Turner Bison Exchange

Bad River Ranch


Ranch Review - Bad River Ranch

Location – Fort Pierre, South Dakota

Size – 141,000 acres

Cows Exposed – 3200

Cow: Bull Ratio – 13:1

Maximum bull age – 6yrs

Management Overview

The Bad River Ranch is a 141,000-acre property located in the mixed grass prairies of central South Dakota.  Ted purchased the ranch in 1999 with bison production, land restoration, and conservation in mind.  Our goals are range and habitat conservation and restoration, improving habitat for native species.  While doing this, we have one of the largest bison herds in South Dakota that is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.    

Breeding Herd: Our maternal bison herd, because of size, is divided and run in two herds.  They are both managed as a production herd grazing year-round with minimal supplementation.  We currently have 34 pastures that we rotationally graze with the herds.  We utilize low-stress livestock handling techniques when moving and handling the animals, and take animal welfare very seriously. Cows are pregnancy checked, vaccinated for Mycoplasma and wormed every fall/winter.  Open cows are normally culled from the herd in normal growing conditions.    

Yearling Herd: Our calves are weaned in the late fall and early winter.  All heifers are calf hood vaccinated with RB 51 for Brucellosis.  At weaning, the calves are held in large groups, being fed hay and cake and are taught to respect and avoid a partial electric fence that is in their holding pasture.  During this time, they are handled and herded on foot and ATV’s being taught to receive and give to pressure.  Extensive use of the cake truck teaches them to respond to its presence and use.  This “training” at the age of weaning helps them successfully graze the ranch, respecting both humans and fences.  Many of the cross fences on Bad River Ranch are only two wire electric fences, which successfully contains the herds. 

During weaning, the calves are fed hay and cake seven days a week until the spring green up at which time they begin receiving only minimal supplementation for the rest of their time on the ranch.  They are grazed on large yearling herds for the summer and coming winter until going into the breeding herd or the on ranch feeding facilities.   

The Bad River Ranch bison herd is naive to Mycoplasma.  It has never experienced an outbreak of this disease.