The Strow brothers are active in beef production PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 09:45
Richard Strow. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
CUSTAR - Though brothers Richard and Bob Strow are both involved in the beef industry, they have separate operations. Despite their own private businesses they still assist each other and cooperate as much as possible.
Bob's operation is focused primarily on Angus as well as some Simmental breeds of beef cattle. It is more of a feedlot type of facility as opposed to his brother Richard's Shorthorn cattle, which he operates primarily to sell breeding stock.
"My operation takes a little different angle," Bob Strow said.
Bob has his herd in two barns, one on his own property and the other at his mother's place which was the family homestead. It is directly across the street from his brother's farm.
The Strow Family farm has been recognized as a Century Farm by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Growing up the family was in the dairy business, but Richard said the move to beef was made after their father was tragically killed in 1999.
Bob Strow's farm
Bob Strow and his wife, Angela (Bowen) Strow, have four children ranging in age from five to 15.
There are daughters Rosa and Lily Bowen, along with and Henry and Luke Strow. The girls are a sophomore at Bowling Green High School and an eighth-grader at Bowling Green Middle School, respectively while the boys are in second grade at Kenwood and kindergarten at St. Aloysius.
Bob Strow.
Rosa Bowen.
Bob noted the difference between the dairy business and the beef farm.
"Beef is very casual, where dairy is labor-intensive," Bob said noting raising beef is not as "hands-on" as dairy.
"It's more suited to a chores in the morning and chores at night routine."
His operation currently includes roughly 30 head. That includes cows, heifers and a bull.
"I'm not running a big cow herd."
Among his animals, he raises some calves for kids to show as 4-H projects to raise and show at the fair.
Mostly, he is raising the animals to sell as pounds of meat.
"I'm selling by the pound, so I want to try to build as much weight as possible," Bob said. "By breeding and genetics I work to have a product  that is going to make better feedlot cattle."
He says he bought some additional head this past year and plans on condensing the herd this fall.
Some of the animals will be sold as replacements for other farms, while others will be sold out for feed.
"I want to try and get my numbers down for the winter."
In addition to working with the cattle, he also raises his own crops, including both hay and corn, on the farm for the cattle and other uses. Much of what he grows is used for feed.
Though he says "by no means is it a full time job," he does work off the farm from time to time as he does some custom livestock hauling to market.
"I have to have a truck and trailer for my own animals and this gets me a little extra money," Bob said.
"I enjoy cattle, it's a profession I choose," Bob said.
Rosa's FFA project
Bowling Green FFA member, Rosa Bowen, began documenting a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project of bred heifers in January.
Three of the family's herd will be bred and sold to another cattleman this fall. The heifers will be ready to calve in February or March.
The animals she sells were born last March and this will be their first breeding. She is starting with three heifers this year with plans to increase the size of her project in subsequent years.
"I've always grown up with beef in the background since my mom met my stepdad," Rosa said.
Active in the 4-H program as a member of Livestock Unlimited, she said she has regularly taken various livestock projects to the fair. This year she showed the
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reserve champion market beef steer. She also had two other top steers and her pigs all placed in their class.
"I've done a little bit of everything," Rosa said noting that she has shown heifers, steers and beef feeders as well as pigs.
As for the SAE project, she says they have not determined whether they will sell the bred heifers privately or at a public sale.
"I enjoy the bonds we get with the animals," she said. "It may sound strange, but from working with the animals so long you understand what they like and dislike. It's kind of like a friendship."
Each animal, just like people, "can be sweet or kind of mean."
Richard's farm
Richard said he has been in the beef business for 14 years, after converting the family's diary operation to beef production.
"My brother and I are very typical cow-calf operations," Richard said.
His operation contrasts with his brother's as he sells breeding heifers and bulls.
At any given time he may have only five to 10 head of registered Shorthorn beef cattle.
"I don't feed out here," he said.
He says all his breeding stock "trace back to popular well-known cow family pedigrees."
Using frozen embryos and bull semen, he is able to impregnate his cows with a variety of specimens to try and achieve the highest quality calves.
"Some of the embryos are out of a $20,000 cow," he said noting he would never own such a high-priced cow, but yet is still able to breed from that stock using the embryos.
"It give you an opportunity to tap into some awfully good genetics."
He said there is roughly a 50 percent conception rate, thus calling the process "high risk."
Once implanted or inseminated, the cow is checked with a blood test to see if she is pregnant. If not the process can be repeated.
One of the traits he looks for in breeding is that the cows are pretty content. By breeding for certain traits such as contentment, it can increase the value of the animals he sells.
Like many county beef farmers, this is a sideline for him.
Richard is a certified agronomist and works in Ridgeville Corners and has worked at that elevator since 1984.
"Cattle is my second full-time job."
The calves he sells typically leave the farm from four months to a year after birth.
Of the eight calves born this spring, five have been sold, with plans to keep one of them as a replacement cow for his herd. One of his cows already has three daughters in the herd.
The current age range of his cows is from 2 to 7 years of age.
On the farm, you will also find numerous cages with rabbits. His daughters have successfully shown rabbits at the Wood County Fair over the years. Lauren Strow showed the champion pen of three meat rabbits at this year's fair.
He also farms and makes hay all summer long to feed his herd. Last year had to buy some hay due to the drought.
He says his business is "seasonal" with spring being the time for the birth of the calves, summer involves breeding time, fall is harvest; while in the winter his focus is to get the cattle through the coldest months.
That's all four seasons, so I guess the beef business is seasonal.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 11:36

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