June Dairy Month farm stops take us to Seymour at the Steffens Dairy Farm LLC.
Lorraine Steffens is a former TCHDailyNews Farm Woman of the Year and plays an important role on the Steffens farm. They farm 280 acres of land, owning all but 40 acres, and they do it without hired help.
“We plant only corn and alfalfa,” she said. “We raise all our own feed for the cattle. We do all our own work, we don’t custom anything done, so we operate without any hired help. Sometimes the days get quite long, but we always get it done.”
Despite working without any hired help, the Steffens have taken advantage of mechanical operations and newer technologies.
“We built a new robot dairy barn just a year ago,” said Lorraine. “We have two robot milkers and it’s built to handle 120 head. Right now, we have 108 head and it’s been working really well. Our cell count is down, cows are clean and they are comfortable.”
Lorraine adds the automatic milkers allow for the Steffens to dedicate their time to other areas of the farm.
“There’s the feed mixing to be done, just the general cleaning. We spend a number of hours still taking care of morning chores, but it’s real handy with the milkers. It really opens us up for more free time.”
Even with more free time, it doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t other matters to tend to on the farm at any given time.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many hours you do put in, the cost of everything,” Lorraine discussed about farming. “They’re amazed if you tell them.”