The scenic drive to Stu and Sherry Townlian’s farm leads travelers past pastures filled with beef cattle, acreage lined with large, lush trees and a century-old dairy farm. All the properties are unique in their own right. But when passersby near the Townlian’s property, they do a double take.
“There are several people who stop and look and take pictures,” Stu Townlian said.
What catches the attention of people traveling past the Townlian’s pastures is a herd of Texas Longhorn and Corriente cross cattle. Stu and Sherry started raising the Longhorn and Corriente cattle six years ago on their 60-acre farm between Rogersville and Marshfield, Mo.
Stu’s love of agriculture stems from his childhood years living on a farm and helping his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
“It is just something I always wanted to do growing up,” Stu explained. “It is one of those lifestyles you get into.”
When Stu and Sherry started their own farm 27 years ago, they did not raise Longhorn/Corriente cross cattle. Instead, they began with steers.
However, a shift in the market forced them to change their strategy.
“Feeders got too high to buy and feed,” Stu explained.
The Townlians switched to running a cow/calf operation. They raised commercial cattle with Angus or Limousin influence.
But a fluctuation in the cattle industry caused the Townlians to revamp their operation yet again.
“The market got high and we had some older cows,” Stu said. “It was kind of one of those times to get out of them when they were high,” Stu added.
Though the Townlians sold all their cattle it was not the end of their involvement with livestock.
Stu had started participating in All Star Team Roping and United States Team Roping Championships (USTRC) events throughout the region. He and his teammates needed steers to use for roping practice.
“The roping steers got real high a few years back whenever the cattle market got high and they were hard to find and hard to get too,” Stu said. “So I just started raising them and selling them.”
Each year the Townlians buy 50 to 60 steers and raise them to be roping steers. Stu sells the steers when they are 12 to 15 months old and they have reached 350 to 400 pounds. Stu retains half of his steers each year for his roping team to utilize for practice. The rest are sold to local customers who also need roping steers.
In addition, they care for 20 Longhorn/Corriente cross cow/calf pairs. So far they have been a perfect fit for the Townlians. Stu appreciates their low maintenance characteristics. “The Longhorns came out of Texas originally and the Corriente mainly came out of Mexico so they are used to living on whatever they can find to eat,” Stu said. “They are pretty hardy. They can live off little of nothing.”
The Townlians rotate their herd to new pasture every two weeks in the summer months. Stu also feeds his cows range cubes several times a week so they are used to him and easier to work. In the winter months, Stu continues to rotate his herd between pastures. The cattle receive orchard grass and clover hay cut from the Townlian’s 40-acre farm in Ozark, Mo. Their cattle have access to mineral and salt mix year around. The Townlians expose their cows to a Corriente bull in June of each year. Stu and Sherry have been delighted with the calving ease of their Longhorn/Corriente cross momma cows.
“I have never pulled a calf, even out of a heifer. It is a big plus,” Stu stated.
The Corriente breed carries a trait that produces smaller and shorter horns than Texas Longhorn cattle. This creates the preferred sized horn for roping steers. “Their horns don’t get big and wide and they tend to stay smaller to rope,” Stu said. The Townlians have found a breed and a market that fits their farm goals and personal interests. And they have no plans of changing anytime soon. “A guy has to find his own little niche and what works the best for him,” Stu advised. “It’s hard for me to say ‘stick with it’ because I have changed from feeders to cows to these here. But this is what my hobby is and I like to do it,” he concluded.
Away from the farm the Townlian’s work fulltime jobs. Stu owns and operates Double-T Masonry and Sherry works as a project engineer for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. They are the proud parents of Scott, age 20, and Sarah, age 16.
Prior to taking up team roping, Stu spent a decade competing in Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association events throughout the country. His many victories, include winning the world championship competition four years in a row.