Lower Ruby flood irrigation improvements
Improving productivity, increasing efficiency and conserving resources are goals we strive for when approaching agricultural projects. Flood irrigating, especially on large fields, can be challenging to say the least. Soil type, crop type, slope and length of field all play vital roles in the success or failure of raising a crop using flood irrigation.
Ranch Resources was tasked with renovating a nearly 80 acre flood field near Twin Bridges, Montana. Before making changes we contracted a pilot to fly the field and map the topography. This revealed that the border dikes were not pointed in the right direction and were causing a lot of the irrigation related issues. RRI staff surveyed the new dike locations after farming and split the field with a lateral ditch to shorten the field length. These cumulative effects drastically improved the ranch’s ability to efficiently irrigate the field, reduced waste water, and increased crop production.
Sheridan montana Low-Input cattle herd transition
The commercial beef industry is a narrow margin business. Markets can be volatile, weather variable, and inputs expensive. For our clients that own their cattle, we are always striving to maximize their profitability while not degrading any of the natural resources on their property.
For one Sheridan commercial beef operation, we transitioned from a high input, late winter calving program, to a low input late spring calving and year round grazing program. By changing the calving date we changed the timing of the cow’s nutrient requirements, thus allowing for year round grazing. By not having to feed expensive hay for almost half the year we were able to greatly reduce our input costs, which more than offset the lighter calves. The end result is a more profitable cattle enterprise that has fewer labor demands.
Paradise Valley Grazing Management
On many of our client properties, carefully controlled livestock grazing is desired for generating revenue, managing vegetation and remaining a part of local agricultural communities. However, most of our clients do not have the time nor expertise needed to inventory pasture resources, develop grazing plans, monitor livestock utilization or administer grazing leases.
Ranch Resources has assisted one of our clients in the Paradise Valley for over 15 years to develop and implement a sustainable grazing program on 4700 acres of native rangeland and 3200 acres of introduced and irrigated pasture. Each year we update the ranch grazing plan based on landowner objectives and resource concerns. We then review pasture condition and grazing provisions with the local cattle producer who leases the pasture. We monitor livestock activity throughout the growing season, insuring that natural resource values are protected. At the end of each grazing season we visit with the lessee to review utilization records and calculate actual use and lease payments.