Tell us about your farm and family. My husband, Chad, and I farm with his parents, Cal and Char Lubben. We have three daughters: Madelyn, Makena and Makayla. Together we milk 420 cows; raise our own replacements; grow alfalfa, soybeans, corn, rye and sorghum; and finish feeder pigs. We milk twice a day in a double-12 parlor.
What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? I feed calves, heat detect and breed cows and heifers, enter and analyze DairyComp records, monitor fresh and sick cows, administer vaccines and help wherever help is needed.
What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? In the past year, we have made quite a few changes to the way we raise our calves, and we have seen great results. First, we started using a stationery milk mixer to feed milk replacer. This has saved time filling bottles and has allowed us to just mix one batch instead of multiple. We also switched to a 27:20 milk replacer and feed 1 gallon twice a day. We are pleased with the results we have seen in our calves since we made these changes, and we are excited to see how much better they will perform in their first lactation.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. I love watching my girls grow up on the farm. The memories I have made with them is something that I will always cherish. They like to help feed bottle calves, take care of their chickens and go for tractor rides.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? Dairy farming is in my blood. I grew up on a dairy farm and had always dreamed of farming as I grew older. Now I am happy that I have the chance to raise my girls on a dairy farm as well. I also like that there is something different going on each day beyond the daily routine.
What is a challenge in the dairy industry you have faced and how did you overcome it? We keep a close eye on transition cows. Occasionally, we will run into issues with that group of cows, and we consult closely with our nutritionist and veterinarian to find the cause and the solution to the problem. I am thankful that we have a great team to work together with when challenges arise.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? Genetics. Since I started working at the dairy after college, I have made progress with A.I. on cows and heifers. Working part time for Select Sires as a relief technician for a few years helped build my confidence and improve my conception rates. Genomic testing has also greatly improved the genetics, health and production of our herd. We started genomic testing about seven years ago, and we have been using the results to make culling and breeding decisions. I enjoy cow records and took the lead in this department. The decisions that we made based on these results played a big role in getting us to where we are today.
What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? We always encourage people who we meet and who are not familiar with dairy farming to come to our farm for a tour. We also help serve ice cream and other dairy products at events in the area and at the county fair.
What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? Be positive. There are definitely many ups and downs in this industry. Many times, we don’t have control over the challenges and obstacles that we face, but we do have control of our attitude and how we view the situation.
When you get a spare moment, what do you do? Spend time with the kids and the family. We like to bake or work in the garden or simply spend time together outdoors.
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