Building a Foundation
Stinnett Farm switched from dreams of a dairy farm to working to develop a Braunvieh seedstock operation
Steve Stinnett and his wife, Patty, of Seymour, Mo., made plans to start their own dairy herd after Steve retired from the Springfield (Mo.) Fire Department, but a decline in the local dairy economy made them rethink their farming goals.
After discussing the future of their farming ventures with their children, son Logan (17), and daughters Vanessa (15) and Alyssa (12), Stinnett Farm has switched to beef cattle production.
For several years, the Stinnetts bought and showed dairy heifers, but Steve said they were never able to build their operation.
“We had a family meeting one night and I told everyone there really wasn’t a future for us in dairy cattle, so why don’t we switch to beef cattle,” Steve recalled. “The girls were onboard pretty quick, but Logan was a little more hesitant at first, but went along with it… We feel like we are actually building a future now; it’s something I can, or the children can, take into the future and be established, and not have constant turnover in animals. With the cattle we have now, we are able to hold on to the genetics we like. We can work on genetics and tweak them the way we want.”
When the family began exploring breeds, the Braunvieh breed stood above the others.
“We bought our first two heifers in 2015 and just started from there,” Steve said. “I was drawn to Braunvieh because of their maternal traits, and they milk so well. They are great in a crossbreeding program and cross well with a lot of different types of cattle. I just love their bone and their carcass traits. Their disposition is awesome. I’m not a cowboy and classify myself more of a farmer, so when it’s time to move or work cattle, I want cattle that come to me, not cattle I have to chase around.”
The family now has a herd of about 13 registered Braunvieh influence females. The Stinnett children have also explored breeds, including Maine Anjou.
“We kind of have two different things going here in that I like to raise cattle and am really into those production animals, and the kids love to show cattle. What I like to do is take production animals and show them. I’m just a fledgling seedstock producer and not really there yet, but one of the things you face is trying to reconcile the differences in the showring and the pasture.
“While the Braunvieh will never be the showiest animal there is, we’ve had some success and have a heifer that’s done pretty well. We’ve been a beneficiary of a lot of Ed Cahoj’s genetics (a Braunvieh breeder from Halfway, Mo.) and we’re just trying to build our own now.”
The Stinnetts are looking to Nellie, a heifer Vanessa has been showing, to be one of their base animals. Vanessa has won several championships with the heifer and was the Reserve National Champion Beef Builder Female at the 2017 American Royal. Steve said the heifer, which is bred and will calve this spring, may become their first donor cow.
“She’s been pretty special,” Steve said. “She’s kind of put us in a place we didn’t expect to be in this soon. We’ve had showring success with her, but I want to see what kind of cow she makes before we start investing in an embryo transfer program.”
The overall goal of Stinnett Farm is to have a small herd of high-quality, mature Braunvieh influenced cows to produce replacement heifers and bulls.
“They make such good mommas and that’s the direction I want to head.
“I want to keep my kids with some cattle to show, too,” Steve said. “We aren’t going to win every time, but every time one of my kids walks into a showring, I want them to have a chance.”
Logan is the family’s fitter, Vanessa enjoys the atmosphere of showing, and Alyssa likes the bond she forms with her show animals.
“We call Alyssa the calf whisperer,” Steve said. “If there’s one that can’t be caught, we send Alyssa out with a halter in her hand and it’s caught.”
The Stinnetts’ breeding program includes both AI and natural cover.
“There’s not a lot of Braunvieh semen available,” Steve said. “You really have to study and look hard to find the bulls you want for that mating. Birth weights are something the Braunvieh struggle with, and when we get to the point where we can sell bulls, I don’t want there ever to be a question if this bull will work.”
For their natural cover program, they are utalizing a half Angus, half Braunvieh bull that is registered with the Braunvieh Association as a Beef Builder.
“I am actually a little more fond of the Beef Builders than the full bloods,” Steve said. “To me, they have so much hybrid vigor to offer, but I like to keep those Braunvieh traits that I’m so fond of.”
Steve and Patty give a great deal of credit to their children for the overall health of their growing herd.
“Vanessa has an eye for when an animal might not be doing what it should,” Steve said. “I depend on the kids because I’m gone to work a lot, and Vanessa will say that such and such is doing this, and sure enough they will need something.”
“Logan really looks at the nutrient and the ration situation,” Patty said.
Logan said show animals are fed a special high fiber grower ration, and each animal is catered to during the show season.
“Once they get done showing, they don’t get nearly that much attention,” Steve said as a laugh. “If they don’t have show potential, they have to eat with the rest of them.”
Retirement is a little over seven years away for Steve, but he feels his family has now built their foundation, a foundation they hope to continue to build on for the future of Stinnett Farm.http://www.ozarksfn.com/2018/01/26/building-a-foundation/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Stinnett-1024x684.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Stinnett-150x150.jpgMissouri NeighborsNeighborsBraunvieh,Julie Turner-Crawford,Missouri,Patty Stinnett,seedstock,Seymour,Steve Stinnett,StinnettStinnett Farm switched from dreams of a dairy farm to working to develop a Braunvieh seedstock operation Steve Stinnett and his wife, Patty, of Seymour, Mo., made plans to start their own dairy herd after Steve retired from the Springfield (Mo.) Fire Department, but a decline in the local dairy...Julie Turner-CrawfordJulie Turner-Crawfordeditor@ozarksfn.comEditorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper