resistant traits, but it’s important to remember that these products are not the next “silver bullet” for successful weed management. A group of weed scientists in the eastern United States evaluated glyphosate resistant (GR) waterhemp and...

December 16, 2015 3:30 PM

The new 2016 Herbicide Guide for Iowa Corn and Soybean Production publication provides information on product and management updates, the role of preemergence herbicides in...

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
December 14, 2015 9:34 PM

It looks like the month of March has arrived in December. 

There have been rain amounts of 1.3 to 2.3 in the area. I know that is not much compared to the 3-4 inches of rain in central Iowa. However, it looks really wet in the area. There is water standing in the fields and water running...

Soil Fertility
December 9, 2015 3:34 PM

Interest in cover crops has dramatically increased due to their many potential benefits. In addition to conservation purposes, cover crops can provide forage for livestock producers. It is important for livestock producers to consider restrictions on labels of herbicides used earlier in the...

Crop Production, Weeds