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.

October 27, 2015 11:06 AM

By: Rachel Klein

New online options were introduced in October 2015 for the Manure Applicator Certification Program to help applicators across the state become certified and meet requirements...

Crop Production, Soil Fertility
October 22, 2015 2:52 PM

By: Greg Brenneman

In the past couple of weeks a lot of corn and soybeans went into storage with temperatures in the 60s. With grain this warm, moisture migration within the grain mass and spoilage can occur very quickly, even with fairly dry grain.

With average daily temperatures...

Crop Production
October 20, 2015 2:45 PM

By Clarke McGrath and Mark Hanna

It’s always difficult to forecast weather, but if dry field conditions persist, the potential for combine and field fires this fall will continue to be a problem. There have already been dozens of significant field fires around the state,...

Crop Production
October 16, 2015 11:02 AM

By: Clarke McGrath

It’s NH3 season, so here are some safety reminders from a guy who has seen how badly NH3 can injure people, first-hand. We work around it so much that sometimes we forget how caustic and dangerous it is.

Crop Production
October 14, 2015 4:26 PM

By: Mahdi M Al-Kaisi

The Inaugural Soil Health Conference “Strategies for Building Healthy Soils” will be February 2-3, 2016 at the Scheman Building in Ames, Iowa. The goal of this conference is to increase awareness and understanding of soil health as a pivotal measure to...

Soil Management
October 14, 2015 10:05 AM

By: Rebecca Ahlers

As a field agronomist, you see all sorts of interesting things in fields and never know what you may come across. I've seen and heard of slug injury early on in soybeans, but snails?


Crop Production, Insects and Mites
October 9, 2015 4:44 PM

By: Clarke McGrath

In running plots and talking with growers the last week or so, the shift to more “fall-like” temperatures has people thinking, “Maybe I can run some fall NH3 while (if) I am held up waiting on trucks, grain drying, or other typical fall delays.”

Having been...

Soils, Soil Fertility, Soil Management
October 7, 2015 4:24 PM

By: Clarke McGrath

Stalk rot issues have only gotten worse in recent weeks; in some cases, a lot worse. Stalk rot and resultant standability challenges have reportedly been issues across much of the state, and are not hard to find in most of southwest and west central Iowa.


Crop Production, Plant Diseases
October 7, 2015 11:57 AM

By: Daren Mueller and graduate students, Xavier Phillips and Chelsea Harbach

Green and purple soybean stems

Some are noticing plants with green, yellow or purple...

Crop Production, Plant Diseases
October 2, 2015 11:20 AM

A couple of farm visits took me from Emmetsburg to Cylinder to Ringsted on October 1. I am guessing the soybean harvest in those areas is about half done. 

The big news this year is that we are seeing some exceptional soybean yields. There are lots of credible reports of 60 bu/a whole...

Crop Production
September 29, 2015 9:04 AM

Pine seed bug

As harvest begins and other plants in the landscape senesce, many insects and arthropods move to find overwintering habitat. Sometimes...

Insects and Mites, Pesticide Education
September 11, 2015 3:03 PM

Crop development progress is looking good in northwest Iowa. We are seeing corn that is in the 1/2 milk line stage as well as a few fields that have reached black...

Crop Production
September 11, 2015 12:14 PM

All across Iowa, the edges of woods are lined with plants bearing clusters of white flowers.  There's a good likelihood those plants are white snakeroot, a native perennial in the Asteraceae family.   The plant is best known for its role in milk sickness, an ailment responsible for the death of...

September 8, 2015 8:54 AM

A new UNL Yield Forecast came out last Friday. The high probability of near- or above-average yields continues at all Iowa locations. The Sutherland and Kanawha locations still have considerable probability of below normal yields. The Lewis location has greater than a 99% probability of...

Crop Production
September 7, 2015 12:36 PM

Short Version:  493 miles in 12 hours; 2 out of 3 known Palmer amaranth sites well managed; no new infestations found.

Long Version:  I went to the three Palmer amaranth infestations in western Iowa that I am aware of.  This is...

September 1, 2015 7:29 AM

An extension client asked why waterhemp that survive a postemergence herbicide often develop into a bushy plant with an abnormally thick stem.  The short answer would be the plant was too big when it was sprayed, but I trust this person wanted a more in-depth response.


August 25, 2015 7:50 PM

One of the first memories of my extension career is a farmer from northwest Iowa explaining his approach to managing the weed seedbank. He stated that he carried a box of atrazine 90DF in his combine. Whenever he encountered a velvetleaf or cocklebur he would stop, pull the offending weed, place...

August 25, 2015 9:19 AM

The last few weeks have been full of soybean aphid discussions. Populations have been going up, down and otherwise looked sort of bumpy this summer. Many fields exceeded the economic threshold of 250 per plant and were treated with foliar insecticides in August, particularly in northern Iowa. My...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 24, 2015 1:05 PM

Burcucumber and wild cucumber (AKA wild balsam apple) are weedy members of the cucumber family.  They are frequently found along river bottoms and other wet areas, and may cause serious problems due to their ability to climb and smother small to medium sized trees.  Burcucumber is more likely to...

August 19, 2015 4:23 PM

We have experienced quite a turnaround in weather the last four days.  Last Sunday August 16 – we were experiencing dry soil, high temperatures and crop stress.  After a late Sunday afternoon rain shower of around 0.5 inch – things were looking good. 

However, the...

Crop Production
August 14, 2015 4:32 PM

The new Yield Forecast came out from the UNL project on today. There is a high probability of near- or above-average yields at all six Iowa locations with 95% probability being near- or above average at all locations except northwest and north central Iowa. The range of yield potentials forecast...

Crop Production
August 14, 2015 9:42 AM

Corn rootworm adult emergence is underway in Iowa. The three species of rootworm found in Iowa include the northern corn rootworm (NCR), southern corn rootworm (SCR), and western corn rootworm (WCR). Adults of all three species can be found until the first frost. Knowing how to distinguish the...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
August 13, 2015 7:23 AM

Wild parsnip is an invasive plant commonly found in roadsides, pastures, restored prairies and other areas with full sun and minimal disturbance.  It is a biennial that forms a rosette with 'celery-like leaves' (Fig. 1.) and an umbel with yellow flowers (Fig. 2).  It contains a class of...

August 10, 2015 8:21 AM

The annual ISU-Iowa State Fair Weed Identification Contest is this Friday, August 14, from 9:00 - 11:00 AM in front of the John Deere Agriculture Building.  With three divisions (Future Agronomists, General, and Professional) it is indeed fun for the entire family.  See how your weed ID skills...

August 10, 2015 7:37 AM

Figure 1.  A poison ivy trifoliate leaf.


In the past few weeks I've had at least five inquiries regarding a...