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Miracle Mulch Heals Ranch Roads - Weekly Ranch Update

By: Elin Ganschow on April 21st, 2022
Interests: Ranching, Conservation, Regenerative Agriculture, Grass Finished Beef

Check out how we utilize local resources to stop erosion!

Mulch From Forestry Project Stops Erosion

In the last Blog we said that Ranching and Conservation can, and should, work hand in hand.  Much to my delight I got to see this first hand late yesterday. 

I took Brent, our good neighbor who is taking charge of irrigating the meadows, on a several hour tour to show him the 20 plus water diversion structures on three different creeks.  I meant to write a blog on that topic but was so caught up in seeing and explaining everything that I literally forgot to even take a video!!  

We had come to this location by boony-bashing across the pasture in the UTV (Mule, Side-by-side).  When we started to head out down the ranch road we were both stunned and thrilled to see that the mulch, which Brent had spread on the rutted road last fall, was still in place!!  Exactly where it was laid down!!

Now this may not seem like a cause for celebration to you, but let me tell you... it is a VERY BIG DEAL.  You know that erosion is bad.  Did you know that it is not easy to stop?  Our soil is very sandy and it washes so easily with any disturbance of the ground.  We have to have trails on the ranch to get around (we call them 'two-tracks'.  Invariably they wash when there is any kind of water event.

On a ranch you have to problem solve by using the materials and resources at hand if at all possible.  There is simply not a extra bucket of money to throw at the problem.  I discovered quite by accident how remarkable the mulch is as an anti-erosion material.

Five years ago we had a forestry improvement project funded by NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service)  We ended up with GIANT piles of wood chips which over time became mulch.  We planned to use it somewhere - someday on the ranch for improving the environment.

Two years ago we used it to create a horse training pattern 100' x 100' in the shape of a clover-leaf.  The center path of that pattern was placed on a ranch road that was prone to erosion due to run-off coming down a loooong draw.  Last summer we had an enormous downpour.  I just KNEW that our cloverleaf was going to be washed away - destroyed.  I was completely blown away to see that it was still all there!!  I began hatching a plan to use the mulch for the very purpose of improving and protecting the ranch roads from erosion.

Still... there was a bit of doubt.  It was a big investment in labor and fuel to haul and spread the material.  So I am TRULY celebrating with you today that IT WORKED!!!

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