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Cow Philosophy

Cody, Dawnnell & Taylor on the ranch.

In 1975, Cody left home at age 17 with his high-school 4-H project of seven cows.  That project has grown into what the Rockin H Ranch is today:  a 3,400 acre, 900-cow/calf operation and agri-tourism business.

We do the majority of the ranch work ourselves with additional hired help from time to time.  Ranch life is generally very routine.  There is hardly a time of 'nothing to do'.  But this routine can also be very generous.  During the warm seasons we are often able to work on large projects that we would not otherwise be able to do.

Cow Philosophy at the Rockin H Ranch  by Cody Holmes

The best cow in the herd will raise exactly one calf every year and never miss.  She will also never eat a bite of grain or supplement, or require the use of machinery.  She will never require assistance at calving and will protect her calf from predators, but will not eat you for lunch when you bring her to the corrals.

All of this, and it will never be important that she wean off the2004 heifer biggest calf in the herd.  This will be your most profitable cow you could ever own.  Notice that I never mentioned hair color, genetics or EPD's.  That's because if your cows meet the description I listed in the paragraph above, the rest doesn't matter.  So why do all the seed stock producers we see try to sell us on hair color, genetics and EPD's?  Because we have lost sight of what makes up the best cow in our herds.  And because their operations are not designed with your profit motive in mind.  Also, it is difficult for the average seed stock producer to quantify their product in terms other than weaning weights and yearly weights and so on.  Most of them are also inexperienced with the term sustainable agriculture, as we in the profitable cow/calf industry define it.  If you are breeding for color, genetics, EPD's and high weaning weights, these are the results you will achieve at your cost of profitability in your cattle operation.  That is, until you get tired of supplementing your cattle operation with other incomes and/or go broke.

At the Rockin H Ranch I want all my cows to be defined as I mentioned above in  the first paragraph.  I will not purchase or raise bulls or heifers that have been so called "developed".  These are the cattle that are supplemented with as much as 20 or more pounds of grain daily.  They are pampered, oversized, air brushed with blow driers, and marketed as quality breeding stock.  It is a shame, but this describes well over 95% of all the cattle listed in the seed stock producers' catalogs.  Where is the EPD for profitability?  Why would I desire to wean the biggest calf in the country if it costs me more to produce him than what he will weigh out?  I don't think I can ever understand why the mass majority of we commercial and purebred cow/calf producers even consider buying our bulls and 2004 heifersheifers from a seed stock producer who only builds his herd as a hobby or business without any results to show his profitability on the animals he is selling us.  Many times these fellows will build their entire marketing plan on how much weight their bulls will gain in a specified amount of time given abnormal rates of daily grain.

I've been breeding cattle for over 30 years.  It has taken the biggest part of that time to learn what I've written on this page about how to ranch profitably and maintain a sustainable cow herd even during low cattle prices.  In my case, this knowledge has come about the hard way by trial and error.  It has also come at a very high price.  I could have saved myself a lot of money and grief if I could have been educated in a more productive manner.  We are required to look at our cow/calf operations as a business that must be profitable every year.  Making ourselves alert to this nonsense of breeding cattle that do everything besides turn a profit is an absolute necessity.  Breeding without profits as our foremost thought is utterly insane.  Profits have absolutely no correlation with being big.  I mean big in ever sense of the word you can come up with.  It certainly does not relate to big cows and big calves.  It has no connection with the size of the ranch.  It certainly has no required coexistence with large farming interests or large farm machinery assets.

I'm happy to show you our ranch, heifers and bulls for sale through private treaty the next time you're in our area.  Contact us today to schedule a time to view the cattle for sale at the ranch. 

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Rockin H Ranch/Rockin H Productions, LLC
Cody & Dawnnell Holmes
6156 Curtner Road
Norwood, MO  65717
417-844-2619

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Last modified:  08/14/2006.