Little River Ranch
At the Land Doctors, we've run across our fair share of great ranches over the years. We've listed ranches like Cattlemen's and Steward Ranch that were outstanding examples of highly productive ranches. Springwater Ranch was a great example of a ranch with tons of superb fishing lakes. Coppedge River Ranch was one of those places that had just the right mix of upland pastures and fertile river bottom. Buck Lake Ranch was a perfect example of wildlife management at its best. Spring Creek Ranch was a property filled with so much natural beauty that you just couldn't look away. We are now ready to add Little River Ranch to our list of great ranches but this time it's not because it has one or two great attributes. Rather, this 1229-acre ranch has them all.
The property has 1.5 miles of frontage on a quiet paved highway. Drive out the entry gate and you are just a 50-mile drive from downtown OKC. Tecumseh is the closest, decent sized town and is only 13 miles away. Not a bad location for someone who wants to be close to everything but still enjoy a peaceful rural setting. Whether it's a cattle ranch or recreational ranch, productivity is strongly rooted in the combination of soils and water resources and quite frankly, you can't talk about one without mentioning the other due to the interrelations between both. River bottom soils are deposited and replenished over the eons by the transportation of soils down the river from other areas. Over the ages, these soils buildup in the floodplains along the river channels to create a deep, rich topsoil that supports tremendous growth of forage and trees. It's in these areas that you see massive pecan trees growing, and, in fact, these trees were used as indicators of fertile soils by the early Oklahoma settlers. Today, we can take a more scientific approach to understanding the soils by looking at soil surveys. Little River Ranch has 55 percent of its acreage blanketed by Class 2 soils. These soils are found along 2.5 miles of Little River frontage, 1 mile of Jim Creek frontage and 0.6 mile of Indian Creek frontage. In addition, there are 22 ponds on the property with the four largest being between 3 and 7 acres in size and located around the main house. Although not a water source for the ranch, the Atoka water pipeline also runs beneath the property on its way to the OKC metro.
This area receives 41 inches of rainfall per year on average, which is more than enough to keep the ponds full and the river and creeks running. The flow on this stretch of Little River is greatly impacted by the amount released from Thunderbird Lake just 9 miles upstream. In general, the flow of water down the river is moderated by this lake. However, as with any river, there are times that it can get out of its banks. Fortunately, the owner has maintained a dense growth of trees along the river to create a buffer zone that both prevents bank erosion and also acts a filter barrier to minimize the number of limbs and other debris that wash out of the river into the pastures. In addition, a series of masterfully designed and beautifully contoured drainage swales quickly drain water off the property into the river and in the process strikes an amazing balance of maintaining moisture in the pasture soils without allowing them to become waterlogged.
This combination of fertile soils and abundant water resources is further enhanced by the owner's attention to pasture management. Over the last two decades, the owner has established the densest most impressive growth of legumes we've ever seen on a ranch. After the initial seeding of the ranch with arrowleaf clover, the seed heads have been allowed to reach maturity before any weed spraying or haying is attempted each year. By doing this, the initial hay cutting causes a tremendous release of clover seed year after year culminating in the tremendous growth now seen. Arrowleaf clover adds roughly 100 pounds of nitrogen back to the soil per acre during the growing season. With a strong base of Bermuda grass growing under the Arrowleaf, that means that as soon as the first cutting removes the clover, the Bermuda will exhibit tremendous growth utilizing this natural source of nitrogen through the rest of the growing season. Given the cost of commercial fertilizers, that's a huge cost savings. The cross fencing of the 12 plus pastures and working pens of the property were also thoughtfully designed. A catch pen is located at the junction of the river bottom pastures and is connected to the main working pens by a long pipe and sucker rod lane. Once the cattle arrive at the pie-shaped working pens, they can be moved through a central hub connected to the pens or the chute while they are being worked and sorted. A second set of working pens and shed can also be found in the pastures on the east side of the highway. The design on this set includes a large hold pen connected to six smaller sorting pens that each connect to a chute leading to the headgates.
In the process of developing this ranch, the owner had a tremendous vision for how to the leave behind a pleasant scattering of oak and pecan trees. The views from the hills down into the river bottom are ideal. You are naturally drawn to look down across the trees and lakes toward the river. Maybe the best way to describe it is that it looks like a golf course. In addition, he placed the main house on a prominent hill overlooking the lakes and the river bottom below. The home is a barndominium style structure constructed of heavy 1 ft I beams with an outside dimension of 115 ft by 50 ft. The living area is a two-story arrangement with a bedroom and 1 1/2 baths downstairs and another bed and full bath upstairs. The kitchen and living room have a great view of the bulk of the ranch and there is also a nice porch to sit on and take it all in. A second smaller home sits in an equally beautiful spot. It is in need of repairs. It could be repaired and updated to create a nice place for visitors or a ranch hand to stay. Alternatively, if the next owner wanted a home larger than the current main home, this would be an ideal place to build once the existing smaller home was removed.
Lastly, we saw deer in almost every pasture while on the ranch. The ponds are stocked with bass and crappie. Several majestic bald eagles also frequent the ranch. We also think that there are some good spots to build a wetland area for some top-notch waterfowl hunting along the river. If you are looking for a top notch, turnkey operation, please call Steve Owen at 580 231 2386.