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.

February 14, 2022 3:35 PM

Foliar fungicides were evaluated across seven Iowa State University research and demonstration farms to determine their performance for disease and yield response on soybean in 2021.

Plant Diseases
February 11, 2022 9:28 AM

Iowa State University’s IPM Team has monitored field crop pests for a long time. The pests have changed over the years, but the goal is the same: to help inform farmers about pest activity in Iowa. Our moth trapping efforts target migratory moths. Black cutworm monitoring is a long-standing...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
February 8, 2022 12:16 PM

Extension specialists at Iowa State and across the U.S. present this new one-hour...

Crop Production
February 4, 2022 1:50 PM

As we move into the final month of meteorological winter, outlooks for February continue to show a classic La Niña (LN) signature across the United States. On the temperature side, above-average probabilities for warmer temperatures are found across the East Coast and throughout much of the Sun...

Crop Production
January 27, 2022 9:47 AM

In 2021, we initiated the first year of the regional corn rootworm monitoring network with the Corn Rootworm IPM working group. This working group was formed to address regional concerns as corn rootworm populations continue to overcome Bt corn hybrids and become more challenging to manage. The...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
January 26, 2022 6:54 PM

Since its discovery as a new species in 2019, soybean gall midge continues to be found in new counties across five states in the Midwest. For some farmers, the presence of soybean gall midge had a significant impact on soybean yield. The persistence of this new pest in existing areas and its...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
January 24, 2022 11:13 AM

Row spacing for both corn and soybean is an important decision to make for any crop producer and can lead to high yielding crops. Corn row spacing is important to maximize yield as well as to keep balanced with economic output.

Corn row widths continue to decrease as time moves forward....

Crop Production
December 13, 2021 11:45 AM

Planting soybean in the same field that just grew soybean is not recommended. Soybean yield will suffer even before factoring in environmental conditions, weather, and pest/disease pressures. 

Four different studies in Minnesota and Wisconsin have shown a yield decline of at least 5% and...

Crop Production
December 6, 2021 2:00 PM

11-1-21 NW Iowa Fall Subsoil measurements

The northwest Iowa fall survey of subsoil moisture completed by Iowa State...

Crop Production
November 12, 2021 10:30 AM

Farmers may be planning to grow soybeans in 2022 in fields cropped to soybeans in 2021 because of high prices and limited availability of inputs for corn production. Doing this in fields infested with the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is always a risky proposition. But growing beans on beans in...

Plant Diseases
November 8, 2021 1:18 PM

Cover crops can enhance soil health by capturing nutrients, slow erosion and can reduce the need for herbicides. Growers face many different decisions in the field, and the latest edition of the Cover Crop Field Guide will assist in some of those choices.


Crop Production
October 28, 2021 3:43 PM

Across Iowa, the forecasted average day/night temperatures are between 30 to 40 degrees F in the coming ten days, so the time is right to cool any grain that went into the bin at higher temperatures. Good harvest conditions and warm weather early this fall mean that there is on-farm grain that...

Grain Handling and Storage
October 28, 2021 12:41 PM

Following up on Meaghan’s blog post on October 5 about sap beetles in corn grain, I received a few more questions about infested bins. There are MANY insects that cause losses in stored grain and food...

Crop Production, Grain Handling and Storage, Insects and Mites
October 25, 2021 3:27 PM

The November and the meteorological winter (December-January-February) temperature and precipitation outlooks were recently released by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Below is a recap of what those outlooks are predicting and the potential impacts those outlooks could have on...

Crop Production
October 19, 2021 11:54 AM

Corn Hybrids

Choosing corn hybrids is one of the most crucial crop management decisions to be made. There are a range of factors to consider, most notably the weather, which makes it difficult as this decision is typically made months in advance of the growing season....

Crop Production
October 14, 2021 10:28 AM

With rising fertilizer prices, and concerns about possible shortages, it pays to time our applications of anhydrous ammonia and manure well. When the value is high, the focus on management is even more important.

Anhydrous costs are reported to have risen to $850 or more per ton.


Soil Fertility
October 5, 2021 8:19 AM

I have yet another weird insect situation to add to what feels like an already comprehensive list of issues for 2021. Last week, a farmer in central Iowa brought a grain sample into an ISU county extension office that was full of small, black beetles. These beetles had survived through the...

Grain Handling and Storage, Insects and Mites
October 1, 2021 10:36 AM

Much of Iowa is currently abnormally dry or in some state of drought according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. If dry field conditions persist, the potential for combine and field fires this fall could...

Equipment and Machinery
September 17, 2021 4:12 PM

2021 has been an unprecedented year for fall armyworms, not just here in Iowa but other states as well. There have been many questions regarding how to manage fall armyworms in hayfields and cover...

Insects and Mites
September 16, 2021 12:21 PM

As corn has quickly reached maturity, the next hurdle of the 2021 growing season is harvest. Stalk quality will be a concern for fields across that state that experienced the stress of too much or not enough moisture. Alison Robertson recently wrote an...

Crop Production
September 16, 2021 10:05 AM

Safety should always be at the forefront of your farming operations, and harvest is no different. When operating large equipment such as combines and grain carts, overhead power lines pose an increased risk to farm safety. An average of 62 people each year are electrocuted when their farm...

Equipment and Machinery
September 16, 2021 7:52 AM

I got invited to SERF (ISU Southeastern Research Farm) field day last week to highlight corn rootworm management. I was easily distracted when it wasn't my stop and started walking around soybean plots looking for insects. [this is a common occurrence with entomologists!] Soybean was in...

Crop Production, Insects and Mites
September 15, 2021 9:50 AM

While the rains the end of August have helped to improve the dry conditions some across the state, the rains also brought along some strong winds and hail that caused some significant crop damage in parts of NE, EC, and SE...

Crop Production
September 14, 2021 7:14 AM

As the 2021 growing season comes to a close, what should you be thinking about in terms of corn disease and how that might impact your harvest plans?

Plant Diseases
September 9, 2021 11:34 AM

As harvest starts to ramp up across Iowa, many people will be evaluating their crop scouting activities from 2021 and starting to make plans for 2022. In a ...

Equipment and Machinery