Message from the Owner

After the economic hurricane—the next decade for US food producers

What will be different from 2010 onward compared to the decades prior to 2008?

  1. Oil (and thus gasoline, diesel and heating oil) will remain high. It may not reach $150. But $100/barrel in five years is likely.

    Why?
    • Increasing demand from the Far East.
    • Weaker US dollar.
    • Too few low-cost, environment-friendly oil reserves.
    • Increasing pressure for our nation to spend fewer $$ on imported oil.

    Impact on agriculture?
    • Higher over-the-road costs to ship “stuff” to and from your home, farm or ranch—which will create a higher premium for local food than existed in decades past. Farmers’ markets will continue to thrive and prosper.
    • Higher relative cost for phosphate and potassium (due to increased freight)—which will cause manure to be worth more $$/ton.
    • Personal and business travel in all forms (air/road/train) will cost more per mile so less of it will occur. Agri-tourism will present increased opportunities to those who can offer it.
    • Energy-efficient cars, trucks and tractors will be valued.

  2. Natural gas (and thus propane as well), on the other hand, will remain near historic lows vis-a-vis the price of oil.

    Why?
    • Vastly increased gas reserves have been “found” (made available by innovative methods) in the last two years.

    Impact on agriculture?
    • Lower relative costs for:
    • Nitrogen fertilizer.
    • Drying grain.
    • Heating homes and commercial buildings with this fuel source.

  3. The US dollar will remain weak (and may get weaker) vis-a-vis the other major currencies.

    Why?
    • Because our national debt/person/GDP from all sources is at historic highs. Up to a decade will be needed for this to be corrected.
    • Because the Far East will remain the lowest cost source for manufactured goods, which will in turn prevent significant portions of manufacturing in the US from regaining its former prosperity.
    • The above points will continue to enable other nations to prosper more per person than those in the US until our national culture sets itself to work more, consume less and increase our national capability. We’ve done this before. We can do it again. When it does the US dollar will gradually strengthen.
    • Note: I have a lot of confidence our innate national creativity and resourcefulness. But we need the leadership and the necessary incentives (both carrots and sticks) to make the changes. It was my hope that the 9/11 tragedy might be the trigger for this. Instead we, as a nation, went on a borrowing spree.

    Impact on agriculture?
    • Export demand for beef, pork, poultry, dairy products and grains will all increase—at the expense of other nations. Prices for agricultural products will rise as the world discovers that US foodstuffs are at bargain prices.
    • All products that we import (particularly from Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) will cost more than in recent years
    • Food in the US will cost the consumer more. They will be pushed up by higher transport costs and higher export demand for food and food-based products.

  4. Government subsidies for agriculture will finally subside.

    They’ve been sheltered US commodity agriculture for decades and thereby moved our national land usage toward large-scale grain, pork, poultry and dairy production. Why will they be reduced? Economic forces from overseas will our government’s to put a control our spending—including farm subsidies. By 2020 they should be much smaller.

    If you’re dependent upon them it would be prudent to begin to adjust now.


  5. So food production will continue to divide into two broad models:
    1. Large scale that is very efficient in every way possible. Some will be commodities and some will be branded. The US farmer and rancher has few peers in this area. I continue to marvel at this through each and every harvest season.
    2. Locally produced and sold food from small farms, gardens, orchards, vineyards and “ranchettes”. The demand for food from this “system” has exploded in recent years. It continues despite the recession. I see nothing that will slow the trend.

Stan Potratz, Owner


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Special Price from Premier!

Winter Special!

FREE Ground Delivery on qualified items for website orders exceeding $50.
Click here to learn more about this exciting offer!

Offer is good now through January 31, 2010.

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Special Price from Premier!

Premier's Heat Lamp – New Lower Price!

  • Versatile and effective
  • Durable
  • Safer

The "Premier" Heat Lamp is superior in strength, safety, protective guard, and hanging system. A 16 ft cord provides the "reach" needed. Use standard or infrared (heat) bulbs no larger than 250w. Heat lamp bulbs not included, but sold separately.

Premier Heat Lamp
Item #557000   $24 (use promo code below)

Promo Codes:
For website orders: WNEWSH (type code in the Promo Code Box at checkout).
For phone orders: NEWSH (advise Premier's sales consultant at time of purchase).

Order soon! Offer expires November 30, 2009

This offer cannot be combined with any other claim codes or offers (However, free shipping does apply for qualified orders, click here for details.)

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Premier Photo Contest

Net Fence Photo Contest — Winners receive a $100 Premier gift certificate!

Send us your photos of Premier's netting in use on your farm or around your home.

Netting is a versatile tool, and all types of photos will be considered. (This time we're especially looking for photos of netting used for pigs.) So take your best photos and send them to us, and you may be a winner!

Make sure the photos are in focus and the background is as clean as possible (no extra stuff in the photos).

All winning photos that are used in our catalog or on our website will be credited, and the sender will receive a $100 Premier gift certificate.

Here are the specifics:

  1. The photo needs to be in digital format (jpeg) with high resolution (300 dpi). We are accepting only digital photos. Send as many photos as you like.

  2. The net in the photo needs to be Premier's net, used for any purpose.

  3. Identify the type of net and the energizer that is powering it. Write a very short paragraph explaining its use.

  4. Send your photos to cmiller@premier1supplies.com. Include your name, address and daytime phone number in an e-mail message.

  5. We will contact winners as they are selected. They will receive a photo release form to sign and return to us.

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Premier Tip

Energizer Tips From Premier

We receive a number of calls from customers with questions that begin: "My fence is dead so Premier's energizer must not be working."

Anytime you find that your fence is running low voltage, unhook the fence from the energizer. Test the energizer first. This will give you a starting point to find the problem. If the energizer puts out 5000 to 8000 volts across the terminals, then we know the energizer is working as it should and the problem is on the fence.

After that, break the fence into smaller sections, if you can, and test each of them to help isolate where the short is.

If there is more than one hot wire on the fence, disconnect all of them. Then energize and test one at a time.

Premier's 110v AC energizers
Premier's battery/solar energizers

by Premier Sales Consultant, Gordon Shelangoski

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Premier VIP

The Shocking Truth About Electric Fences

by John Kirchhoff

For many people, the word "electric fence" conjures up images of a well-done corpse hanging off a prison fence. Some say they're ineffective and useless while others consider an electric fence an instrument of animal torture and refuse to use. I've had fences that were ineffective and no one knows better than I do the unique pain delivered by a powerfully charged fence. One person will tell you their fence is inexpensive and dependable while the next person says theirs was expensive and is undependable. With the exception of corpse and torture, all of the above could apply to farm-use electric fences under certain circumstances.

For the record, a well-built electric fence will deliver a painful but non-life threatening shock that will keep animals inside or outside of a designated area. A well-built, properly designed and maintained electric fence is just as effective at keeping sheep in the pasture as it is at keeping dogs and coyotes out of the pasture. Electric fences are more effective at deterring four-legged predators than are conventional fences and rely on psychology rather than presenting a physical barrier.

A coyote eyeballing your tasty new lambs has no fear of a conventional fence and will keep testing the fence until a weakness is found. If he can't jump over, climb through or go around the fence, he'll dig under and soon be enjoying his feast. If you plug that hole, he simply digs a new hole a few feet away. Electric fences are physically weak, but add electricity and it turns into a psychological barrier stronger than the best woven-wire fence. When a coyote tries to climb through or dig under a "hot wire," he gets an electrical jolt that knocks him back on his heels. After that first shock, most will give a wide berth to any fence that looks like the one that zapped them.

An electric fence and a four-wheel drive truck have a lot in common. When properly equipped, maintained and used for the appropriate purpose, both will faithfully and dependably do what's asked of them, saving you money and making your life much easier. Used, equipped or maintained improperly and both are going to be a disappointingly expensive exercise in futility. As proof of the latter, I've seen people tear up their four-wheel drive trying to pull out stumps, and I've seen people try to contain a romantic bull with an ancient energizer (charger) and rusty fence wire tacked to saplings, rotted-off posts and falling-down buildings.

Electric fences can be permanent, lasting for 20 or more years and requiring little maintenance or a temporary fence that may be erected for a few days or months for the sole purpose of grazing a particular area. Regardless of the type, it's important to realize rather than physically containing the animal, an electric fence uses the fear of pain to contain animals.

To accomplish this, four components are necessary and a weakness in any one will reduce the effectiveness of the fence as a whole, much like the way one flat tire totally disables your car. The four components are the energizer, the conductor, the post-insulator and the ground. The energizer turns low-voltage household current or battery power or sunlight into a high-voltage, teeth-jarring electric shock. The conductor transmits this shock to the unlucky soul that touches it. The conductor wire is usually galvanized or aluminum-coated steel. Plastic "poly" wire, tape, cord or rope has tiny stainless-steel wires woven into the fabric that enables it to conduct electricity. The post-insulator combination supports the wire and prevents the electricity in the wire from leaking into the ground. Some posts are self-insulating while others require a separate insulator be attached to the post. Ground rods are metal rods driven into the soil, which are connected to the energizer. When something or someone touches the wire, soil moisture carries the electricity to the rods and back into the energizer.

People's opinions on the effectiveness of electric fences are split into two groups: those who know they work, and those who swear they don't work. Invariably, the former understands the importance of the previous paragraph, and the second don't. New Zealanders didn't invent the electric fence, but were the ones who fine-tuned the four components into something dependable and effective. Their famous observation is that Americans usually overbuild the fence but under-power it with a puny energizer. Keep in mind that the energizer is the heart of an electric fence.

How Big of an Energizer Should I Buy?

I get asked that question pretty often and my standard reply is, "Bigger than you think you need." When asked how much money they should spend I tell them, "More than you think you should." How's that for evading the question?

The problem is, sometimes an energizer that meets the previous criteria still isn't big enough, especially for sheep and goat raisers. Horses are the easiest animals to contain because their thin skin makes them easily shocked and they're smart enough to remember how much it hurt and give it a wide berth afterwards.

Sheep are the hardest to control for a number of reasons. It's more difficult for electricity to get through their thicker hide and hair or wool coat. Plus, when a wooly or thickly haired individual goes under a wire, the wool winds itself around the wire and creates an insulator. In addition, if one sheep goes through, herd mentality demands everyone else follow, whether they get shocked or not. And worst of all, sheep and goats will try the fence at least daily, it seems, to see if it's operating. I know cow people who leave their fence turned off for weeks at a time. But if the energizer fails today, be assured sheep will be out tomorrow. My mom's goats prefer to let the young animals be the ones to test the fence. When you hear a loud "Blatt!" and everyone runs to the barn, you know the fence is working just fine.

Most people at some time in their grazing career (myself included) have bought an energizer that seemed expensive enough or powerful enough at the time, but made the mistake of not considering the possibility of future expansion. I'm not suggesting a couple expecting their first child go buy a school bus just to be on the safe side, but you get the idea. I've found energizers are a lot like shoes-price doesn't always equate to performance and we tend to outgrow them in a few years. Years ago when I had just a few sheep my "little blue jewel" ($125 well-known New Zealand energizer) worked great. As the flock grew and additional fence was added, the sheep started getting out. I figured I didn't have enough wire strands to hold them, so I added more wire and lo and behold, more sheep were getting out. That didn't make sense! After chasing sheep for a week, I realized my fence had outgrown my energizer. Even though the "little energizer that could" had the heart of a warrior, I'd added so much fence that he could no longer support the load. The sheep discovered this before I did. My response to sheep getting out had been to add more wire, which only made a bad situation worse. The overload of wire pulled the voltage down until the "hot" wire wasn't much more than lukewarm.

Once I realized what I was doing wrong, I bought an $80, red American-made energizer that spoke with considerably more authority. At least that's what I gathered from watching sheep get knocked on their rears. I must admit, that sight most definitely gave me a feeling of satisfaction! About five years later, history repeated itself. Hooking up 10,000 feet of multi-wire fence to "Old Red" made him grunt, but when the bottom wire was deep in wet grass, it knocked the wind clear out of him. So, back to the energizer store I went. Well, not exactly. By now the first place pretty well knew me by name and I really hated to show up again with the same tired old story. So I instead went someplace where they didn't know me as well and bought a black $170 American-made unit with a funny name that made me think of African wildlife. I figured if it was good enough for those kinds of animals, it had to be good enough for me. I installed it one rainy day and after plugging it in, the fence voltage immediately went up from 2,500 to 5,500 volts. I've got an El Cheapo voltmeter with lights so I'm not sure of the accuracy of those figures, but it sure set those wet lambs back on their heels. That alone gave me $170 worth of satisfaction.

Acres, Miles or Joules?

Comparing energizers of different manufactures is next to impossible because there is no industry standard. Most manufacturers measure the power of their energizers with one, or sometimes two of three different methods. Right now I'm looking at an energizer identical to the first one I had. The manufacturer says, "Powers up to 30 acres." Well, there's vague and then there's really vague and to me, that description falls into the latter category. A rectangular-shaped 30 acres requires a fence 15% longer than a square 30 acres meaning when it comes to fencing, not all 30 acres are created equal. The manufacturer refers to its larger units as powering multi-wire fences but doesn't on this one, so I assume that's 30 acres of single-wire cow or horse fence they're talking about, and claims this unit will maintain 3,900 volts on said fence. Without going into excessive arithmetic detail, let me just say a four-wire sheep fence presenting the same load on the energizer would be very much shorter. In fact, so much shorter that by the time geometry gets finished with it, it's enclosing a mere 2 acres! You can now see that as I added wire trying to contain my animals, all I did was increase the load, which in turn lowered the voltage (or the strength of the shock). It's pretty obvious to see why they were literally walking right through the fence.

Some manufacturers rate their energizers in the miles of fence they will energize. This is another rating that can be construed or misconstrued any way you wish. My "Old Red" unit is rated at 30 miles of clean fence. I was energizing three wires for a total of six miles of wire. In early spring when the soil was moist and the grass short, it worked fine. When two miles of that wire was immersed in wet grass later in the season, the energy loss through the grass was enough to turn this unit into a 90-lb weakling. Had it been six miles of single wire 24 inches above the grass, it would have been effective regardless of whether the grass was wet or dry. In short, the mile rating means little because there are so many variables that come into play.

Other manufacturers like to use joules either alone or in conjunction with the acre or mile rating. Put very simply, a joule is a volume measurement of electricity just like a gallon is a volume measurement of a liquid. Three factors are needed to quantify a joule: voltage (the spark part of electricity); amperage (the heat or work part); and time. It's the time part that makes it nearly impossible to compare one manufacturer's joule rating to another one. I'll put it in terms that even I can understand. Let's say I want to draw one gallon of water. Three factors come into play there also. The pressure is just like voltage and is the part that determines whether the water exits the faucet in a rush or rather leisurely. The size of the opening in the faucet is a lot like amperage and amperage largely determines work. For example, ten pounds per square inch of water pressure in a pencil-sized stream will get your pant legs wet, but that's about it. A 10-psi column of water three feet in diameter is going to knock your feet clear out from under you.

Then comes time. A gallon is a gallon whether it takes one minute or one week to get it. That's why it's difficult to compare joule ratings between different brands of energizers. Most energizers produce a spark that's no more that about .0003 of a second in duration (for health safety reasons), however that duration does vary between manufacturers and models. Just for fun, let's go shopping for an energizer. On the shelf at the local farm store is a one-joule, Old Sparky brand of energizer. The electronic wizardry inside the plastic case produces this one-joule of energy by making a 5,000-volt spark for .00015 of a second. Setting beside it is the two-joule Big Juicer brand, which appears to the guy in the dirty-seed corn hat to be twice as powerful. But is it? This unit produces those two advertised joules by making a 5,000-volt spark but at .0003 second, or double the time. The advertising literature may tell you a unit will produce 5,000 volts but I've yet to find any of them that will give the pulse duration. As far as seat of the pants comparisons go, when I accidentally come in contact with either fence, I know I'll yelp but I doubt I'm going to feel much difference between the two because both are going to hurt equally. When it comes to hurting, the "owie factor" is determined more by the wattage (voltage X amperage) delivered in the spark rather than the length of time it's delivered.

To confuse matters even further, some manufactures advertise stored joules, output joules or both. A stored joule is kind of like a tank of water setting in the back of a pickup. An output joule is more like the amount of water that runs out of the hose attached to the tank and is always going to be less than the stored capacity. If it's joule ratings you think you need, drag that ancient, 120-volt continuous power shocker out of the corncrib. You know, the old blue job with the red power light that looks like a taillight from a '48 Studebaker pickup. Since the power output is continuous on those old relics, the joule rating is going to be astronomically high compared to newer energizers. Of course we all know how ineffective those old things are, so it's obvious that a joule rating really means nothing without knowing the duration of the spark as well as the voltage.

Volts for Jolts

Voltage-that's another variable we can throw into the fray. Again, the numbers mean little without knowing any of the other variables. Voltage is nothing more than electrical pressure and is what determines how wide of an air gap a spark can jump. With low voltage numbers (low pressure), it will be necessary for a cow to actually touch an energized wire to get zapped. With high numbers, I don't even have to touch the wire because if I'm close enough, it's going to find me like a magnet to steel. Liken it to the water pressure example-low pressure dribbles out of the garden hose while high pressure allows the kids to squirt you from half way across the yard. However (you knew that was coming, didn't you?), high voltage without amperage does little more than make your skin tingle. For example, a Frankenstein movie wouldn't be complete without the Tesla coil arcing out sparks two feet long. It takes millions of volts to make such an arc, but the amperage is so low that the total amount of energy is harmless and does little more than tickle you.

The voltage output of an energizer isn't everything, but it's important when it comes to energizing long stretches of fence. It takes a certain amount of voltage to push the electrical current (energizer pulse) to end of the wire. As a wire grows longer, increasingly higher voltages are needed at the energizer. It's just like screwing one garden hose to another; the result is less water with less pressure at the end. Add enough hoses and you can easily shut off the water with your thumb, because even though there's water in the hose, there's no pressure to push it out. That's why my sheep were getting out as I added more wire-not enough voltage to push the electrical energy to the end of the wire.

Buying an energizer is much like ordering a meal at a Chinese restaurant-what do all those funny-sounding words mean, and after your order arrives you're not really sure of what you just bought. Last month I talked about how difficult it is to compare one energizer to another, and I'm still just as confused as I ever was. I talked about voltage, the pressure part of electricity that pushes the electricity along the wire and amperage, the working (or hurting) part of a shock. And let's not forget joules, a quantity measurement that includes both the above as well as duration (time).

Some manufacturers give "performance report" for their product that has three categories that include 1) voltage, 2) open circuit and ohms and 3) a low and high joule rating. We know what voltage is, so let's cover number two. When an energizer is plugged in and doing its thing, it produces an electrical pulse every time you hear a click. Inside is a capacitor that acts like battery and stores up electrical energy. The main difference between the two is that a battery empties itself rather slowly while a capacitor empties itself almost instantly. The click you hear is when the "floodgate" is opened and the energy stored up is dumped into the hot wire exiting your energizer. Many energizers click louder when the fence is shorted out. Electricity leaking out of the wire through the short allows the capacitor to empty itself completely instead of partially when the fence is in good shape. The energy discharged from the capacitor is like a little kid; it's always looking for some place to go. Where it wants to go is from the fence wire through something conductive, through the moisture in the soil until it finds the ground rods and then eagerly zips through them to the ground wire leading back to your energizer. The lack of conductive soil moisture is why a super powerful energizer can be so ineffective in dry soil conditions. In addition, the more powerful an energizer is, the greater is the need for an adequate number of ground rods to catch all of the electrical charge coming back to it. Three rods may have been adequate for your old unit but your new, more powerful "Big Daddy" unit may need four. Inadequate grounding turns even the most powerful energizer into a 90-pound weakling. The lack of grounding is why a bird can set on a 6,600-volt power-line and not go up in a poof of smoke.

Sizing up an Energizer

This brings us to the term "ohms." An ohm is nothing more than a quantifiable unit of resistance. Something that conducts electricity very easily such as a steel hot wire has little resistance to the flow of electricity and therefore exhibits a low ohm reading. Something like wood has a great resistance to the flow of electricity and would show a very high ohm reading. As you know, you can touch a hot wire with a stick of wood and not be shocked because the fence voltage pressure isn't high enough to push the electricity through the wood. However, a lightning bolt with millions of volts has enough pressure to push electricity through the wood of a barn, tree or house. In short, the more resistance something has, the higher the voltage must be to push electricity through it.

The following is my favorite method of judging the effectiveness of an energizer, but I've only found one manufacturer that uses it. They compare their own units against each other using open circuit, 500-ohm load and 100-ohm load with a joule rating at that load. As resistance decreases (fewer ohms), so does the voltage.

An "open circuit" is when the energy is unable to get back to the ground. Or in other words, the fence is up and no weeds are shorting it out. Think of the fence as a garden hose with the water turned on. An open circuit is akin to the business end being shut off. The water pressure (voltage) will be the highest it's going to be as it unsuccessfully struggles to find a way out. When you squeeze the squirter handle on the hose, the high pressure causes the water to shoot out enthusiastically and accidentally squirts a cat on the other side of the driveway. Hmmm, that was kind of fun!

The manufacturer claims a "500-ohm load" is equal to five miles of lightly weeded fence, which means some but not all of the electricity is leaking out of the wire and into the ground via the weeds touching it. Imagine our water hose having a bunch of little pinholes. Some water will leak out which reduces the pressure (voltage) in the hose, but there's still enough to intentionally squirt the cats setting on the back steps. Now that felt good!

The manufacturer claims a "100-ohm load" is equal to five miles of heavily weeded fence. Now imagine our hose having a number of very large holes. A considerable amount of water is leaking out, which causes the pressure to be so low that when we go to squirt the cats, the water just dribbles on our shoes and the cats have a good laugh at our expense.

I'm looking at a chart that shows a smaller energizer as having an open circuit voltage of 8,500 volts. That sounds pretty good and it's pretty obvious the electricity is eager to go someplace. Kind of like a gun that's cocked and loaded. Their larger unit produces an open circuit voltage of 10,700, or 26% more than the smaller unit and either is enough to really hurt. Under a fence load of 500 ohms, the smaller unit produces 6,100 volts and the large one 8,750 volts, or 43% more. At 100 ohms, the small one produces 3,100 volts but the big one is at 6,300 volts or 103% more. Extremely long fences, fences in brushy or woody growth or multi-wire fences with the lower wires immersed in green growth need the extra oomph a large energizer can produce. A powerful unit can have the wire lying on the ground snapping and still have some zap to it. A big energizer is like hooking our leaking garden hose to a fire truck. It doesn't matter how much water is leaking out; the fire truck has enough extra capacity that we can blow those cats clear off the porch.

Another manufacturer uses a similar comparison, but rate their units in joules at 100 ohms without any kind of voltage rating. My "Old Red" unit has a 6-joule output with a 100 ohm load. My unit named after African wildlife is also rated at 6 joules at 100 ohms. The specs may look comparable but when you accidentally touch either one, it's very plain the latter unit has much more kick to it. With the former, your hand jerks back and cuss yourself. With the latter, you involuntarily yell "OH!" and jerk your arm back hard enough to sprain your neck. That's another one of my "been there, done that" stupid moves. Incidentally, while the use of the word "Oh" is involuntary, the generous use of four letter words following is intentional and quite heartfelt.

Inductance – also known as "Ouch! How can that wire shock me when it isn't even hooked up???"

This is an interesting phenomenon that can give you a real wakeup call. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that the ignition coil on a car produces that teeth-chattering shock by turning electricity on and off in a coil-shaped bunch of wires that are surrounded by another coil of wires. In the same manner, the pulses of electricity flowing through a hot wire will "induce" or create electricity in a nearby parallel, non-charged strand of wire on the same fence. I've been bitten by a so-called "cold" wire that was carrying 1,000 volts created purely through inductance. The closer the wires are and the more powerful the energizer, the more common this is. This doesn't hurt anything, but if it causes you a problem physically, simply ground that cold wire to make sure it stays completely cold.

The miracle of inductance also allows a distant lightning strike to "power up" your fence and zap your energizer without ever striking the fence itself. That's why a lightning arrestor, diverter or choke is a good investment.

Cyclic Wave Technology

Here's one of those fancy terms that sounds really neat, but since I've never used an energizer with this feature I can't make a judgment on its merits. Here's an easy way to understand what that term means. As an energizer pulse tears along the fence wire at 90,000 miles an hour, some of its energy is lost and here's where it goes. If you had X-ray vision like Superman, you'd see that an electrical pulse looks a lot like the up and down zigzag lines produced when some guy on TV is lying while taking a lie detector test. As the pulse flows along the wire, the outermost tips have a tendency to get knocked off, creating heat in the wire, which in turn reduces the amount of energy in the pulse. Don't ask me how, but some really smart person figured out how to make an energizer pulse that is shaped more like a football, loaf of bread, stick of summer sausage (oops, never write on an empty stomach). This pulse doesn't have the high frequency spikes on it and therefore energy losses are reduced. By how much, I don't know, but in theory it sounds like a great idea.

Low Impedance and What it Means

The first energizers were pretty puny when it came to power and the least little bit of grass touching the wire would short them out. To overcome this problem, manufacturers increased the pulse time up to a half a second. A pulse this long had ample opportunity to build up a lot of heat when something shorted them out and as a result, lots of barns and fields burned up. To overcome this problem, resistors were incorporated to limit amperage, the heat-producing part of electricity. This reduced heat buildup and fires but also reduced the shocking power.

A low-impedance energizer has a high-voltage, high-amperage pulse of very short duration. This certainly conveys a convincing message to anyone who touches the wire, but the pulse time is too short to build up heat should a plant or other combustible material touch it.

When it comes to energizers, impedance refers to resistance and not all modern units are of "low-impedance" design. High-power models tend to be low-impedance with a powerful, short interval pulse. Energizers that are not low impedance are often, but not always, less expensive, lower power models and tend to have longer pulse times. They won't burn your barn down but they aren't as tolerant of weeds or grass causing "parasitic" power losses either.

In Summary

Well, I've told you how an energizer works but I still haven't told you how to go shopping for one. A few things to remember are: 1) what kind of livestock you have because some species require more juice to turn them; 2) not how long your fence is, but how much wire are you actually energizing-single-strand or multi-strand, etc; 3) the vegetative conditions your fence will be exposed to. Horses require the least charge to be controlled, followed by cows, goats and finally sheep. A jolt that will have a horse cowering in the barn won't even faze a sheep. I guess my only advice is to determine how large of an energizer you need and then buy one size bigger. A powerful unit can't fix a poorly built fence, but it will overcome a lot of deficiencies.

Things I've Learned

If you're standing in water and plan on picking up the broken electric fence wire, make sure your helper unplugged the energizer and not the radio.

NEVER put a five-year-old kid in charge of operating the fence cut-off switch when you're working on fence, because they can't resist the temptation to make dad yell.

A simple lesson you (I) must continually relearn is that a cut-off switch doesn't always cut off juice to all of the fence.

John Kirchhoff
Kirchhoff Katahdins
schaf@socket.net
573-641-5613

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Premier Employee Spotlight

Lisa Dohlman

Lisa Dohlman

This month's featured employee is Lisa Dohlman, who has been a shipper at Premier for 6 months. "I like that I get to move around and don't have to sit at a desk," she says, and "that Premier uses the products they sell." Also, she likes the people she works with and the commute, which is shorter than to her previous job.

Lisa lives in nearby Brighton. One of her dogs is Froto, a Golden Retriever that she competes with in obedience trials; her other dog is Cora, a mixed breed that competes in agility trials. Lisa says she is looking forward to adding a herding dog to her group. A duck named Wilber and a rooster called Pistol Jr. also reside at her farm.

Lisa's interests are gardening, quilting, training dogs and volunteering at the animal shelter. She enjoys canning her own food, making dog food out of produce and raw meat, raising her own chickens and cattle for eggs and meat, and designing and making quilts, she gives as gifts.

Lisa's favorite statement: "I'd rather see a sermon then hear one any day." Actions speak louder than words.

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Recipe

Bacon & Swiss Quiche

Ingredients:

1 pastry shell
5 large eggs
1 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Swiss grated cheese
4 ounces cooked bacon (diced)

Whisk together all except cheese and bacon.

Place cheese and bacon in pastry shell. Pour egg mixture over top. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

from Premier employee, Jody Seeley

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