The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes Rory Maguire, an associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, for enhancing the profitability and sustainability of farms while protecting the environment.
Farming activities, especially animal production, are under increasing regulatory pressures because of concerns over excessive losses of nutrients that can harm water quality.
Maguire’s research and extension activities revolve around improving the efficiency of manure nutrient management, using innovative approaches to protect the environment while enhancing the profitability and sustainability of farming systems.
This involves several approaches, from changing how manure is applied to chemically treating manure to change its characteristics, It also involves alternate uses, such as manure to energy.
Maguire uses new technologies to inject liquid or dry manures under the soil surface to improve the efficiency of manure management. This dramatically decreases nutrient runoff during rain storms, and helps ensure more nitrogen is available to crops.
He compares injection technologies to standard surface applications, and measures nutrient losses in runoff, ammonia volatilization, and response of crops to the nitrogen being placed in the soil system.
He also has ongoing projects looking at converting manure into biochar, an additive which enhances soil and may be valuable for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Maguire received his doctoral degree from the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He joined Virginia Tech in 2006 from the faculty of North Carolina State University.