Turner Bison Exchange

Z Bar Ranch

Z Bar Ranch


Location - Lake City, Kansas

Year Acquired - 1999

Size - 42,500 acres

Cows Exposed - 755

Cow to Bull Ratio - 13:1

Maximum Bull Age - 13 years

Maximum Cow Age - 23 years

Management Overview

The Z Bar ranch is a 42,500 acre ranch located in the Gyp Hills region of south central Kansas.  This ranch showcases how mixed grass rangeland can be restored to a healthy state using good management practices, rotational grazing and fire.  Our management philosophy is a healthy native range site for raising bison that is both economically and ecologically sustainable. 

Breeding Herd

The Z Bar’s breeding herd was reduced from 1,300 head to its current size several years ago due to extended drought.  We are slowly rebuilding herd numbers as range condition warrants.  Our breeding herd is run as a single group and is rotationally grazed year-round through the ranch’s 20 pastures, which range in size from 265 to 4,108 acres. 

In the dormant season, the breeding herd is fed an average of 1# of protein per head per day to augment digestion of lower quality warm season grasses which dominate the range.  The main herd is accustomed to both vehicles and four wheelers.  Animals are fed only prairie hay, if needed, during our annual works.  All breeding herd animals are worked in February when most calves are already naturally weaned.

Calves / Yearlings

During bison works in February the weaned calves and cull animals are separated from the breeding herd.  Calves are fed cake and hay during a short time in corrals, then are put on pasture for the winter where they are supplemented with protein over the winter.  These animals are rotationally grazed, moved and handled like the main herd.  Auction animals will be selected based on good conformation and will be the top gaining grass animals based on grass weights from the last 10 months.

All bison are trained to respect electric fence (5 wires, 1 hot) and conditioned to come to the cake truck only when a signal horn is sounded.

All ranch hands are trained in low stress livestock handling techniques which are utilized each time animals are moved or handled.


The Z Bar bison are naïve to mycoplasma.  They have never experienced this disease, but are vaccinated.