Turner Bison Exchange

Z Bar Ranch


Ranch Review - Z Bar Ranch LLC

Location- Lake City, Kansas

Ranch Size- 42,500 acres

Cows Exposed- 755

Cow: Bull Ratio- 13:1

Maximum bull age- 13yrs

Maximum cow age- 23yr

Management overview

The Z Bar’s management goal is a healthy native range site that is economically and ecologically sustainable.  Located in the Gyp Hills region of south central Kansas, the ranch showcases how mixed grass rangeland can be restored to a healthy state using good management practices, rotational grazing and fire.  Our animals are rotationally grazed through the ranch’s 20 pastures, which range in size from 265 to 4108 acres, using low stress handling practices.

Breeding herd: The Z Bar’s breeding herd was reduced from 1,300 head to its current size several years ago due to drought.  Our breeding herd is run as a single unit year-round.  All animals are moved using low stress handling techniques about every two weeks during the growing season, and less often in the dormant season.  A limited amount of 20% protein cake is fed during the summer for moving and training purposes.  Starting in the fall dormant season, the cow herd is fed an average of 1# of protein per head per day to augment digestion of poor quality warm season grasses which dominated range.  The main herd is accustomed to both vehicles and four wheelers.  Animals are only fed prairie hay, if needed, during our annual works.  All main herd animals are worked in February and calves are weaned then.  

Yearling herd: All February weaned calves and cull animals are run separately from the main breeding herd for the winter and spring months, where the mature culls are marketed.  Weaned calves are fed cake and hay during bison works and a short corral period, then are put on pasture for the winter where they are supplemented with 1/2# per head per day of protein over the winter.  As a group, this year’s male and female yearlings gained an average of 1.59# per day from May 10, 2017 to August 2, 2017 on native pasture with no supplementation.  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 from this group based on grass weights from the last 10 months. 

Notes: The Z Bar was originally stocked with animals from other Turner ranches and has been a closed herd since 2008.  Its animals are naïve to mycoplasma, but have been vaccinated several times.  All ranch animals are electric fence trained (5 wires, 1 hot) and conditioned to come to the cake truck only when the known signal horn is sounded.  Preliminary sorting of animals during works is done on foot.