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 18, 2022 7:52 AM

The most effective way to make treatments decisions for pests with chewing mouthparts (e.g., Japanese beetle, bean leaf beetle, caterpillars, and grasshoppers) is to estimate defoliation. I’m a “lumper” and don’t try too hard to distinguish feeding by species. Replicated data over multiple...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 13, 2022 2:00 PM

Iowa Soil Health Workshop Planned for August 4th

Topics will include fertility tests, cover crops, and evaluating soil health with a microscope

A soil health workshop will be held Aug. 4 at Iowa State University’s Field Extension Education...

Crop Production, Soils, Weeds
July 13, 2022 10:04 AM

While there was some much-needed rain across the state last week, the rain also brought some wind with it as well that resulted in lodged or leaning corn as well as some greensnap in fields. In addition to the wind damage, herbicide injury in soybeans, tar spot concerns, and Japanese beetles...

Crop Production
July 12, 2022 2:24 PM

Western and northern corn rootworm are serious pests of corn throughout the Corn Belt. We recommend that farmers scout every cornfield every year, regardless of the management tactic(s) used, to evaluate management decisions and prepare for next year. It is a good idea to scout for larvae early...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
July 8, 2022 9:59 AM

In the evening hours of July 5, 2022, a derecho moved through South Dakota into northwest Iowa.  Gusts in South Dakota were as high as 99 mph with winds that lasted up to 20 minutes.  The path of the storm’s length was about 600 miles.  A...

Crop Production
July 7, 2022 4:25 PM

30 a.m.

The annual ISU Extension & Outreach Iowa State Fair Weed Identification Contest will be held on...

July 6, 2022 5:04 PM

Herbicide injury in soybean, Japanese beetles, potato leafhoppers in alfalfa, tar spot being found in Marshall and Jones counties (and some additional counties since) at low levels, and some hail damage in NE Iowa were some of the issues observed by ISU Extension field agronomists this last week...

Crop Production
June 30, 2022 1:38 PM

In pathology, we joke that to control a disease, just put a research plot out, and you’re guaranteed no disease. A couple of days ago I blogged about tar spot, hoping for a similar effect.  Alas,...

Plant Diseases
June 28, 2022 10:33 PM

While most areas received some needed rain last week, some areas in Western Iowa continue to miss out on the rain or get minimal amounts of rain and it’s starting to show more in the crops. Getting out in the fields, some pests or issues observed by...

Crop Production
June 28, 2022 8:55 AM

Are you using the Tarspotter app this year? If you are, you may have noticed that the forecast for tarspot is high for Iowa. In addition, The Cruz Lab in Indiana tweeted they had found tar...

Plant Diseases
June 21, 2022 11:56 AM

Isolated hail and wind damage, iron deficiency chlorosis, herbicide damage, and moisture stress (too much or too little depending upon the area) were some of the big issues that ISU Extension field agronomists noted in fields across the state. Read on to for more specifics about what’s happening...

Crop Production
June 17, 2022 11:09 AM

Today, while scouting for bean leaf beetle south of Ames, my lab found a few early vegetative plants with soybean aphid. Actually, it was Ashley Dean who found them. It was the ants moving on plants that caught her eye. Taking a closer look revealed a few small aphid colonies feeding on the...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 15, 2022 12:12 PM

While in westcentral Iowa yesterday setting up some small plot experiments, I got distracted by a long stretch of grass alongside a cornfield. I noticed some “deadheads” among the green plants and decided to dig a little deeper.


Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 15, 2022 7:25 AM

Farmers and farm businesses are invitied to join us on July 7 at Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Crawfordsville for our Agronomy Workshop and Certified Crop Advisor Training in the morning and our Summer Field Day in the afternoon. These events are being hosted by the research...

Crop Production
June 14, 2022 11:52 PM

While parts of western Iowa seem to miss the rain or get small amounts of rain, other parts of the state received over 3 inches of rain this past week and experienced flooding. Unfortunately, some areas, particularly southwest and south-central Iowa, received some significant hail damage as well...

Crop Production
June 10, 2022 12:10 AM

The month of June has come roaring in with severe weather affecting crops in many different areas. This blog with briefly discuss some management considerations and resources associated with different types of early-season crop injury.


Some areas received...

Crop Production
June 9, 2022 9:37 AM

Last year, entomologists and field specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach received many questions about effective management of corn rootworms as populations have increased in the past two years and farmers have experienced enhanced root injury during drought conditions....

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
June 7, 2022 3:50 PM

Cutworms and armyworms, flooding, replant considerations, and weed management/herbicide application considerations were some of the more common questions ISU Extension Field Agronomists received over this last week. Read on for more specifies about what is happening and being seen across the...

Crop Production
June 7, 2022 9:26 AM

Postemergence herbicide application season is already upon us in much of Iowa, but with the delayed crop planting in some areas, it may extend through much of the month of June. Herbicide application timing should always focus on the sizes of weeds targeted but remember that many products use...

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
June 1, 2022 10:39 PM

Regional Update: May 23 – June 1, 2022   

With planting wrapping up across the state, the attention is focusing to taking the first cutting of alfalfa, herbicide applications, and starting sidedressing nitrogen in corn. Read on to hear what ISU Extension Field Agronomist’...

Crop Production
June 1, 2022 5:37 PM

The trapping season for true armyworm (TAW) and black cutworm (BCW) has come to an end. We appreciate our cooperators for tirelessly checking traps over the last two months and reporting their captures so we can provide the most accurate scouting information for these pests. To recap, we had 44...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 31, 2022 12:57 PM

Recent surveying suggests that farmers and their advisors are interested in receiving short bursts of information via text messaging. We formed the Iowa Pest Alert Network with the goal of providing short, timely insect pest updates to farmers and advisors through text messages. These updates...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
May 26, 2022 10:01 AM

This year’s Weed Science Field Day will be held on Thursday, July 14 at the Iowa State University Curtiss Farm, Ames, IA.

Although the 2022 cold and wet spring has significantly delayed corn and soybean planting in Iowa, we are still on track to demonstrate corn and soybean research plots...

Crop Production, Weeds, Herbicide Resistance
May 25, 2022 11:15 AM

Last week, moth flights into Iowa continued to decrease compared to previous weeks. In total, our cooperators captured 38 true armyworm (TAW) moths and 65 black cutworm (BCW) moths during Week 8 (May 15 to May 21).

Week 8 report:

Nearly all TAW moths were...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites