Burnette Ranch

Comanche County, Kansas


Type CEC-support Ranch Pilot
Organization Burnette Ranch
Country USA
Region Comanche County, Kansas
Grass Type Tall, mixed-grass and sand sagebrush prairie
# of head of cattle 50 Cow/Calf pairs and 2 bulls (under drought plan)
Hectares 710
Language English
Date modified August 2016

Burnette Ranch is located within the Southwestern Tablelands in the Cimarron Breaks ecoregion of the Great Plains. This ranch has benefited from grazing management, exhibiting excellent climax native grass species composition, a diverse forb community and an active lesser prairie-chicken lek. The beneficial practices applied on this 524-hectare project included the establishment of firebreaks, periodic prescribed burns, prescribed grazing, and planting of native forbs within grassland that had been cropped.

The project focused on reclaiming native prairie being invaded by eastern red cedar (Juniper virginiana) and deciduous trees. Historically, in the Great Plains, trees were naturally controlled by periodic fire. The trees significantly reduce livestock forage, groundwater, and wildlife habitat and will replace prairie without control measures. Mechanical tree removal, using a skid steer equipped with a saw, and prescribed burns were used to eliminate trees. The landowner attended burn workshops, joined a prescribed burn association, and engaged neighbors to discuss coordination of cedar control activities.

The project also involved planting a mix of native forb species that bloom during early, mid and late growing season, benefiting pollinator species. Thousands of Monarchs have roosted at Burnette Ranch during their North American migration. A grassland location that had a crop history was selected for increasing forb abundance and diversity.

The accomplishments on Burnette Ranch are a perfect example of groups partnering together, sharing resources, to accomplish a task none of them could achieve individually.  Coordinating project partners included the Gyp Hills Prescribed Burn Association, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Prescribed Fire Council’s Southwest Regional Coordinator, Burnette Ranch, The Nature Conservancy, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Pheasants Forever, US Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.