The Conaway Ranch is an outdoor laboratory where new ideas can be tested for both agriculture and wildlife. In this regard Conaway has allowed many research projects to be conducted on the ranch including:
- In l999 UC Davis conducted a radio telemetry study on wood ducks to determine survival rates and mortality factors
- In l991-92 in cooperation with the California Waterfowl Association, a research study was conducted to determined invertebrate densities in three different types of farm fields—burned rice stubble, unburned stubble, and fallow set-aside lands.
- In 1991 the California State Legislature, in an effort to improve air quality in the Central Valley passed the Rice Straw Burning Reduction Act to phase out the use of fire as a means for managing rice stubble. The rice industry quickly sought alternative means of managing waste stubble through the invention and use of the “rice roller” an innovative piece of farm equipment that pushes the stubble into the mud where it is decomposed. To acknowledge and celebrate this major achievement, the Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbitt, in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited held a press briefing and tour on the Conaway Ranch where the rice roller was being used.
- From 1991 to the present, the California Waterfowl Association has been conducting waterfowl nesting studies and duck banding to determining nest densities, hatching success, fledging rates, and sources of duckling mortality. This includes active participation in CWA’s Wood Duck Program for 15 years with assistance from UC Davis students.
- In 1995, California Department of Fish and Game and the California Waterfowl Association in cooperation with the Conaway Ranch, initiated a research study to design flushing bars on farm equipment, particularly swathers, to minimize hen mortality (primarily mallards and pheasants) in alfalfa fields when they are mowed for hay
- In 1991-92, in cooperation with UC Davis, the Conaway Ranch was used to test the viability of using the bacteria Lagenidium sp. as a non-chemical means of controlling mosquitoes
- In 1992-1993 in cooperation with Department of Water Resources and Yolo County, a 10,000-acre groundwater recharge study was conducted on the Conaway Ranch.