Benefiting from Holistic Management

Holistic Management is a proven process that works. It has produced amazing results in a wide variety of situations. We are all aware of situations where people have made great progress in all 3 areas (people, land & finances). The question arises: why do some people excel & others make only small progress? I don’t know the answer to the question but I suspect that it is related to our individual choices.

Has H M benefited you? I sincerely hope it has. Is there room for improvement? If we are honest we will answer “yes” as none of us are perfect & there is always room for improvement.

I think that the difference between those who make small improvements & those that excel is mainly due to the attitude people choose to adopt. If you want to excel, the potential is there. You need to continually challenge yourself. You need to continually learn. H M encourages us to be lifelong learners. Remember when you completed the six day course you didn’t leave with a master’s degree. Completing the six day course is more like graduating from kinder garden.

We have applied H M principles to our lives & our business for almost 30 years now. The results (in my opinion) have been outstanding. Our quality of life is excellent. Our management team continues to grow & learn. We are continually improving our ability to make sound decisions. Our land continues to improve. Our grass production is phenomenal. Our finances are strong & becoming stronger.

Please don’t misunderstand this. We are not perfect. We have lots of differences of opinion. The important thing is that we are working on improving. Do we think we have arrived? Definitely not? We realize that things are very good but we are also aware that things can & will be better. We are continually challenging ourselves as individuals & as a team to move to the next level. We realize that things are good, we expect them to be even better in the future as we grow & learn. For many years now we have been in the position of being able to say:

“Wow things are good,
we expect them to get better,
we can deal with that.”

That is a good place to live. I would love to see more people enjoying that outlook in their lives.

I am reminded of a quote from President Kennedy:

“people see things as they are & ask why?

I see things as they could be & ask why not?

We live in the best country in the world. We have blessings too numerous to count. We have unlimited opportunity. We can be the happiest people anywhere. H M can help us move in that direction. The biggest thing standing between me & a better life is me. Fortunately I can choose to change & grow. As I do life becomes better & better. I suspect it is the same for you.

To move to a new level we need to challenge ourselves. The more information we have about our businesses the easier it is to make wise decisions. Cattle prices are strong. This is an excellent time to make changes to our businesses. Here is a potential list of information you might want to access to help you move ahead.


1. Is my operation more profitable as a cow calf / calf background / or a long yearling operation?
2. Will profit increase if I lengthen my grazing season?
3. Will profit increase if I shortened my grazing season?
4. Will profit increase if I increase cow numbers?
5. Am I calving at the most profitable time?
6. Do a gross profit analysis. Once this is complete you will be able to ask & answer the following questions. How will profit change if:
a. Weaning percent increases by 1%?
b. Summer gain (weaning wt.) increases by .1 pounds per day?
c. Back grounding gain increases by .1 pounds per day?
d. Grass gain increases by .1 pounds per day?
e. Hay costs are reduced by $5 per ton?
f. Pellet or grain costs are reduced by .01 cents a pound?
g. Yearling prices increase by $1 per cwt?
h. Cull cow prices increase by $1 per cwt?
i. Cow numbers increase by 1%?
This is an example of information we can all have readily available. This type of information can help us make wise decisions. Do you know these numbers for your unique operation? Would it be a benefit to know this information?

Let me give you a real life example. About 5 or 6 years ago we set some objectives to help us improve our business. We wanted to:
1. Improve our land.
2. Grow more grass.
3. Have increased profit.
4. Increase our cow numbers.
5. Have less work.

We decided that the best way to accomplish these 5 objectives was to increase our pasture numbers form about 40 to 100. This has worked out very well. We have met all of our objectives. The question we are asking today is how do we move to the next level? We don’t have a total answer but at this time it appears we can make the most improvement by increasing our stock density. We are seriously looking at adding another 30 or 40 pastures. We feel this will give us better utilization of the grass we have, healthier land, increased production & the ability to run more cows which will result in more profit. What changes are you planning to make to move to the next level?

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