Cattle Ranges of the Southwest Page: 15 of 32
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HOW THE STOCK RANGES MAY BE RENEWED.
In considering the question of how the ranges may be renewed, the
ideas and opinions of the leading stockmen have been solicited. Their
suggestions as to the best remedial methods to be employed for bringing
the land back to its primal stock-carrying capacity are here given.
NO MORE OVERSTOCKING OF THE RANGES.
There must be no more overstocking of the ranges. On the contrary,
as far as practicable, the land must be rested systematically. Some of
the leading stockmel of the section are now dividing lp their holdings
into winter and summer pastures, one being held exclusively for winter
use, and no stock being allowed to go into it until after the grasses
have ripened and shed their seed, the other being used for spring
and sumlmer grazing. An enterprising stockman of Mitchell County
reports that in two years, under such treatment, he nearly doubled the
capacity of a pasture of about four sections. Riding over this pasture,
notes were made of the different varieties of grasses. About fifty were
found, more than double as many as were growing on adjoining lands
where his cattle were and had been running during tlhe spring and
summer months. The reasons for this are obvious, and the good sense
of the plan is plainly apparent. This gentleman never allows his stock
to run on any one pasture longer than for sixty to ninety days, when
they are transferred to another. There is good reas n to believe that
by adopting this plan the pastures could in a few years be brought
back measurably to their original capacity for supporting stock.
SELECTION OF THE BEST GRASSES.
But something further will be necessary than merely securing more
grass or forage. Not only must the stock be given plenty of grass, but
it must be the best quality of grass obtainable. In a collection of the
native grasses of central Texas referred to the Division of Agrostology
for determination there were many varieties that occur in
great abundance all over the range country. Some have the appearance
of being excellent grasses, although careful consideration of them
demonstrates that they are not really valuable, because not relished by
cattle. On the other hand, several varieties that did not look promising
were found to possess very superior qualities. Quality rather than
quantity should be the controlling idea. For instance, an acre of sedge
(Cyperus) will produce more herbage than an acre of blue grama (Bouteloua
oligostachya), but the latter will be worth much more than the
former for pasturage. Of all persons the stockman should be the most
interested and the best informed as to the relative feeding value of the
grasses. He should study them carefully and fully, so that in the
efforts he must constantly make to improve his range he will be in a
position to secure the best results by taking care of and propagating
only such varieties as will pay for the care and trouble.
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Bentley, Henry Lewis. Cattle Ranges of the Southwest, book, 1898; Washington. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2412/m1/15/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .