When you see the word “prime” in the name of a cattle operation, you know the goal is top quality. At Hinkle’s Prime Cut Angus near Nevada, Missouri, Kenny and Janyce Hinkle, with their family, aim to raise superior cattle with both maternal and carcass traits.
“We started in ’95,” Kenny said. “We built it from the ground up. Now, we’re to the point where we sell close to 300 bulls a year.”
The Hinkles recently held their third annual fall bull sale in mid-October and are already preparing for their 17th annual spring bull and female sale in March.
“We didn’t start out with any cows,” Kenny explained. “We’ve never had a big cow herd.”
People assume Hinkle’s Prime Cut Angus has hundreds of cows but Hinkle said that’s not the case.
“We have 50 registered cows and another 60 we use for our own recipient cows, but we transfer embryos,” Kenny said. “This fall, we’ll transfer 400 embryos. Counting back to last spring and this fall, we’ll transfer close to 700 embryos this year.”
They use recipient cooperator herds to raise the majority of their cattle due to the high cost of land it would take to maintain that size of a herd on their own.
“It is different than about any other seedstock operation I know of,” he added, “because most of those are big — big acreages and big numbers of cattle. We don’t have that.”
Their small size and innovative approach to raising beef cattle makes their recent recognition with the 2018 Certified Angus Beef Progressive Partner Award all the more impressive.
“We use the majority of our land now to develop our heifers and bulls,” Kenny said. “Everything is developed at home.”
When the Hinkles decided to begin raising cattle, they saw the potential of the American Angus Association’s large database.
“We wanted a breed that we could make progress and changes in,” Kenny said.
“There’s enough difference within the Angus breed now that you can create cattle that can do anything you want them to do,” he continued.
The Hinkles have focused on creating cattle with high-quality carcass traits as well as maternal ability.
“We’re not creating terminal-cross cattle,” Kenny said. “We’ve got females in the pasture that are 15 years old now.”
They’ve been able to accomplish this task by embracing modern technology in their operation.
“From day one, we’ve been 100 percent embryo transfer or artificial insemination,” Kenny said. “We use no clean-up bulls. We never have. We’re doing whatever we can to make sure every generation of cattle is improving.”
He emphasized the cattle have to be able to breed, calve, wean a calf and rebreed on fescue. “We’ve got to create cattle that’ll work every day of the year in our environment,” he added.
“We’re not a carcass-first seedstock operation,” he continued. “We want everything. We demand these cattle be able to do everything.”
This strategy has attracted customers from all over the world. The majority of bulls are sold to producers in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas but the Hinkles have sold bulls to Kazakhstan and ship semen to Australia and New Zealand.
“They love the way these cattle marble and can do it on grass,” Kenny said.
This stems from the Hinkle development philosophy where bulls are developed on high quality forages and also go through extensive culling.
“We’ve tried to really raise the quality here,” he explained. “I want our bottom end of our sale to be as good as a lot of people’s top end.”
The operation is a 100-percent family endeavor. About two-and-a-half years ago, Kenny and Janyce’s son Trevor Hinkle and son-in-law Blake Baker joined the operation full time. Daughter Courtney Baker and daughter-in-law Emily Hinkle are also involved. Four grandsons and another grandchild on the way promise there will be plenty of help in the future.
“We don’t want to be the biggest seedstock operation,” Kenny said. Our goal is to sell around 350 bulls per year.”
Instead of looking at the Expected Progeny Differences of a couple elite animals, the Hinkles focus on group average EPDs.
“I just want to take that average and raise it every year,” he said. “You’ll get your outliers up.” He said this will help them raise cattle that can calve easily and grow rapidly in the first 14 to 16 months of life. The goal is moderate-framed animals with exceptional reproduction ability that can grade and yield well.
“I want a consistent, across-the-board set of EPDs,” he said. “If I could pick every EPD and land them in the top 20 percent of the breed, that’d be great.”
Looking forward, Kenny said he plans to keep raising the quality of their genetics and continue offering cattle that will be an asset to the commercial cattleman.