The Judith Mountains Ranch is an exceptionally well balanced, centrally located, scenic mountain foothills ranch. It has views, ease of access and operation, high quality but appropriate improvements, abundant wildlife, and is in close proximity to town services. The ranch enjoys an ideal central Montana setting just under the Judith Mountains and locally well-known Black Butte. This gives it strong precipitation yet minimal snow; a long growing season and reliable surface and well water. It is just four miles off a paved highway and seven minutes to basic services in the town of Roy. More robust offerings are a 40 minute-drive in Lewistown. Wildlife is ever present, especially upland birds, whitetail and mule deer, antelope and migrating elk. The buildings are exceptionally well built and maintained. First-rate commercial grade construction was recently employed in tasteful, modern and appropriately scaled improvements. The cattle operation is sized for easy management.
Just the Facts
- 4,797± deeded acres including 560± acres of dryland hay
- Located two miles south of Roy, 40 miles northeast of Lewistown and two hours from Billings
- Two houses. Guest house: 1,416± square foot, one-bedroom plus sleeping loft, one bath home; Ranch house: new 5,040± square foot three-bedroom home completely exterior-finished, but interior unfinished including full basement
- Shop/equipment storage building with full concrete foundation and 2X8 frame construction, metal roof, cedar siding, one-third insulated and heated with full bath and laundry
- Calving barn with heated office/vet room and bathroom
- Corrals of metal panel with continuous metal pipe
- 250± cows plus bulls (270 AU), plus excess hay
- Pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, antelope, mule deer and elk
The Judith Mountains Ranch lies in a single block of land on the northeast flank of the foothills of the Judith Mountains. Its highest point is 3,800 feet in elevation and its lowest is 3,500 feet. This rolling grass country is heavily infused with water -- surface and sub-surface. Two larger creek drainages flow through the ranch. Two smaller creeks and numerous springs have all combined to offer in-stream flow ponds and lots of live water sources for livestock and wildlife. Five concentrations of hayfields correspond to these watered areas. They are distributed across the ranch creating abundant and widespread feed and water. The buildings, corrals and housing complex lie in the southwestern portion of the ranch, three-quarters of a mile off the county road. They are set overlooking one of the two main creek drainages.
The ranch is supplied with phone and electric service. However, it is uniquely blessed with very strong cellular phone and data coverage. Additionally, high-speed fiber optic internet is being laid along the ranch border as this is being written. The ranch has its own gravel pit with large piles of quality gravel stocked on the ranch.
The Judith Mountains Ranch is a truly private and peaceful corner of the world. The property represents the opportunity to own a large pristine block of uncompromised, productive mountain foothills land in the form of an easily operated 300± head ranch that is close to town and major services.
The Judith Mountains Ranch is located six miles south of Roy by way of an unusually wide and smooth gravel county road. It is also 40 miles (40 minutes) northeast of Lewistown by two-lane blacktop highway. The Lewistown Municipal Airport has a 6,100-foot paved and lighted runway with jet and avgas fuels and instrument approaches.
Commercial air service is available within a two hour’s drive at the Billings Logan Airport. It is served by American, Delta, United, Horizon, Frontier and Allegiant airlines. These airlines offer multiple flights to Salt Lake City, Seattle, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver with seasonal non-stops to Dallas and Chicago.
The Judith Mountains Ranch lies in the highly sought after center of Montana. This is not only the geographic center of the state but also that sweet spot where the low snow and longer growing season of the eastern plains blends with the higher precipitation and better watered mountainous west. This is an economy and culture centered on agriculture—dryland grain farming and cattle and hay operations. The beauty of its setting just north of the mountains and its abundance of wildlife has also attracted a good deal of hunting-based recreation and gives it some real scenic appeal.
Roy has a grocery store with a deli, a ranching supply store, two bars, and a gas station. The public school spans grades from kindergarten through high school, with a current graduating class of four.
Lewistown is the central service and cultural community of the region. It is a town of approximately 6,000, including full support services. There are banks; automobile and agricultural equipment dealers and repair facilities; grocery stores; hotels; restaurants. The Central Montana Medical Center includes a 25-bed critical access hospital. It provides a full range of services from emergency and surgery to intensive care, through a complete staff of specialty physicians.
The ranch lies from 3,500 to 3,800 feet in elevation. The average annual precipitation in Roy is 13.8 inches. The average daytime high temperature in the coldest month of January is 30 degrees, while the average daytime high in the hottest month of July is 85 degrees. However, the ranch, while just two air miles over a hill from Roy, is estimated to be wetter, with around 16 to 20 inches of total precipitation, and also warmer in the winter. The ranch lies in plant hardiness zone 4a, which typically receives 125 days of frost-free weather. Due in part to seasonal winds, winters are relatively free of snow, accumulating to only five inches on average. The ranch reports they have had hail only once in 17 years and no tornadoes.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Wild/Dry Hayland - 560±
Rangeland - 4,221±
Farm site - 16±
Total - 4,797±
The Judith Mountains Ranch is improved with newer and unusually high-quality commercial grade buildings. There are two homes, a shop, equipment shed, and calving barn.
The smaller of the two homes, the guest house, is a one and one-half story 1,416± square foot home with a 210± square foot sleeping loft included in that square footage. It has one full bedroom and was built in 2002. The roofing is metal, and the wood siding is cedar. Its heating system is central forced air fueled by propane gas.
The larger ranch house is a one-story, three-bedroom home of 5,040± square feet including its full basement. Its construction was started in 2006 but stopped a few years later due to a death in the family. It is completely finished on the exterior, but the interior is unfinished, allowing a new owner to customize the home to their liking. Its roofing is also metal, and its wood siding is cedar. The heating system is central forced air fueled by propane gas.
All working buildings are unusual in that they are built on complete concrete foundations, not the usual pole-on-footing style. The 6,000± square foot (50’X120’) shop/equipment storage building was built in 2002 and is of 2”X8” frame construction. It too has a metal roof and cedar siding. Approximately one-third of it is completely finished, to such an extent that it its concrete floor is epoxy coated. It is insulated and heated and includes a full bath and laundry. The storage side of the building has a gravel floor and extensive fluorescent lighting.
The metal-clad calving barn is 3,200± square feet (40’X80’) and was also built in 2002. It includes a completely finished and heated office/vet room with bathroom. The attached corrals are built with continuous metal pipe, graveled, watered and lit. They include a solid-walled and curved cattle handling system of the Temple Grandin design. These lead to an integrated squeeze chute and loading ramp.
The Judith Mountains Ranch is very well watered. It holds 24 filed water rights, primarily for livestock use and primarily from in-stream reservoirs of surface flowing spring water. Four main creeks fed by their numerous springs flow throughout the spring, summer and fall. These surface flowing sources have been dammed into 16 reservoirs, on which the ranch holds rights. These are generally described in the filings as eight feet deep and range from one-third of a surface acre to two and one-half acres in size. However, many are larger now, and many hold water year-round. There are also seven wells, three for domestic use and four for livestock. They range from three to 30 gallons per minute and from shallow old-time hand-dug wells to one that is 720 feet deep. The deepest is used to supply stock water to the corrals and numerous troughs and pastures.
One hundred percent of the ownership of minerals now in the seller’s possession will transfer upon sale. The owners believe they own 50 percent of available mineral rights, but this has not been verified by a professional.
Recent real estate taxes on the ranch’s deeded lands are $4,535.
The ranch has abundant wildlife. It runs from mule deer and antelope to pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and elk. The now deceased patriarch of the family bought this ranch almost 20 years ago because he liked to hunt birds, deer and elk. Mule deer and antelope are visible constantly. On the ranch, some nice five by five bucks have been harvested. The elk move back-and-forth between this ranch and its neighbors. All are attracted by crop plantings, and more so when the ranch is growing hay barley. The elk are as big a six by six. Only friends and family have been allowed to hunt. Since the current owners do not hunt, they report anecdotally that neighbors who hunt say there are some nice bulls on the ranch. They can be heard bugling from the house. There are whitetail deer, but they contracted blue tongue disease five years ago and the population levels are still rebuilding.
There are numerous reservoirs on the ranch, the largest being five acres. Some are deep and hold water year-round. Since the owners do not fish, even though there are some in the ponds, they have not yet been developed into true fisheries.
The Judith Mountains Ranch is operated as a cow-calf cattle business. They run 220 to 250 cows, plus 15 bulls and 40 replacement heifers, or around 300 total animal units, year-round. Winter feed comes from the ranch’s own hay fields where they produce some 800 tons annually on average, and more often than not, sell extra hay.
They typically start feeding between Thanksgiving and Christmas and end feeding in the middle to the end of April. The ranch runs a black Angus herd, calving starting around March 10th and running for two months after that. Average weaning weights for the steers are currently 608 lbs., with the heifers averaging 563 lbs.
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