Guest Blogger: The Schrag Family

Today on the blog, we are featuring The Schrag Family of Marion, South Dakota! Many of you know the Schrags for their involvement in the Shorthorn breed, and have seen them at shows across the country. In February 2017, they opened 605 Sires, a custom semen collection facility also in Marion, SD close to their home farm. As a fellow small business, it has been great to watch 605 Sires? grow and prosper, and to assist with photography for the business.?

We recently caught up with Cory and Melissa Schrag to visit more about 605 Sires and Schrag605.

Tell us about yourselves ? introduce the Schrag family and your specific roles in the family business(es). Then, give us a brief history of 605 Sires, and why did you want to open a semen collection facility there in Marion, SD?

We run 2 businesses: Schrag605 and 605 Sires. Schrag605 consists of Cory and Melissa Schrag and our two kids, Sammi (19) and Jaxon (15).? We are a 100-year-old Shorthorn operation that recently has incorporated Maine and Chi genetics.? Our focus has always been promoting the most productive and profitable cow families and our always proud to see those cow families featured in other herds.? We have an annual female production sale in the fall, The Family Event, selling show heifers, steers, herd bull prospects and bred females.? Plus, a couple online show heifer and embryo sales throughout the year.? Sammi and Jaxon are instrumental in the preparation and promotion of Schrag605.? Like so many cattle families, we work side by side and take our family vacations wherever the Jr. Nationals is that year.? It has been a great blessing to raise our family in the show cattle world.? Sammi is on the National Shorthorn Jr. Board and Jaxon can be found at the chutes on show day.??

Last February we opened 605 Sires.? It is a full-service bull collection facility and embryo center. Cory and I both grew up on purebred operations and have been on all spectrums when it comes to bull collection.? With that experience we wanted to build a stud that we would like to use ourselves.? We have poured our heart in souls into 605 Sires and we would like to thank our customers that have been so supportive this first year.? Our goal was for 605 Sires to be surrounded by excellence therefore we partnered with Trans Ova Genetics for the embryo center, use only IMV technology equipment, we use the CEROS computer system for semen evaluation, we only use FMG for herd bull photography, and we only sell Sullivan Supply products.?

When it comes to bull collection and donor care we do not cut any corners and do what is needed for optimal results.

In your opinion, makes 605 Sires unique?

605 Sires is unique because not only is it a bull semen collection center it is also an embryo center. We thought to ourselves how handy it would be to drop off our bulls and donors at the same place. The response has been outstanding.? We are so glad we partnered with Trans Ova Genetics this January to provide this service. We also had a computer system built just for us that provides an online tracking system for you to see how your bulls are collecting, your shipments, and invoices.? The customer feedback has been excellent on this program.

How many people do you have on staff?

Cory Schrag, owner operator; Melissa Schrag, owner and lab manager; Keith Jensen, bull barn manger; Dakota Flint, donor facility manager; Kelly Morrison, office manager and lab technician; Katie Mehlhaf, lab technician and Travis Schnabel, Schrag605 farm manager

Walk us through the process ? if a producer has a herd sire they would like to have collected, how does the scheduling, collection & housing process work?

First step would be to call the office and get him on the schedule. Once the bull is at the stud we can do health testing here and start collecting him.? We collect boarded bulls every Monday and Thursday and walk in bulls on Tuesday.? If the collection passes the requirements for motility, concentration and morphology we then add extender and start the freezing process.? We do a post freeze analysis with the state of the art CEROS II computer system.? This gives a complete print out of exact concentration, the percent progressive motile and breaks down the morphology into categories.? Our baseline for concentration is 40 million per unit and we have above industry standards for morphology. We truly understand the importance and expense it takes to AI and want to insure your success with producing an exceptional product.?

Along with the bull stud, 605 Sires is also offering donor housing, ET & IVF flushing. Why did you decided to offer this service as well?

Seriously we were just thinking of ourselves personally, how cool it would be to drop off your donors and bulls at the same place. For the last 20 years we have been involved with the embryo business, so it seemed like a logical step.? Trans Ova came on board to do the procedures and provide their expertise and a beautiful partnership has formed.? So far, it seems that our customers agree as we have had quite a few drop off donors and bulls at the same time!

Where do you see 605 Sires in 10 years?

Well, we just decided to double our capacity and add a whole new boarding barn this summer! We may get a little bigger, but I know taking care of our customers and their needs will always be a top priority.

Your family also owns Schrag Shorthorn Farms, recently renamed to Schrag605. Is it challenging to manage your own herd along with the bull stud?

It can be challenging, but I also think it gives us great insight and appreciation for the purebred producer. This has been a challenging spring for everyone and we understand that and have tried to make collecting your bulls and donors as painless as possible.?

As a new, small business ? what has been the biggest obstacle?

The biggest obstacle has been trying not to grow too fast. We strive for uncompromising quality and a personal touch that we like to call the 605 experience.? So, making sure we have an exceptional staff in place to handle this growth has been a top priority.?

You have worked with FMG in several capacities. Please share your experience working with our team.

As I said before, 605 Sires likes to be surrounded by excellence, therefore FMG was the logical choice. FMG has taken the stress out of pictures for herd bulls at 605 Sires.? I know when I call and line up pictures, FMG will be professional, produce images of the highest quality that can satisfy a wide range of personal preferences and do so in a timely fashion.? I also love how flexible they are and so easy to reschedule. We were so pleased with the work at the bull stud that we had FMG do our Schrag605 online sale photos and videos.? The cattle were represented honestly, and we couldn?t have been happier with the results.?

DUXS BRITS EMPIRE 7E, pictured at 605 Sires