The North Loup River Ranch is the finest Nebraska Sandhills ranch on the market. With over three miles of frontage along the North Loup River, it consists of 9,565± deeded acres of native Sandhill range, sub-irrigated meadows, wooded sanctuaries and shelterbelts, and irrigated hayfields. Its river frontage and associated meadows, bottoms, and ponds, and shelters belts and mature timber, make it a wildlife mecca that supports a thriving deer and turkey population. The property also boasts an updated historic 8,313 square foot lodge with seven bedrooms, a manager’s house, paved runway, solar-powered livestock water pumps and pipelines, and numerous other improvements. Located in some of the best cattle country in the world near one of the highest-price cattle markets, the property supports a profitable 650-700 cow-calf plus yearling operation with minimal labor needs and simplified management. The North Loup River Ranch is truly a one-of-a-kind property that must be seen to be appreciated.
Just the Facts
- Sandhills Ranch
- 9,565±deeded acres
- Over 2,000± acres of sub-irrigated meadows
- Over 3 miles of North Loup River frontage
- 266±center pivot irrigated acres, two registered irrigation wells
- All contiguous ranch
- Estimated to carry 650-700 cows, holding calves over to yearlings
- Excellent improvements and fences
- 2,024 square foot managers home
- 2,800 square foot shop
- 8,242 square foot horse/cattle barn
- 2,520 square foot calving barn
- 3,348 square foot open front barn
- 8,313 square foot owner’s home/lodge
- 2,500-foot airplane runway
- Top-notch water resources
- Concrete aprons and bunks
- Excellent winter protection
- Abundant big game and birds
- Trophy class whitetail deer
- Management in place
- Over five miles of hand-planted tree shelterbelts
Driving to the ranch, you will notice the beautiful river valley situated along the sub-irrigated meadows. The ranch headquarters, including a newly remodeled managers home, are situated along the banks of the North Loup River. The owner’s home sets apart from the headquarters and looks over the meadow and river. Near the headquarters, there are numerous tree shelter belts for livestock protection, with one nearly two miles long, and over five miles of other shelter belts throughout the ranch. The north end of the ranch consists of rolling hills with sub-irrigated meadows interspersed and is used for the summer range.
I have had the chance to list numerous Nebraska Sandhill Ranches, but this is one of the finest I have set foot on. It literally checks all the boxes, live water, excellent grass production, top-notch shelterbelts for cattle and wildlife, great improvements highlighted by the 8,313 square foot house/lodge, some of Nebraska’s finest hunting, airplane runway, along with being a highly diverse cattle ranch. The diversity would allow for several options for management to meet the needs of a new owner. The ranch lays in an area that has a reputation of the best cattle country and markets in the world. Opportunities of this quality are rare, with high AUM output and hunting opportunities abound, the North Loup River Ranch covers all the bases. The scenery from the porch on the lodge is second to none and the ranch is move-in ready.
The ranch is located 42 miles south of Ainsworth, northeast on Highway 7, then four miles west on paved West North Loup Road. The ranch headquarters are set along the North Loup River. On the Ranch, a 2,500-foot asphalt paved runway will accommodate small airplanes along with an open front hanger. The nearest town is Brewster, which has limited services and is reputed to be the smallest county seat in America with a population of 11. Ainsworth and Broken Bow are approximately 45-minutes to an hour away and are home to all necessary services, shopping, etc. The Ainsworth airport also has a 6,824 foot runway capable of servicing large jets. Grand Island is approximately two-hours away and has a modern airport with non-stop flights to many destinations such as Dallas. Total travel time from Dallas Fort Worth International airport, including two hours driving time from Grand Island, is approximately four hours.
North Loup River Ranch sits in the middle of the Nebraska Sandhills. The Sandhills are noted for the abundant water resources, finest cow/calf country, and supports three of the top cattle sale barns in the United States, consistently selling the highest price feeder cattle in the World. The ranch lays atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, covering over 174,000 square miles.
Average annual precipitation is 22 to 24 inches, which the majority of comes during the spring and summer months. Average high temperature ranges from 85 degrees in July to 36 degrees during January. For the most part, the area is noted for low humidity, allowing comfortable evenings and mornings. The sub-irrigated meadows help to alleviate drought conditions, which are not very frequent, with the high-water tables and always producing abundant grass for haying or grazing.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The ranch consists of 9,565± deeded acres
- Over 2,000± acres of sub-irrigated meadow
- 266± center pivot irrigated acres
The owner’s home sits in the middle of a meadow and is an updated 8,313± square foot lodge with seven bedrooms plus bunkroom, five and a half bathrooms, and a 1,450± square foot covered porch overlooking the ranch, which makes for beautiful mornings and evenings relaxing watching the sun rise and set. The managers house is a 2,024± square foot home with four bedrooms, and outbuildings set on the southern edge of the ranch surrounded by meadow, river, and trees. Ranch outbuildings consist of a 2,800± square foot heated shop/office, 8,242± square foot horse/cattle barn, 3,348± square foot open front storage building, and 2,520± square foot calving shed. Corrals are mostly steel pipe and include a Silencer chute. There are numerous lots sheltered by tree belts and have cement aprons and bunks for cattle feeding. The ranch is watered by numerous electric wells that feed a pipeline extending from headquarters to the north end of the ranch. Also, there are many windmills and solar wells. Two irrigated pivots, powered by diesel engines, water a total of 266± acres that are planted to a mixture of perennial grasses.
The Sandhills is blessed with the Ogallala Aquifer, which is one of the largest underground bodies of water in the world and located beneath the ranch. The water table is at ground surface, creating a vast amount of sub-irrigated acres, and up to 100 feet in the hills. The North Loup River runs through the ranch for over three miles, creating excellent habitat for wildlife and recreation. Cattle will never have to walk far for a drink of water. There is an extensive water system in place that requires little work and upkeep. There are several electric submersible wells near the headquarters that supply water to the buildings and pipeline. The pipeline is over 20 miles long, covering all ends of the ranch. Where the pipeline is not, solar and windmills provide stock water. The two registered irrigation wells pump 1,000gpm and have no pumping restrictions. A quality of the Sandhills is that you can drill a water well anywhere and never worry about how much water you will have, it is plentiful!
All owned mineral and water rights will be transferred to new owner.
Taxes are estimated at $49,372 based upon past years.
With the meandering North Loup River running through the ranch, you can find extensive numbers of very high-quality whitetail and mule deer. The owners have taken numerous trophy bucks over the years and you can expect to see many mature bucks during hunting season. Additional habitat for wildlife includes numerous tree shelter belts, along with abundant water resources. You will find plenty of upland birds including Turkey, Grouse, and Pheasants. The sub-irrigated meadows, river, and ponds provide exceptional habitat for geese and ducks. It is common to see over 1,000 geese on the meadows in the fall. Deer and bird hunting permits are available over the counter for non-resident owners and are eligible for landowner permits, which are unlimited basis. In Nebraska, you can take up to two deer per year and bird limits are relaxed. The diversity of the ranch provides the opportunity to practically hunt year-round. The ponds on the ranch are stocked with native fish species and provide entertaining fishing opportunities.
The ranch is currently operated as a 650-700 head cow/calf operation that weans calves in the fall and winters them over to yearlings. Cows graze the majority of the winter with cake and typically are not fed hay until calving in April. The cow/calf pairs are summered on the north end of ranch, while the yearlings graze meadows and irrigated pivots planted to perinnial cool season grasses. Pivots are set up for fence line weaning with a five-strand barb wire fence, which makes quick and quiet weaning along with great grazing for calves. Livestock are watered with an extensive underground pipeline along with solar wells and windmills, which allows for a rotational grazing plan. The yearlings are marketed in early July, ranging between 800-900 pounds, consistently topping the market at the local sale barn. Typically, only 800 ton of hay is custom harvested each year, utilizing more of the sub-irrigated meadows for early spring and fall grazing. The operation allows for very low overhead and minimal labor force. The ranch has a manger in place who has taken excellent care of the ranch. The ranch would also make a good summer range ranch, running up to 1,200 cows historically for the summer grazing season. The numerous lots and shelter belts would be excellent facilities for a purebred operation wanting to calve in February as well.
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