Located in Wingate, North Carolina, Wingate Ranch is 200 acres of rolling pastures and forests. It was first used as a cattle ranch in 1988 with only five main pastures. Since acquiring the ranch in 2014, we have divided it into 23 pastures to implement a daily rotational grazing program.
Grass is at the heart of our cattle operation. Our fields are mainly clover, but since 2016 we have planted clover and rye grass. We employ a portable "water reel" to irrigate our pastures during times of drought, with water supplied by the seven ponds on the ranch.
Continuous grazing is hard on grass. We therefore rotate our herd to a new field each day. This gives the cattle fresh grass every morning, and gives the fields about 3 weeks to recover after each rotation. We have divided our ranch into 23 paddocks, each about 4 acres in area. A side benefit of this approach is that we can check the condition of each animal daily when it moves through the gate.
Fresh, clean water is essential to maintaining herd vitality. We have installed water lines from our two 350' deep wells to each of our 23 pastures. We only allow the cattle to swim in the seven ranch ponds on especially hot days.
We believe in the benefits of a good mineral program for our cattle. To ensure the herd always has access to minerals, we use a mineral wagon. This is brought into whichever field the herd happens to be in and set near the water trough for the cattle to consume throughout the day.
Trees and the Shade Haven
Cattle need shady spots to rest and escape the blistering Carolina sun. Normally, trees provide this shade, and in 2016 we planted over 800 trees to add to the fifty acres of forest that the ranch enjoys. In addition, we were the first buyer in North Carolina (and 82nd in the USA) of a Shade Haven, which is a portable 1,300 square foot source of shade. Like the mineral feeder, the Shade Haven follows the herd on its rotation to the pastures short of trees.