Monitoring at Midbar Ranch
Midbar Ranch is situated in the Bootheel of southwestern New Mexico.
Since 1992 the ranch has conducted production/utilization studies twice a year to monitor forage. The studies have shown a steady upward trend in range conditions. They also show a healthy variety of grasses, forbs and shrubs suitable for wildlife and livestock grazing and browsing. Among them are: grama grasses (black, blue, hairy, sideoats and sprucetop), plains lovegrass, sand dropseed, aristida, cane beardgrass, cane bluestem, galleta, tobosa, bottlebrush, squirreltail, bullgrass, deergrass, wolftail, Arizona cottontop, little bluestem, Indian ricegrass, Arizona fescue, bitterweed, gumweed, wooly Indian wheat, mat muley, chess downy, muttongrass, Santa Rita threeawn, junegrass, ryegrass, curly mesquite, vine mesquite, buckwheat and mountain mahogany.
The ranch also keeps detailed precipitation records. Rain gauges are placed in 7 locations throughout the ranch and are read following individual precipitation events. There is also a network of 14 additional rain gauges located at the vegetation monitoring sites which are read twice a year – late June and late October when the studies are conducted. A mixture of oil and anti-freeze inside these gauges prevents evaporation allowing for accurate readings. 21 years of rain records show an average yearly precipitation of 13.58 inches with a few years reaching 20 inches and one year recording 9.61 inches.
"I want to thank you for the outstanding approach you take to cattle grazing on the Forest with your efforts to rotate, use and properly manage the landscape. It is the best example I have seen and will provide long-term benefits in natural resource management for years to come."
Staff Officer (retired)
U.S. Forest Service
"We were quite impressed with your grazing management... (i.e. high residue levels) and progressive approach to ranching"
J. Holochek, PhD
Eminent Range Scientist