We manage water in two ways; first, we aim to capture every drop of precipitation that falls on the ranch. Second, we try to disperse water sources to aid in even grazing distribution.
The best way to capture and hold precipitation is to maintain grass cover year-round. When bare soil is exposed, rainfall runs off quickly because there is nothing to hold it there. The impact of the raindrops destroys the soil structure at the surface, which seals off the soil from absorbing more moisture. Without a cover, bare soil also heats up quicker in the sunlight and more soil moisture is lost to evaporation. Keeping a good cover of living plants and old organic matter is a top priority.
The ranch is serviced by four wells, four rural water hookups, 29 dams and dugouts, two developed springs, and 20 stock tanks. All but a handful of pastures have access to a stock tank, allowing the cattle access to fresh water even in dry years. By having so many watering points, we are able to affect the grazing distribution of the cattle and achieve a more uniform utilization of each pasture.Pouring cement for a new water tank.