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Rockin H Simmentals continues to build on strong foundation

Rockin H Simmentals

Rockin H Simmentals includes Matt and Holly Hoffman, Taten, Maxten and Eli.

At Rockin H Simmentals, Matt and Holly Hoffman have established an exciting Simmental seedstock business near Canby, Minn.

Developed out of Matt’s parents’ high-quality commercial Simmental cow herd, Matt, 38, and Holly, 34, took steps to register and document the herd’s genetics. They now have lots of data to share with their customers.

Matt’s dad, Chuck Hoffman, purchased his first Simmental cattle in 1975 while still in high school. After his high school wrestling team won at state, Chuck attended Canby Minnesota West Community and Technical College in 1976-77.

His instructors were Simmental producers, and Chuck quickly recognized the value of the breed.

“When I started, Simmental were noted for their milking abilities, but they developed into more of a meat-type breed along with the milk,” Chuck said. “That turned out to be a very good combination for us. For crossbreeding programs, people really like to use them.”

He and his wife, Lorie Yackley-Hoffman, named their successful livestock and crop farm, Rockin H Ranch. They also own Rockin H Feedlot, which feeds out about 500 steers annually.

Growing up with commercial Simmentals, Matt knew his parents developed a herd with lots of potential.

“I’ve always loved Simmental cattle,” Matt said. “They perform well, have good docility, they milk well – they cover all the bases for us. We show quite a few in the summer, and they show well, too.”

After high school, Matt attended plumbing and heating school at Pipestone Minnesota West Community and Technical College. In addition, he attended AI training at Canby, and Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, S.D., for ag business. He started full-time crop and livestock farming in 2009, and he and Holly purchased 50 percent of the Rockin H Simmental cow herd.

The operation has traditionally included about 200 head of registered Simmental and SimAngus cows. Matt and Holly purchased the rest of the cow herd from Chuck and Lorie in 2021.

After holding sales in Watertown, S.D., in 2014 and 2015, the Hoffmans built a sale barn at their farm site. They’ll hold their ninth annual sale at their farm (originally the Yackley Farm) 5 miles northeast of Canby on March 18, 2023.

With an emphasis on bull development, the Hoffmans sell about 40 powerful bulls in their sale. In addition to EPD data, the bulls are DNA tested for homozygous polled and black traits. A few of the bulls are tested for more advanced traits using ear tissue samples.

Ahead of the sale, an ultrasound technician scans all the bulls for size of ribeye, intramuscular fat, and backfat. The information is added to the sale catalog.

In addition, carcass data from heifers and steers that enter Chuck and Lorie’s feedlot is collected at the processing plant. This data shows the high quality of the cattle, and Chuck is always aiming to sell finished cattle that receive a premium when marketed on the grid.

When selecting bulls and heifers for development, Matt studies performance data and much more.

He does the same when determining the best AI bull for each cow. Looking at each cow’s EPD profile and data, he looks for areas where he can make an improved calf through a good mating.

Selecting 10-12 bulls for a normal AI breeding year, cows are observed for natural heat detection and bred AI over a 60-day timeframe. Then, the highest quality cleanup bulls are put into the pens. Bulls run with the cows in pasture until weaning. All the cows are checked for pregnancy in early September.

Any cow that will calve after March is marketed for the sale. This helps Rockin H Simmentals keep their calving window limited to two months. It also provides a great opportunity for producers to pick up some awesome genetics. A lot of times, the bull customers pick up a cow or two from the sale, Matt said.

“Some of those cows have produced tremendous bulls for us,” he said.

The Hoffmans save back about 40 elite heifers annually.

For 2023, they intend to collect replacement heifer data through the American Simmental Association (ASA) Cow Herd Roundup program. Through this program, they can obtain EPDs on a genotyped one-month heifer that will be as accurate as an animal with birth weights on 21 calves and weaning weights on 22 calves.

Another tool they use is Total Herd Improvement (THE), a program of ASA. THE offers genetic prediction tools to capture data. By enrolling a whole herd, producers can make comparisons of the profitability of each cow. This system helps advanced cow producers drive their herd improvement using data.

The top and best asset at all the Rockin H operations is the fine people associated with it. Kind, hard-working, and faith-driven, the Hoffmans strive to treat everyone with respect and sincerity. Their professionalism brings customers back to this dedicated Simmental cattle farm year after year.

“I’ve always loved Simmental cattle,” Matt said. “They perform well, good docility, they milk well, they cover all the bases for us. The Simmental breed is gaining popularity quick.”

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