Cattle Ranges of the Southwest Page: 20 of 32
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out central Texas and of the Southwest generally to select such
as will fully meet the necessities of each case. Precisely how best
to utilize them is not very certain, but several intelligent and wellinformed
ranchers who have been experimenting have offered suggestions
in this direction worthy of consideration. One of them states
that he has within the past three years very materially improved
his range by a very simple method. A few years since, after a very
long, dry spell of weather, being extremely apprehensive that his
pasture might be burned, he plowed furrows across it every forty or
fifty yards, each plowed strip being from 3 to 5 or G feet wide. His
idea was that, like an ordinary roadbed, these bare strips might be of
decided value as fire guards. Fortunately the range was not burned.
By early fall the needles from the needle grass had blown over the
pasture, and millions of them had planted themselves in the soft broken
ground. Other grass seeds had also caught in this soft earth. The
following spring and summer these furrows were thickly seeded down
to a variety of grasses, principally the needle grass. From these seed
beds the spaces between the furrows were largely reseeded, so that by
the following summer he was able to note with satisfaction that his
entire range had been much improved.
Another suggestion is that all the bare spots in the pasture should
be harrowed or the crust otherwise broken and seed from the grasses
known to be valuable should be systematically gathered and sown
there before rains. It is believed that such spots can be covered with
good grasses in a short time. The best grasses can in this way be distributed
over the range, where they will in time contribute largely to
the reseeding. Another stockman suggests that it is not necessary
that furrows be run with plows through the range or that bare spots
be harrowed or otherwise disturbed. His idea is that seed from the
best grasses native to the section should be gathered and scattered
about over the pastures, either when the ground is wet or when rain is
anticipated. He predicts that in this way much can be accomplished
in a few years toward the renewing of the ranges.
A farmer has still another plan to recommend which has been tried
with good results, though on a small scale. He gathered the seeds of
several varieties of grasses, known to be first class, and when there was
a light snow on the ground scattered them over such parts of his pasture
as in his opinion specially needed them. He is confident that the
much-improved condition of the pasture is mainly due to this experiment.
might be multiplied along this line, but quite a sufficient
number have been offered to put those interested to thinking seriously
about the matter. There was a few years since a most beautiful lawn in
front of a residence in Abilene, Tex. The grass was less systematically
and severely regulated as to the length each blade or stem was allowed
to grow than was the case in the neighboring yards and lawns where
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Bentley, Henry Lewis. Cattle Ranges of the Southwest, book, 1898; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2412/m1/20/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .