About

Introduction

The Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch serves as a hands-on training and skills development facility for ranchers of the New Lands and surrounding communities. New and tried and true methods are demonstrated in order to enrich the Navajo ranchers' cattle production with the goal of giving them the tools and knowledge to be competitive in the beef industry.

Located on the Navajo Nation, Padres Mesa borders the small community of Chambers Arizona and Interstate 40.  The nearest towns are Holbrook Arizona and Gallup New Mexico, nearly fifty (50) miles West or East of the ranch.

The Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch consists of a 60,900 acre portion of the New Lands area, including the Padres Mesa and Pinta range units, and has an estimated capacity of five hundred (500) cattle.

The beautiful landscape is usually back-lit by bright blue skies.  Clusters of cedar and juniper trees provide shade from the summer sun and shelter from the winter winds and snow.  Sage brush, desert grasses, and other plant species make it possible to raise beef cattle.

Learning Opportunities Supported by Practical Application

Public events are scheduled throughout the year. Demonstrations and workshops provide experience and knowledge with: cattle handling, branding, animal health, EPDs and more.  Demonstrations and workshops are usually coordinated in the same day.

The ranch practices Beef Quality Assurance as an example to local ranchers, including:  Electronic Identification, vaccination plans, nutrition, breeding practices, weaning programs, bull selection and marketing.  This ensures solutions presented are practical for New Lands ranchers.

Padres Mesa Ranch is a strong promoter of community cooperation.  In order to maximize profits, New Lands ranchers should band together and coordinate their operations.  The Padres Mesa Ranch provides a forum where ranchers can discuss their operations with other beef cattle producers.

Cattle Management

Ranchers who raise beef as an occupation must remain competitive by producing a quality product.  To do this you must understand the current beef production techniques and standards.  In the beef cattle industry producing quality animals is the starting point to success.

One of the challenges of raising beef cattle in the New Lands area is the lack of a mineral called phosphorus in the soil.  Unfortunately, the best way to counteract this situation is to purchase and feed supplement which can be expensive.

The Padres Mesa Ranch has assisted in creating a relationship between the local Nahata D'zill Chapter and companies which sell supplemental mineral.  This relationship will allow these companies to sell their supplement in bulk to the chapter which reduces shipping costs and provides the Chapter with a discount. Local Navajo cattle ranchers can then buy the mineral from the chapter, reducing their cost and travel time considerably.

Practicing Beef Quality Assurance produces a superior product, helps build a reputation for professionalism, and can produce greater returns on your investment.

Low stress animal handling is the practice of working animals as gently as possible and is one aspect of Beef Quality Assurance.  It is more efficient working with calmer more cooperative animals, and cattle buyers prefer animals that have been handled this way.  Stress is a factor in animal health; stressed animals can loose weight and are more susceptible to illness.  It is also safer to work with calm animals for the animal and yourself.  Padres Mesa Ranch utilizes horses to work cattle in a safe and calm fashion and shows the effectiveness of this practice during demonstrations.

Understanding how to deliver medications is an important part of Beef Quality Assurance. Padres Mesa Ranch instructs New Lands beef cattle producers in using sterile needles and other medical equipment, as well as proper medications, dosages, injection locations, and injection methods.  The ranch advocates proper medical record documentation and also provides New Lands beef cattle producers with effective vaccination plans to help them meet Beef Quality Assurance standards.

Range Management

Maintaining healthy range land is important to producing quality livestock.  Utilizing the land for beef cattle production must be practiced with respect for the land.  Healthy range land will have a diversity of plant life, and will ensure that your animals have adequate feed all year round.

Overgrazing can result in soil erosion, loss of wildlife habitat, and opens the door for a mono-culture of undesirable plants.  Damaged or destroyed plant life in a desert environment can take many years to return, will not be able to support the same number of cattle and in a worst case scenario, result in pastures which are completely unusable for the foreseeable future.

Understanding the many species of plant life that cattle will come in contact with is important. It is also key to create a flexible and sustainable grazing plan.  Utilizing the land without damaging it is a delicate balance which will vary from one ranching operation to another and finding that balance will ensure that the land will provide for your cattle for seasons to come.  The Padres Mesa Ranch practices a flexible grazing plan and assists New Lands beef cattle operators to develop their grazing plans.

Beef Cattle Marketing

Although we cannot control many aspects that affect the beef cattle market, ranchers can improve their sale prices by producing a quality product (including sex, weight, yield grade), maximizing sale lot size, selling at an ideal time of year, and more.  The Padres Mesa Ranch not only produces beef cattle, but also sells and markets its products. This puts the ranch in a position to demonstrate and educate marketing practices and concepts to New Lands beef cattle producers.

An individual beef cattle producer can improve their operations' reputation by continuing to bring a quality product to market.  Each beef cattle producer represents his or her region, and as a consequence affects other producers.  The more New Lands producers who demonstrate their commitment to quality, the greater the overall reputation will be for the region.

Volume and uniformity is important to making profit in the beef cattle industry.  If New Lands beef cattle ranchers coordinate with their neighbor ranchers, they can sell their animals as a group.  This will give better buyer options and generate more profit per pound; buyers prefer larger, uniform groups of animals as the cost to transport them will be less.  Creating uniform lots by weight and sex reduces or eliminates the need to sort cattle after delivery and those animals can go directly into feedlot pens and receive the same feed ration.  The Padres Mesa ranch recommends New Lands producers coordinate aspects such as: bull selection, uniform vaccination plans, uniform sell weights, animal EPD uniformity, and medical records.

Summary

The Padres Mesa Demonstration Ranch educates New Lands ranchers in good land and livestock stewardship practices as well as providing hands on experience.  The ranch also practices techniques and ideas it presents to beef cattle producers to ensure that those techniques and ideas are practical.  Beef Quality Assurance practices, proper utilization of range lands, and cooperation among ranchers are emphasized.  The Padres Mesa Ranch is dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the beef cattle industry.