Identifying unproductive land for wildlife habitat

Economics of wildlife habitat

The idea of making more money by doing less is one that is unfamiliar to most farmers.
However, sometimes this becomes the case after landowners have critically looked at their land
and the true profit from each acre farmed.

In most fields between 3% and 15% of acres are unprofitable. These acres have a return on
investment (ROI) of 0% or less. While it can be attempted to improve this land’s productivity by
investing more time and money into it, sometimes the right choice is take this land out of
production. Alternative management strategies such as the Conservation Reserve Program
(CRP), can provide annual payments to landowners who convert their land into a wildlife
habitat.

Converting unproductive land to profitable land

One case study using the USDA NRCS pollinator program found that by converting unprofitable land into the pollinator management program increased the entire profit of the field by $30 an acre.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to increase the profit and biodiversity of a field can be
overlooked if a landowner does not know the ROI for each acre. Previously, such knowledge
required tedious, time consuming data configuration. Now it is easily accessible in the form of a
software from AgSolver, a precision agriculture company in Ames, Iowa.

Profit Zone Manager

The software is called Profit Zone Manager and works by taking in data from field monitors and
converting it into profit maps. These profit maps can show acre by acre ROI in dollars and cents.
By looking at these maps, it is easy to see exactly where money is lost and money is gained
throughout a field.
Unproductive land
Profit Zone Manager also has the ability to predict different scenarios. This means that without ever leaving their chair a landowner can view the profit and loss possible from different alternative management systems when applied to their field.

With a profit map, the decision to convert unproductive land into alternate management systems is much more plain. The economic gains can become obvious. And suddenly, doing less means more.

About the Author: Ben Sloan

As the AgSolver product manager, Ben manages and leads the development of our applications and products. He also leads the AgSolver social media and marketing campaigns and works along with our customer service employees. Ben received his BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2013, both from Iowa State University. Ben uses his past experiences to bring engaging products to our customers that help them gain unique insights into their operations.

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