Matador Ranch

Matador, Texas

Type Rancher Case Study
Organization Matador Ranch
Country USA
Region Matador, Texas
Grass Type Southern Mixed Prairie
# of head of cattle 4500 – 5500
Hectares 52,609
Language English
Date modified May 2013

Matador Ranch, located in Matador, Texas is a large historic US ranching and hunting operation. Established in 1882, the ranch has a long history of improving the health and productivity of its livestock, wildlife, and renewable natural resources. Ranch management keeps a close eye on annual climatic conditions, with stocking rates adjusted according to moisture conditions in order to maintain rangeland health.

While the majority of forage for Matador’s cow/calf herd is provided by native grass species, 3,200 acres of former cropland was seeded with introduced grasses so native pastures could rest. This land also serves as nesting habitat and fawning cover for wildlife. Matador Ranch implements “short duration” grazing to ensure sustainable use of native pastures. Strategic brush control has enabled the renewal of natural springs and improved plant health and diversity. Another management strategy used on the ranch is prescribed burns, with a full program implemented since 2009 which includes careful management of the land following the burn. As a result of these practices, the ranch stocking rate has increased even with recurrent drought.

Matador Ranch has also successfully implemented economic management strategies. In order to diversify income generating activities, the ranch has developed a hunting operation. Wildlife abundance, including deer and turkey, is carefully monitored to ensure the sustainability of this activity. A market-based approach to stewardship also ensures that natural resource improvement and management decisions result in benefits to wildlife and cattle.

The Matador received the 2010 Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship Award from the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and was also the 2011 recipient of the regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program presented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.