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Technology inspires innovation at historic Wittenberg dairy farm

Strassburg Creek Dairy, LLC introduces robotic technology into business operations

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February 22, 2024

WITTENBERG — As a long-standing family business, Strassburg Creek Dairy LLC has been committed to agriculture and caring for its animals for decades.

Alongside traditional practices, the multi-generation farm in Wittenberg — now owned and operated by Jeff and Jeni Strassburg — has transformed its daily operations by adding an innovative robotic milking barn.

A proud family business
The dairy farm, which was founded in 1886, is located at N7339 Regina Road in Wittenberg.

The 4,100-acre Shawano County farm is home to 1,600 cows and 800 young stock, which Jeff said have all been raised on site.

Just as it has been from the beginning, the fifth-generation farmer said Strassburg is still a family affair.

“My two children, Jacob and Alyssa, are the 6th generation on the farm,” he said.

Both kids, Jeff said, assist with daily operations, including farm chores, marketing and other business-related tasks.

Jeff and Jeni Strassburg

Older generations, Jeff also continue to be involved.

“My father, Ken, is also always available to help cook meals, run for parts or weigh in on decisions around the farm,” Jeff said.

Together, he said, the family works diligently to honor the rich history of the farm, including their recognizable namesake.

“Our name is from the neighboring Strassburg Creek that many generations loved to fish from,” he said.

Over the last several decades, Jeff said the Strassburg family has built a commendable reputation and the deep connection with the farm is something they continually strive to maintain today.

“One tradition that has been passed down by many generations is the love and stewardship of the land and animals,” he said. “We hope to continue to pass the passion of agriculture down through the generations to come.”

Innovative farming improvements
For the Strassburgs, Jeff said daily life on the farm starts out early in the barns taking care of their animals — with each season bringing a new rotation of chores and plans.

“We are busy planting in spring and cropping in the summer and the fall,” he said. “Then the winter is mostly made up of catching up on repairs and projects around the farm and getting the equipment ready for the next planting and cropping season.”

Innovation, Jeff said, has always been an important aspect of the Strassburg Farm.

“Something unique about our farm is that we utilize both a conventional parlor and a milking robot facility,” he said.

In 2021, Jeff said they began building a 9 Lely A-5 robotic milking barn, a system designed to allow cows to decide for themselves when to drink, eat, relax and be milked.

On average, he said, the robot can harvest nearly 5,000 pounds of milk per day over a span of 180 milkings.

When a cow enters, Jeff said a hybrid arm automatically attaches a mechanism to the udders and collects the milk.

“In 2022, we finished the robotic milking barn, added three more robots and completed the barn with 12 robotic milkers,” he said.

The Strassburgs added a 9 Lely A-5 robotic milking barn — a system designed to allow cows to decide for themselves when to drink, eat, relax and be milked in 2022. Submitted Photo

Jeff said the farm’s highly advanced milking system can detect and report data — including information on daily milk volume, fat and protein indication per cow and live heifer weight.

The system as a whole, he said, promotes a stress-free experience for the animal and is available 24-hours a day.

Along with a boost to productivity, Jeff said Lely milking robots can help collect up to 10% more milk per year.

By modernizing its approach to the traditional milking process, Jeff said not only has it increased operational efficiency, but it also influenced opportunities for growth.

“This last summer we added onto one of our existing free stalls to add more stalls for the dry cows, and we built a robotic calf barn,” he said. “We pride ourselves on evolving with the industry and trying new things.”

Happy cows, booming business
In the past four years, Strassburg Creek Dairy LLC has gone through several expansions, and though it has attributed to business success, Jeff said they remain focused on what matters most: happy cows and their community.

“We as dairy farmers have gotten to where we are today by looking to always do things more efficiently and also by keeping our communities in mind,” he said.

Jeff said he is proud to be a farmer and gives a rewarding nod to one of Wisconsin’s most popular milk-made products: cheese.

“We are very proud to help produce high-quality Wisconsin milk for the world-famous Wisconsin cheese,” he said. “Fun fact — 90% of milk produced in Wisconsin is made into cheese and 90% of that cheese leaves the State of Wisconsin.”

Jeff said teaching others about the hard work that goes into farming is important to the Strassburg family.

“One of the ways we like to connect with our consumers is to have them come and see our operation and (show them) how things work on a dairy farm today,” he said.

Looking forward, Jeff said he is grateful for all the opportunities his farm has brought him and isexcited about the business’s future.

“Agriculture is a very ‘labor of love’ type of industry and is also very demanding,” he said. “It becomes more like a lifestyle than a career, because it is a 365-day commitment to the animals and land. At the end of the day, our animals, our family, our employees and our community mean the most to us.”

To keep up with daily farm happenings, check out Strassburg Creek Dairy on Facebook.

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