Best Practices for Managing Livestock on a Ranch in Texas

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Managing livestock on a Texas ranch comes with its unique challenges and opportunities. As a Texas ranch owner, it is important to install healthy practices to ensure the sustainability of your livestock operation. In this article, we will explore some of the best practices to manage livestock in Texas.

Best Practices for Rotational Grazing

Implementing a rotational grazing system can maximize forage productivity on a property. Survey the grazing areas of your ranch and divide them into smaller pastures. Then, rotate your herd from pasture to pasture throughout the year. Rotating your herd allows food sources to recover and prevents overgrazing of the ranch. Keep in mind how many acres of land you will need in each pasture to sustain your herd. For example, across Texas, the ratio of cows to acres of native pasture varies. In East Texas, the ratio is around 1 cow per 3-6 acres. Yet, in the Texas Hill Country, the ratio increases to around 1 cow per 15-60 acres. The ratio of cows to pastureland depends on factors like soil, rainfall, and land management.

Livestock Water Requirements

Along with many foraging options, be sure your ranch has a clean water supply for your herd. Install water sources in each pasture of your property. Wells, stock tanks, and water troughs are all examples of adequate water sources. Each source varies in cost of implementation but will be able to cater to your livestock’s needs nonetheless. Always check and maintain water sources year-round. Winter freezes can do just as much damage to a ranch’s water supply as a drought can.

Fencing and Infrastructure

Invest in sturdy fences to secure your livestock and manage their movements. Strong perimeter fences and cross-fences can help with rotational grazing and herd relocation. Corrals, chutes, and other facilities can also improve livestock management and healthcare practices.

Pasture Management and Weed Control

Effective pasture management practices are essential to maintaining healthy grazing areas. Invasive weeds and brush will inevitably grow and compete with forage resources. It is necessary to monitor the grazing areas and remove any invasive species. Consider methods such as mechanical, targeted herbicide application, or prescribed burns for removal. Always keep in mind environmental regulations and sustainability practices.

Livestock Nutritional Management

Consult a livestock nutritionist to help develop a nutritional plan for your herd. It is important to balance rations and ensure access to forage, hay, and other food sources on your ranch. Consistently track the body condition of your animals to make necessary adjustments to their diet.

Maintaining a Healthy Herd 

Establish a relationship with a veterinarian who can provide check-ups for your livestock. They will help you develop a health program and keep accurate records of treatments and breeding cycles for your herd. The veterinarian will also be a source of wisdom for you and your ranch. 

Herd Monitoring and Record Keeping

Tracking livestock performance is necessary to sustain a successful livestock operation. Breeding records, health treatments, and feed bills must be recorded. With these records, you will be able to identify trends and make informed management decisions.

Conclusion

Managing livestock on a ranch in Texas requires a combination of sound management practices and an understanding of the challenges of your unique landscape. By implementing these practices you can optimize the productivity of your livestock operation. 

If you are looking to find a piece of Texas land to begin your livestock operation, contact TX Real Estate today. We are a Texas Ranch Brokerage specializing in premier real estate and Texas cattle ranches for sale. Contact us today and a Farm & Ranch Agent will be happy to assist you. 

 

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