Newsletter June / July 2012
Stan and Jean, owners

In This Issue

    A Guide to All Things Sheep©

    Cattle Halters & Leads

    Goat Collars & Chains

    Professional Resharpening

    National Sheep
    Research Weekend

    Use temporary fencing for
     first-time rotational grazing

    Pasture Management:
     Is It Worth The Effort?
    - by Byron Leu

    Premier's Shipping Department


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Upcoming Shows

Please visit us at the
following shows:

Tall Corn Meat Goat Show
June 16, 2012
Grinnell, IA

Sedalia Show & Sale
June 25-28, 2012
Sedalia, MO

National Goat Expo
Oct 7-11, 2012
Des Moines, IA



Cattle Halter

Special Price!
Cattle Rope Halters

Made from 1/2" diameter twisted polyethylene rope. Lead is 80" long. Colors available: Black, Black/Green, Black/White, Blue/White, Green/White and Black/Red.

At Checkout:
Enter Promo Code: WNEWSI
(In confirm screen press apply promo)
Offer good through 7/31/2012.

Cattle Rope Halters
Price: $4.00 - $3.50 ea
Item:  #819260 (Blk)
 #819261 (Blk/Grn)
 #819262 (Blk/Wht)
 #819263 (Blu/Wht)
 #819264 (Grn/Wht)
 #819265 (Blk/Red)

Special Price!
Cattle Neck Ties

Made from 1/2" diameter twisted polyethylene rope. The steel hardware is brass-plated. Lead is 114" long. Colors available: Black, Black/Green, Black/White, Blue/White, Green/White and Black/Red.

At Checkout:
Enter Promo Code: WNEWSJ
(In confirm screen press apply promo)
Offer good through 7/31/2012.

Cattle Neck Ties
Price: $5.80 - $5.30 ea
Item:  #819270 (Blk)
 #819271 (Blk/Grn)
 #819272 (Blk/Wht)
 #819273 (Blu/Wht)
 #819274 (Grn/Wht)
 #819275 (Blk/Red)



Colored Egg Cartons

Goat Collars & Chains Premier offers chains and collars that work with both polled and horned goats. For more challenging goats, pronged collars can be used to train them.

Wide and narrow leather chin straps are not only attractive but they help elongate a doe's face, providing her with stronger feminine features.

  • Developed by Premier in cooperation with nationally recognized breeders.
  • All leather items are from a US saddlery company.
To stand out in the ring, the chain with braided nylon cord adds color and style.

For more handling options in and out of the ring, visit here


COMING SOON (60 days)—A major addition to our website.

A Guide to All Things Sheep©

What is its purpose?

To be an information exchange among educators, organizations, producers, event organizers and suppliers of sheep/lamb/fiber goods and services to the sheep industries in the US and around the world.

Why are we doing this?

Because we see it as a need that Premier is uniquely able to fill:

  • For decades folks have told us that they value our catalogs, website and newsletters because they contain so many educational photos and so much free information. This suggests that folks would like more of the same.

  • It's our sense that US sheep producers, perhaps because most live far from other sheep producers, yearn to see and read about producers in other areas of the US and in other sheep regions worldwide.

  • Chance and circumstance over 40 years have allowed Premier to develop a relationship with key people and organizations in the sheep industries of the USA, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada and Great Britain.

  • Premier's digital "reach" to the US sheep industry far surpasses all other magazine and newsletters.

How will it work?

By mid August (we hope), we will add a portal (section) to our website's homepage (see this PDF) that will click open to the Guide's homepage, which in turn will open into 9 subsections (again, see this PDF).

Each of the 9 subsections will open to information, articles, photos, videos and links that we consider might be of use, interest and value to any and all sheep folks.

Each week we will add more material to the Guide.

Every 4 to 8 weeks we will send an email showing new Guide additions to all who checked that they have an interest in sheep. (If you don't wish to receive this, just click unsubscribe.)

What are the 9 subsections?

  1. Best of the Best: Articles and photos within the Guide that we (and Guide readers) find especially interesting, for whatever reasons.

  2. Industry Spotlights: A place for the national sheep organizations (ASI, NLFA, ALB), state sheep organizations, sheep breed associations and sheep media to use the Guide to inform producers on issues. We also plan to include, either directly or by links, comments from sheep organizations in Canada and overseas organizations.

  3. Education: Production and marketing advice and research from reliable and credible US, British, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand sources. Areas to be covered include producing grass, grazing, fattening lambs, sheep health, meat quality, lamb marketing, ram and ewe management, breeding, sheep dairies and facilities management.

  4. Features: Articles about sheep folks, farms, ranches, events, shows and sales worldwide.

  5. Viewpoints: From industry leaders.

  6. How-to's: Photo-rich guides and short videos illustrating and explaining common shepherding practices such as tagging, shearing, fencing (permanent and non-permanent), trouble-shooting electric fences, deworming, vaccinating, feeding, lambing care, feeding orphan lambs, etc.

  7. Photo Gallery: Educational and intriguing sheep photos from around the world. If you have high-quality photos that you feel might interest others, email them to Rachel (our photographer) at We can't promise to include them, but we will consider them.

  8. Recipes: From the American Lamb Board, their overseas counterparts and folks like you.

  9. Event Calendar: A list of upcoming sheep events across the nation. This will be a "do-it yourself" calendar, i.e. sheep event organizers can add their event to the calendar without help from Premier.

Will it include a section in which producers can advertise their fiber, lambs, breeding sheep or sheep services?

Not at this time-although we are considering it.

Who will do the work for the Guide?

In addition to Premier staff, we've asked Bill Fosher, a New Hampshire journalist/sheep producer, to edit the Features section and provide general oversight to the other areas.

What won't it include?

Market reports, news, a forum. All of these are already available on the internet.

Will we expand this to include other species?

We've already been asked to do so. Let's get this one up and going first.

Best wishes to you all,
Stan Potratz, owner


Professional Resharpening

Professional Resharpening

Precision finish, superior service and rapid turnaround.
When most of us need sharp blades and combs, we needed it "yesterday." That's why Premier offers 24-hour turnaround for blades, combs and cutters.(Still best to allow an extra day in the hectic summer months.)

How good is our service?
We resharpen over 40,000 blades, combs and cutters a year-so thousands of customers have learned to trust us. We're not perfect-but we get them right 99% of the time.

Return freight-a flat rate.
Any number of blades, combs and cutters are sent via ground service for a flat rate of $7 for packages up to 4.5 lbs and $10 if they weigh more than 4.5 lbs.

To sharpen your blades, combs or cutters, click here.

Customer Review's

Our fair was almost on us before I realized that I needed to have our clipper blades sharpened. I shipped 3 sets of blades from San Luis Obispo, CA on Tuesday. I sent them UPS and they took a week to get to Premier. Premier sharpened them had them shipped Priority Mail the same day. The package was in my mailbox on Friday morning. As usual Premier's turnaround time and work was exceptional.

-Bill R., CA

Very fast turnaround. Excellent customer service. Very sharp, and packaged nicer than any other I've ever seen. We will definitely be using Premier again next year for resharpening.

-Justin S., MI

Read more customer reviews for our sharpening service.
Scroll to the middle of the page and click on the "Reviews" tab.


National Sheep Research Weekend

The NCERA 214 Sheep Research Committee will hold a Sheep Research Weekend at the Clay Center Regional Events Center in Spencer, IA on July 27th & 28th, 2012.

Registration is $50 per person (includes leg of lamb dinner).
Register Online


Draft Schedule of Events:

Friday July 27th
  • 12:30 - Registration

  • 1:30 - Long term economic outlook for the United States sheep industry and the impact of ewe productivity on profit. Dr. Erica Rosa-Sanko, Agricultural Economist, Livestock Marketing Information Center, Denver, CO.

  • 2:15 - Utilization of breed resources to generate more lambs in commercial operations. Dr. Kreg Leymaster, USDA Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE.

  • 3:00 - Break

  • 3:30 - Accelerated lambing systems to generate more lambs. Dr. Richard Ehrhardt, Sheep Extension Specialist, Michigan State University, East, Lansing, MI.

  • 4:15 - Successful use of CIDRs to increase out-of-season breeding and controlling embryo losses. Dr. Keith Inskeep, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.

  • 5:00 - Critical nutrient inputs to increase lambs born and survival. Dr. Dan Morrical, Sheep Extension Specialist, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

  • 5:45 - Social hour - Cash bar

  • 6:30 - Dinner (provided)

  • 7:30 - Keynote address Genomics and marker assisted selection tools for breeding better sheep. Dr. Dave Notter, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA.

  • 8:30 - New concepts in OPP selection and eradication. Dr. Kreg Leymaster, USDA Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE.

  • 9:00 - Program adjourns for the day

Saturday July 28th

  • 7:30 - Facility opens. Morning refreshments

  • 8:00 - Strategies to minimize resistant internal parasites on your farm. Dr. Jimmy Miller, Veterinary College, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

  • 8:45 - Improving lean meat yield of the United States lamb crop.

  • 9:30 - Break

  • 10:00 - Creative ways to raise more sheep with the same resources. Mike Caskey, Lead Instructor, Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Pipestone, MN

  • 10:45 - Question and answer session

  • 11:15 - Program concludes

Move to the Center of Nation NSIP Sale
Swine Barn, Clay County Fairgrounds


Use temporary fencing for
first-time rotational grazing

by Gordon Shelangoski
Premier sales consultant

If you are planning to divide pastures for the first time, we strongly recommend using a temporary fence for the first year or two. This will allow you the chance to adjust the size and shape of the paddocks to fit your animals, quality/availability of forage and your management skills.

One or 2 lines of IntelliTwine is sufficient fencing for most cattle and a 3-line fence works for sheep and goats, as long as you are moving the animals before they become hungry and predators are not a concern. If predators are a problem then electric netting is a better choice.


Pasture Management
Is It Worth The Effort?

by Byron Leu
Beef Production Specialist
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Pasture Management-Is It Worth The Effort?

Recent trends in the agricultural sector have led to a number of challenges for livestock producers in the Midwest. Grain prices and land values have both significantly increased over the past several years. These historically high prices have created a number of issues especially for beef cow-calf and sheep producers. The higher land prices are pressuring producers to incur higher grazing costs and pasture rental payments. In some instances, this cost has increased 20% to 50% for the grazing period. Also, high grain prices are creating land-use competition-with many producers considering planting grain crops on traditional forage ground to take advantage of the current high grain prices. These considerations are forcing livestock producers to explore methods to improve pasture production per acre in order to maintain their livestock enterprises-not only to control grazing costs per unit but also to produce adequate forage production in a cost-effective system.

Obviously there are numerous approaches that can be incorporated into an operation that address these production and economic challenges. Due to limited space, we can't explore them all-but let's look at several basic options:

Evaluate your forage base

  • Will your current pasture species provide adequate production and quality levels to meet your animal's performance and nutritional needs throughout the grazing period? What are the weaknesses?
  • Are legumes a part of your traditional grass-based pastures? Studies have shown that legumes can contribute to improved animal performance and also provide nitrogen for grass growth. Trials reflect that pasture stands of 2/3 grass and 1/3 red clover have shown similar production levels as N-fertilized grass. Also, researchers have shown that incorporating legumes into unimproved grass pastures increase pasture production over 30%. End result-increased animal performance, improved pasture productivity, and potentially lower fertilization expenses.

Develop a workable system

  • What system is best for you? The main point to this question is that if you are attempting to improve productivity and utilization rates, then it is recommended to consider some sort of rotational system. If you compare a rotational system with 4 to 5 paddocks to a continuous grazing program, you can expect a production increase of 15%. Double the number of paddocks (i.e., 8 to 10), and you can pick up another 15%. Without question, some level of rotational grazing can have a positive impact on your bottom line and strengthen the competitiveness of your grazing operation.

Phase out continuous grazing

  • Why? University tests have shown that animal gain per acre increased an average of over 40% in rotational systems when compared to continuous grazing. Plus, a University of Georgia study indicated a 36% increase in stocking rate and calf gain per acre when comparing rotational grazing to continuous grazing-with no difference in conception rates or individual calf weaning weights. Add in the potential of improved plant persistence, forage productivity, and manure distribution. So why not consider abandoning the continuous approach?

Balance your system to match your resources

  • This is key to the success of any grazing system. Utilize and incorporate the information and resources that you have available. This includes management approaches such as adjusting paddock size/location, frost seeding/interseeding, new watering strategies, incorporating a different grazing system approach, early weaning, trying new forage varieties-the options are extensive. Plus, don't forget the basics-manage both the production side as well as the expense side of the equation.

The intended outcomes of the incorporation of these options include an increase in pasture productivity, an improvement in forage utilization, a reduction in per unit grazing costs, and an extension of the grazing period. Is it worth the effort? This author is confident that these efforts will assist livestock producers who combat escalating land and feed costs-and at the same time meet or exceed animal performance needs and expectations. Good luck!


Premier's Shipping Department

The shipping department

We'd like to recognize our shipping department for all the work they have done over the past few weeks. They have been going full throttle to meet the demands of our Spring rush. We're in the heart of our busy season, but they show no signs of slowing down. The core members of our shipping team are (back row, left to right) Lisa, Diane, Todd, Mary, Melodie, (front row) Lindsay and Fawn. When an order invoice is brought to the shipping department, they are the ones who pick it, pack it and ship it on to you.

Rachel, our photographer, was able to pull the shipping folks away for a few moments to shoot this photo. As soon as she was done, they were immediately back to picking, packing and shipping. Although this group does most of the heavy lifting, a few others pitch in during the extremely busy days.

We'd like to thank them again for all the extra time and effort they have been giving to ensure quick and accurate shipping. Most orders received before 2 p.m. are shipped that same day.

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