The Value of Soil Cover

Bare soil seldom assists nature in moving forward the many ‘gifts’ she has to offer when referring to healthy rangeland. Conversely, soil cover is what she asks for to move the rangeland forward to a healthy environmentally productive state. Cover of the soil is generally a simple process, as it may be perennial grass/forbs and the root systems associated with them, it may be litter being, old decaying plants and it might be annual plants that at least offer a start to healthy rangeland. Hopefully a combination of the above are what we as rangeland managers can offer what the Lord created in the form of nature. Without those tools erosion and drought will prevail, reducing our rangeland resource to potentially desertifying ruin. Taking the time to understand the processes and properly applying them, is certain worth the effort and the ranching operation can realize consistent profitability during the process.



Diversity of plants is very important within healthy rangelands. Picture shows Canada Wildrye, Side Oats, Big Blue. Indian Grass and many other plants. Albeit within what used to be nothing more than a ‘Rock Pile’.DSC00868

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Rangelands and Ranching: A Study of Proper Use of Rangelands & the Environment by Frank S Price

My son and I ranch a cow-calf, wooled sheep and hair sheep operation in West Central Texas. We operate 7 different grazing units and utilize a single herd, traditional pasture grazing program within all these units. My son represents is the 5th generation of this enterprise that was started in 1876 by my great grandfather. He and his brother began by driving a herd of cattle from Ennis Texas to Santa Anna Texas, ultimately driving the herd of cattle they had built to Kansas markets and returned to Sterling County, to begin a permanent ranching operation. Rainfall within our scattered operations runs from 17” to 20”. The winters, while going into the single digits on occasion are relatively mild compared to ranches further north, resulting in mostly mild winters producing usable cool season growth along with the dominant warm season plants.

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