Precision Conservation

Do you have issues with consistently low yields in sections of your agricultural fields? Do you continue to farm those marginal areas with the hopes that production will increase?

Corn field

Would you be interested in finding solutions to increase whole-field profitability by converting those marginal acres to perennial vegetation? Then look no further…precision conservation can create ‘win-win’ solutions for you to maximize whole-field profitability while reducing the impacts on the environment (e.g., reduced soil erosion, water runoff, etc.). Precision conservation is a new method aimed at using spatial tools to:

  1. Identify opportunities on the landscape for conservation enrollment
  2. Can help land managers improve whole-field profitability by farming the best yielding acres while conserving the marginal (or low yielding acres)

Also see research conducted by McConnell and Burger 2011 on how precision conservation can improve whole-field profitability.

corn yields
A recent example from Melissa Shockman (North Dakota Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist;@NoDakDemeter) illustrating the benefits of precision conservation.

The Applied Wildlife Spatial Ecology Lab focuses on developing innovative solutions to the growing wildlife conservation and management needs in multi-functional landscapes where there are competing interests for agricultural production, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem services. This is where Precision Conservation comes into play! Our lab and larger inter-disciplinary research team is currently working on new methods and techniques to improve natural resource conservation while simultaneously increasing their profits. To learn more about precision conservation, contact Dr. Andrew Little at

Photos by Ryan Heiniger | @FarmrHuntr