Ranch Ownership Resources and Information

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and ranch values to regional events and happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 6, 2018

Cattle and the Climate Change Debate

The debate on cattle and its effect on climate change has been an ongoing subject for sometime now, but good news has come for ranchers as researches have debunked the cattle and climate change myth! As ranchers we have all heard that cow burps are destroying the ozone layer or that the gas they release daily is contributing to the demise of our climate, now its time this myth was ditched once and for all.

As our industry zeroes in on topics of sustainability and ways we as beef producers can improve for the better, I continue to beat the same drum--- cattleman and women already do a spectacular job of managing our land and water to produce more beef using fewer resources. Simply stated, beef production isn't just sustainable it's regenerative, and despite what the naysayers claim, cattle grazing and consuming by-products of crop production play a critical role in our ecosystem. Learn more about what Amanda Radke has to say on the research and this topic here. 

Cattle and the Climate Change Debate | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

 

 

Nov. 28, 2018

Texas Crop and Weather Report for November

Texas Weather Report from the Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association.

Fewer planted acres, summer drought and late-season rains caused a significant drop in peanut production around the state, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Dr. Emi Kimura, AgriLife Extension statewide peanut specialist, Vernon, said planted peanut acres dropped to 155,000 acres from 275,000 acres in 2017, a 43 percent reduction.

SOUTHWEST: Temperatures were cooler with little to no rain. Some counties needed more rain, while others were hoping to dry out following recent rains. Some counties experienced the first frost of the season. Some pecan harvest was negatively impacted by wet soil, including the sprouting of some pecans. Livestock and wildlife were in fair condition.

SOUTH: Conditions were cool to cold with mild days and short to adequate soil moisture levels. Drizzling rain was reported in Frio County. Kleberg and Kennedy counties reported half an inch of rain. Forage producers cut their last little bit of hay. Peanut harvest was in full swing. Beef cattle producers increased feeding hay and supplemental protein. Wheat and oat planting was completed, and a majority of fields emerged. Pasture and rangeland conditions continued to decrease due to a recent hard freeze. Native rangelands and pastures continued to provide adequate forage for livestock in some areas. Zapata County reported improved pasture conditions. Body conditions scores on cattle remained good overall. Coastal Bermuda grass was already dormant. Zavala County reported cooler conditions provided excellent growing conditions for spinach and cabbage. Some supplemental water applications were made to spinach, onions, cabbage and carrots. Baby-leaf spinach harvest was expected to begin soon. In Hidalgo County, harvest of citrus, vegetables and sugarcane continued.

Learn more about your area here. 

Texas Crop and Weather Report for November | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

 

 

 

 

Nov. 22, 2018

What Texas Pricklypear Steals from Your Land

Pricklypear is associated with loss of grazing both from competition and the physical barrier it presents to livestock. Left untreated, pricklypear tends to get worse. University researchers have documented that, during drought, pricklypear density can increase 25 percent to 30 percent each year while other plants decline. At that rate, pricklypear density doubles every three years. On good range sites, access to forage can be 2x to 3x greater in the absence of pricklypear. Learn More about what you can do here. 

 

What Texas Pricklypear Steals from Your Land | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

Nov. 16, 2018

In search of the Texas Unicorn | Groundwater and It's Influence on Land Prices in the Texas Hill Country

 

Common scenario at our sister brokerage, Hill Country Dream Team Realty: Brokerage phone rings. Agent picks up phone. Caller on the other end of the phone is from out of the area or out of state. Caller is interested in making a small acreage purchase in the Texas hill country. Sample conversation follows:

 

Caller: “I am looking for 3-5 not in a subdivision. You know, enough space to allow for a barn and workshop with no neighbors to tell me what I can or cannot do on my property. Oh, and by the way, my budget is no more than $15,000 per acre.”

 

Agent: “Okay great! So for that barn, do you want me to locate one or two unicorns?”

 

Now, truth be told, our residential and farm and ranch agents take a decidedly less smart-aleck approach to these conversations.

 

Of course we get the economic principle of supply and demand, but we know that there is a deeper issue that catalyzes the effect of supply and demand to further accelerate the increase in small acreage land prices.

 

Before we dig into the deeper issue, consider this evidence from the MLS system in which Kendall County, Texas resides:

 

The lowest price paid in recent history, per acre, for a 3-5 acre unrestricted parcel was $22,004. This was for a 4.05 acre parcel in Comfort ISD that closed in December of 2006. That is not a typo, December, 2006.

 

What gives?

 

Consider this: according to the Texas Environmental Almanac, in 2002, 61% of the demand for water was fulfilled by surface water and of the total water used. Again, those are the most recent statistics available numbers are from 2002.  

 

Also consider the following image comparing the Austin, Texas skyline from 2005 to 2017:

 

Austin Skyline Changes since 2005 | Texas Premier Ranch Realty

 

Needless to say, surface water supplies are being stressed. No new reservoirs have been constructed on the rivers of the Texas hill country since 2002.

 

Additionally, the intervening years have seen an explosion in population and at least one significant drought event. These factors have conspired to cast surface water as a tenuous resource for sustaining the population growth in the Texas hill country.

 

Not only that, the drought events have given those of us who live here visual evidence of the scarcity of surface water in the form of dried up creeks and significantly reduced flow rates in our rivers.

 

But surface water availability isn’t the big issue.

 

More growth equals more folks. More folks bring an increased demand for water. Given the static state of surface water supplies, folks in our region are forced to go underground for water. Especially those of us who live beyond the Colorado River/Highland Lakes watershed and the reaches of the Canyon Lake water supply systems.

 

Back to our phone conversation: Once our caller pulls his jaw off the floor, the inevitable question gets asked: “Why is land in the Texas hill country so expensive.”

 

Of course economics 101 comes into play, but a there is another, more complex and deeper dynamic: Groundwater.

 

A Texas Hill Country Spring | Texas Premier Ranch Realty 

Groundwater is indeed under our feet, but this two part series will attempt to illustrate, groundwater in the Texas hill country is a contentious, complex, and finite resource.history of land in the Texas hill country.

 

Why is this?

 

Now might be a good time to refresh yourself about the underlying nature of the Texas hill country before delving deeper into the subject of groundwater.

 

Let’s start with the landmark 1904 Texas Supreme Court case that established the “rule of capture.” Simply stated, the rule of capture holds that if the water is under your land, you can pump out as much as you want with no regard for the effect said pumping may have on your neighbor’s wells.

 

Until recently, the rule of capture was untouchable. However, in 2001, the Texas State Legislature significantly empowered the heretofore ad hoc network of Ground Water Conservation Districts enabled by the 1949 Texas Legislature by enabling the GCDs to promulgate rules and policies to limit or alter the “rule of capture”.

 

It’s worth noting that 2001 also marked the beginning of an acceleration in land prices throughout Texas and specifically within the Texas hill country as illustrated by this graphic courtesy of the Real Estate Center at Texas A & M University:

 

 

Texas hill country land price appreciation | Texas Premier Ranch Realty

 

By way of example, consider Kendall County, Texas. Beginning in 2001, the county development rules were changed regarding minimum acreage size requirements for parcels on which wells could be drilled. This minimum size was established at 6 acres.

 

However, parcels of less than 6 acres that whose plats were on record with the county prior to the establishment of this rule were exempted from the 6 acre minimum.

 

Of course as more and more folks moved to Kendall County in search of a bit of breathing room on acreage, the price of these grandfathered parcels of 6 acres or less went up accordingly.

 

In fact, just down the street from where I live, a 1.58 acre lot that was exempt from the 6 acre minimum recently sold for roughly $120,000. That’s about $75,950 per acre, slightly less than the price paid for our house (which sits on 2.99 acres). This sample sale is a rural lot in a subdivision established in the late 1970’s on which homeowners must drill a well (roughly $12,000) and install a septic system (roughly $10,000).

 

Point being that the ability to access water...to engage the “rule of capture” in Kendall County is an expensive privilege.

 

Subsequent to 2001, the Cow Creek GCD was established in the Kendall County area to further effect rules and policies to mitigate potential damage wrought by the “rule of capture.”

 

Likewise, throughout the Texas hill country and the state; the empowered and expanding GCD model adding fuel to the fire of supply and demand for Texas hill country land.

 

And so it turns out that unicorns actually do exist in the Texas hill country. These unicorns, however; do not live in barns. It turns out that the true Texas unicorn is an affordable, small acreage tract on which the owner is allowed to practice the “rule of capture.”

 

Not only are these unicorns moving toward extinction, but the scarcity of the Texas unicorn serves to amplify the increasing prices of Texas hill country farm and ranch properties.

 

We like to remind our clients to remember the unicorns and we encourage them to take heed to the old saw that land will likely never be as affordable as it is right now.

Nov. 13, 2018

Grazing Lease and the Important things to Consider

Grazing leases are a great way for absentee landowners to generate income from the ranch or farm while not having to worry about running livestock themselves. There are many considerations to factor into a grazing lease and Cari Rincker on Ag Law Today covers a lot of these important factors. View the article and link to the episode here. 

 

 

Grazing Leases and the Important things to Consider | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

Nov. 5, 2018

High Density Grazing and the Benefits

In the early years of the grass-farming movement, much of the information and teaching came from New Zealand, Argentina and Africa. Many of the biological principles were not completely applicable to North America and at least some of it was just plain wrong. Nonetheless, great progress has been made and the economics are sound. That's because the grass-farming movement has its base in the concept that large ruminants often grazed in huge herds and were surrounded by predators and kept in close-knit, sometimes agitated herds across most prairies and savannahs in North America. Most soil fertility was built as the result of the huge herds traveling and living in very high densities and their here-today and gone-for-many-tomorrows relationship to the land. Learn more about the high density grazing model and its benefits here.  

High Density Grazing and the Benefits | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

Oct. 29, 2018

October Weather Report for Texas

The big rains in north-east, north-central, and central Texas have continued from last month with sizable parts of the state receiving 10 inches or more and some parts seeing more than 20 inches. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, September 2018 was the wettest September on record (since 1895) and, at statewide precipitation total of 6.77 inches, the third wettest on record after May 2015 and August 2017. Learn more about the October weather here.

October Weather Report | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches For Sale

Oct. 23, 2018

Prescribed Burning and Benefits

Prescribed burning is a management tool widely used by foresters, parks departments, range and wildlife managers, ranchers and other landowners to manage excessive natural fuels under very specific and safe conditions. In the long run, prescribed burning will do more to improve habitat for deer and numerous other wildlife than any other practice. Prescribed burning is also considered the "cheapest, most effective habitat management technique for the Post Oak Savannah region. Learn more about it here. 

.Prescribed Fire Burn | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas HIll Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale

 

Oct. 15, 2018

Texas Hill Country Small Land Sales Report 2018 | Texas Premier Ranch Realty

Texas Small Land Sales Report 2018 | Texas Premier Ranch Realty

Report courtesy of the Texas Association of Realtors®. 

The report linked below covers the entire Texas small land market (small land parcels defined as tracts of 49 or fewer acres). 

Region 7 includes the Texas hill country and begins on page 19 of the document.

Region 6 includes South Texas and begins on page 17 of the document.

Access the Texas Small Land Sales Report here

 

 

Oct. 8, 2018

Laws on Fencing and Livestock in Texas

Recently there has been a case reviewed by the San Antonio Court of Appeals involving a motorist and a bull. The case covers both sides as it pertains to fencing and livestock as well as what landowners need to have in place to protect themselves and motorists. Motorist can be severely hurt from running into livestock on a highway and this case lays out several good points to look at as livestock and landowners. To learn more about this case and how it pertains to your livestock and fencing click here. 

 

Laws on Fencing and Livestock in Texas | Texas Premier Ranch Realty | Texas Hill Country and South Texas Ranches for Sale