Ground Cover is Essential for Drought Resistance

Ground cover, both litter and dense perennial grasses, is invaluable during the frequent dry periods of West Central Texas. (Or any other area for that matter.)

The small showers of the past few weeks have resulted in excellent growth of cool season grasses within these areas, while just a few feet from this promising forage growth the bare ground is showing no green except for a few small ground hugging weeds. These areas don’t just happen, it takes good grazing management to produce this scenario on a scale large enough to provide needed forage for the livestock enterprise.

The perennial Canada Wildrye and annual Rescue Grass are found within the pictures. Note the annual broomweed in the pictures. It does not appear to have been detrimental to the health of the grassland ecosystem, even provided some cover and seeds for the quail. (If there are any to be found.)

Second picture shows a transition from bare ground to healthier range site.DSC00937DSC00939

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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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