Dr. Ajay Nair

Associate Professor
Vegetable Extension Specialist
Dr. Ajay Nair

My lab focuses on developing strategies that enhance crop production, soil health, and cropping system profitability in vegetable cropping systems in Iowa. We work on a number of topics including cover crops, compost, biochar, and conservation tillage to build soil organic matter, enhance soil quality, and improve produce quality and yield. In addition the lab focuses on high tunnel crop production, cultivar trials, niche crops, and vegetable transplant production. My lab also engages growers and extension personnel through on-farm research and demonstration trials to enhance sustainability and profitability of our vegetable cropping systems.


Current students:

  • Moriah Bilenky (PhD)
  • Anne Carey(MS)
  • Emma Herrighty (MS)
  • Taylor Mauch (MS)
  • Rachel Perry (MS)

Former students:

  • Kristine Lang (PhD, Spring 2019), Extension Scientist, Midwest Organic Center, Rodale Institute
  • John Krzton-Presson (MS, Spring 2017), Horticulture & Local Foods Program Coordinator, ISU Extension and Outreach.
  • Raymond Kruse (MS, Spring 2016), Agricultural Specialist III, Iowa State University.
  • Dana Jokela (MS, Spring 2016), Owner and operator, Sogn Valley Farm, Cannon Falls, MN (http://sognvalleyfarm.com)
  • Jennifer Tillman (MS, Spring 2015), Organic Certification Specialist, Washington State Department of Agriculture.
  • Brandon Carpenter (MS, Summer 2015), Agricultural Specialist III, Iowa State University.
Area of Expertise: 
Sustainable Vegetable Production
PhD, Michigan State University, 2011
M.S., University of Maine, 2006
B.S., Kerala Agricultural University, India, 2002