Some of you might be curious how Ian’s ranch is laid out. What I’m referring to is paddock design and water points. Truth be told his ranch is laid out simply and I think that’s brilliant. His ranch is about 15,000 acres more or less, so KISS (keep it simple stupid) is a good attitude to have!
Lets take a look at my awesome drawing of Ian’s ranch. Don’t be jealous of my awesome computer drawing skills.
This professional drawing is only one side of his ranch. William, his son manages the other side. For now, we’ll stick to the side Ian manages.
Each paddock division is 250 meters wide or 750 feet. Additionally every paddock goes down to the river, which is his water source. Most if not all paddocks are not blocked at the river to prevent the livestock from going to the other side. This means that paddocks could easily be miles long.
Ian subdivides these long, skinny paddocks by placing portable electric fencing across the paddocks which are displayed in red on the drawing. As of right now the cattle are being moved 3-4 times a day by a stockman. They can then travel back to the river to get water. When the herd is moved to a new paddock, they start near the river and work their way in the opposite direction, which hopefully you can see from my drawing as well. Each paddock will last only about 2-3 days and this is to prevent overgrazing and allow an adequate recovery period for the grasses.
I hope those of you who have been curious how his ranch is designed have benefited from this explanation. However I want to touch on how the smaller farmer, rancher or homesteader could learn from this design.
In my drawing I’ve also included a blue circle labeled “water tank.” Ian does not have a water tank in this spot. This was done to give you guys and gals working on smaller pieces of land an idea of how you could use this same design/idea on your own land. Instead of viewing the drawing as 7,000 acres which it is when you are looking at Ian’s ranch, imagine it’s your property. Maybe you have 35 acres. I think one or two water points in the center of your land, mimicking the river shown in my drawing, would be a great idea. You don’t need to move water tanks into and out of each temporary paddock your livestock are in if you design them in a way to gives your livestock access to the water. Ian’s ranch is the ultimate situation when it comes to the water source. However, we can learn from this and try to incorporate some of the ideas into our own operations.
Ian has told me that “The last time I checked cattle or any livestock for that matter have 4 legs! Why bring water to them?” I think these are some wise words that we can learn from. Keeping it simple and making our livestock walk to water will save us time, money and hopefully add value to the quality of our lives, which is what it’s really all about.
What do you guys and gals think about this KISS idea for watering livestock? Thanks for reading!