The Black Willow Ranch lies just east of the convergence of the Mora and Sapello Rivers and is fortunate to have a mix of dryland pasture, riparian areas as well as flood irrigated hay fields that provide opportunities for more traditional agricultural pursuits such as livestock grazing and hay production.


Hay Production

A diversion dam in the Mora River feeds an extensive acequia—the historic three-mile Tipton ditch, to irrigate over three hundred acres. Approximately 80 acres are planted in a grass/alfalfa mix consisting of mainly brome and orchard grasses. The remaining irrigated acreage has a well-established grass stand that produces good-quality grass hay.


Cattle Grazing

Northeastern NM is known for producing high gains in cattle due to the quality of its rangelands. On the Black Willow Ranch, the great variety of forages including tall grasses in the wetlands along the river bottom, gramma grasses and other forbs on the short grass prairie valleys, and shrubs on surrounding ridges provide cattle with ample nutrition to fulfill dietary requirements. Strategic grazing management accounts for the frequency of drought in the area. Light stocking rates allow for a surplus of ground cover for future years.

Exploring and adopting more progressive/regenerative ranching practices will provide greater health of the landscape and benefits for agriculture, wildlife, and recreational pursuits.