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cattle. This may be done in all that country alluded to. It is true that there is a great difference in the amount of feed produced per acre in different localities, but even the poorest of all this vast area produces scattering tufts of buffalo grass.

The treeless expanse called "The Plains," sweeps along the base of the Rocky Mountains, two or three hundred miles in width at its southern extremity, and gradually widening as it extends fifteen hundred miles northward into British America. On most of this vast area, the grass is not simply scattering, but is a continuous mat of fine herbage, three to six inches high.

The best grass growing in Texas is called mesquit, and produces two or three times as much feed per acre as the buffalo grass. Near and among the Rocky Mountains, is gramma grass, and also a variety called bunch grass. On a portion of the plains is a grass called small, or bastard mesquit. All these grasses have a curled leaf. The name, buffalo grass, is given to all grasses of this kind in Kansas. Some think the true buffalo grass to be a distinct variety from the small mesquit, and others claim that they are identical. The buffalo grass spreads on the ground somewhat in the manner of a strawberry vine, and its leaf curls close to the ground, so that it looks more like a bed of bleached moss than it does like common grass. Its seed grows on one side of a delicate stem. This grass is extremely sweet, and the more so the nearer its roots.

It is true that there are considerable alkali tracts on the plains, (but not in Kansas, according to the best information which I can obtain,) where grazing is not practicable, by reason of bad water, but not for lack of a fertile soil, because, by irrigation, alkali lands, as in Utah, become extremely productive. Most varieties of these grasses are in a growing condition from early spring until autumn, when, during

the beautiful weather of that season, they cure upon the stalk. Thus they retain their nutritious qualities through the dry winters, which invariably bless the herdsman and his herd in these regions. Other varieties are green in Western Kansas during the winter months, as the attentive reader can learn from the letter of Rev. L. Sternberg, of Fort Harker.

Add to this sufficient evidence, the indisputable fact that cattle in vast herds, not of hundreds simply, but of thousands in number, are to-day grazing upon buffalo grass, and that not alone in Kansas, but also in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Travelers who pass through Kansas upon the Kansas Pacific Railway, enter upon the Buffalo grass region after riding about two hundred miles through the fat meadows, the luxuriant corn fields, and the vigorous wild grasses of Eastern Kansas, and as they come in sight of the brown and shriveled buffalo grass, it seems indeed contemptible. It is very true that vast herds of buffalo are seen, extending for miles in either direction, sometimes huddled in distant masses which resemble low islands in the sea, or, at other times, are so numerous and so persistent in keeping to their course, that the engineer is obliged to stop his train and give them the track, until they cross it in their line of march. The trav eler also sees the dressed carcasses of buffalo and antelope at every station, which are as fat as stallfed beef; and yet many people return from the trip and talk about the "Buffalo Grass Desert." Who would suppose that buffalo would return to a desert" for feed year after year? nay, that they would stay there the year around, as thousands annually do stay in the valleys of the Republican, Solomon, Smoky Hill and Arkansas rivers, and their tributaries? Many an eastern farmer would gladly turn the flocks and herds on to this desert, which crop the

low grass in his high priced pastures, or during six months of winter, eat the hay he has so laboriously garnered.

I think the higher and drier portions of Western Kansas is in some respects superior as a winter stock range. The less rain falls upon the grass, the richer it will be. This is not a theoretical opinion. Stock that ranged on grass during the hard winter of 1860-'61, which succeeded the famous "dry season," came out in the spring in better order than usual. The grass was short, but very nutritious—having cured on the ground. The time is not distant when the western portion of the State, one hundred by two hundred miles in extent, will be selected as the choice pasture land of the continent. Its altitude of twenty-five hundred to thirty-five hundred feet above the ocean level, makes the climate all that could be be desired. It is plentifully watered for stock purposes, by springs and running streams, whose water is palatable to the herds and flocks, and upon the banks are small timber growths, and high bluffs for shelter. There are also stone quarries, from which houses may be cheaply constructed for the herdsmen.

I think it true that everywhere in Kansas, a little hay ought to be put up as a safeguard against light snows, accompanied by wind, which may render grazing difficult for a few days at a time. Such snows occur every two or three years, in all the region we have been considering; but are much less severe in Kansas than farther north. Whenever they occur, great herders expect to lose more or less stock. It is one of the chances they take, and the aggregate results for a series of years prove that with all the risks, the business is still very profitable. But in every part of Kansas there is grass in abundance to make hay. The wide bottoms afford from one to three tons per acre, even at the western limits of the State, and on ground as smooth as a

floor, it is little trouble to put up bay with machinery. Perhaps half the year it would stand untouched, while stock fattened on the buffalo grass. But it is better to provide against contingencies, and if not used, it will keep over in good condition, if well stacked. The estimated amount that ought to be . put up per head in the buffalo grass region, is from four hundred to six hundred pounds. Among scores of experienced stock men, with whom I compared notes upon this subject, none set it higher than the latter figures.

John S. Chisum, one of the most noted stock dealers and breeders of Texas, a man who handles cattle by the ten thousand head, said: "For Kansas, from four to five hundred pounds." Major H. Shanklin, of Lawrence, who has wintered cattle in the Arkansas Valley several seasons, said: "Five hundred pounds, and it may rot down unfed every other year." Rev. L. Sternberg, who lives at Fort Harker, on the Kansas Pacific Railway, said: "Five or six hundred pounds, and probably not half that amount will be fed out." Nor is this precaution desirable for Kansas alone. In Colorado, prudent persons provide a little hay for their stock, and think that it pays them a profit to do so, and with the rearing of improved breeds this will be an acknowledged necessity. Large herders with thousands of cattle, do not consider the loss of a few score head of cheap Texas stock as a matter of importance. But when each bullock comes to be worth fifty or seventy-five dollars, the case will be different.

The foregoing was written in December, 1870. It is now April, 1871, and we have passed through a very severe winter, snow having lain on the ground longer than ever before known. During this winter many thousand head of cattle have fed on buffalo grass and winter grasses, without any hay or grain whatever. The result has been surprising to all.

Among Texas cattle, or stock bred from them, (and) there is little other stock in the buffalo grass region,) there has been less loss than in the more eastern or southern portion of the State, where they were fed on hay or hay and corn. The cattle thus wintered will soon fatten upon the fresh grass. It is natural for this stock to get its own living on the range, and they do not do well on corn the first year they are brought from Texas. Next to their native range



a field of standing corn stalks, after the ears have been plucked, seems the best suited to their wants. Sheep have also done well in Western Kansas this winter, on grass alone. I am convinced that herders, with several hundred or thousands of cattle, will do better to seek some of the many canyons, or sheltering bluffs, or timber patches, to be found in the buffalo grass region, with plenty of water, and graze stock all the season, than to cut hay for them.

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