|MESSAGE FROM THE OWNER
Why Successful Husbandry and "Control" are Connected
Recall the last time your animals,
for any reason, escaped their pen or pasture and took off onto the public roads, your neighbors garden/crops, your garden, the
feed bin in the barn, etc. Animals, it seems, have an uncanny ability to choose the least useful moment to escape. (You were in
good clothes or just leaving on a trip or night was coming on or it was raining hard—or all of the above). Your feelings at that
moment, if you're like me, was a mixture of frustration and fury at the time wasted and damage being caused.
Weeds and escaped animals share
something. They are both in the wrong place at the wrong time as far as we humans are concerned. In other words the weeds and
escaped animals were "out of control"—from our perspective.
Consider, in turn, examples of
land, crop and animal situations that give most folks a good feeling. Examples –
- Animals lined up at the feed trough consuming feed that you just fed them (and none fighting with one another for a place).
- A crop field (beans, corn, wheat) that's even, uniform and weed-free.
- Entering the winter with more than enough hay or silage in storage.
- Rotational grazing (sometimes called control-grazing) livestock with weeks of good grass available or in the pipeline.
- Tilling a field with an implement that's working well and a tractor that has plenty of power.
- Driving a tractor for hours on a hot, humid day—inside an air-conditioned cab.
- Owning and using high-quality tools—that are capable, ergonomic and not fail-prone.
all of these situations actually examples of a sense of control—over weeds, wind, weather, failure, etc.
Perhaps it because so much of our
world is beyond our control (prices, droughts, blizzards, ice storms, disease, govt. decisions) that we keepers of land and
livestock are so pleased by fleeting moments of control—and conversely, so frustrated by moments when our control, without
warning, ceases to exist.
Perhaps it's innate in us. The
account in Genesis 1 does contain the instruction that man was to "subdue" the earth. Regrettably history records far too many
occasions when this "subdue" could be described as "abuse" but that's another story.
As the years pass in my life I
noticed that my desire to have control and less risk increases. I now want to have more hay in the barns in the autumn, to use
better tools, to have more and better fences, better stock handling systems, more capable tractors and superior tools than I did
when I was 34.
And so, in these waning days before
Christmas and New Year I wish you all well—and that in both little and large ways each of us can savor whatever aspects of our
lives that seem to be "under control."
Stan Potratz, Owner
Photo Contest Winner!
|Photo submitted by Diane, Eagle Bend, MN|
The second winner of Premier's
photo contest is Diane Ayers of Eagle Bend, MN. She will receive a $100 gift certificate from Premier.
Our netting has allowed us the
flexibility of grazing areas that have been overgrown and unfenced for a very long time. We were able to reclaim pasture and set
up temporary lanes to move our animals between our buildings. Most of all, Premier's temporary fencing allowed us the time we
needed to address what our needs were before investing in permanent fencing.
I move my fences often and in
some pretty interesting configurations to make the best use of what I have to work with. Uneven terrain, ponds and barn doors that
lead to previously unfenced areas, I've tackled them all with ease.
And people notice. A
neighboring shepherd stopped in to say: "Premier would be very pleased to see what you are doing with their fencing. Why don't you
send them a picture?"
Diane's photo shows Premier's 164
ft ElectroNet 9/35/12 powered by an IntelliShock 20B energizer.
Wintertime Fence Grounding
As we move into the winter
months, we need to remember that electric fence does not always work as well in dry, frozen ground or with heavy snow cover. In
both cases, the animal sometimes does not make a good enough connection to the ground for the power to flow back to the ground
On some farms where an electric
fence is a main barrier, a positive/negative system may need to be designed to create a negative ground directly on the fence
Do this as follows:
- Disconnect one or more of the energized hot wires from the system.
- Re-hook them to a ground rod.
With a positive/negative system, if
the animal is standing on heavy snow and tries to push through the fence, the animal will touch an energized positive wire and a
grounded negative wire at the same time and receive a shock.
by Premier sales consultant, Gordon Shelangoski
The Shocking Truth about Electric Fences – Part 2
by John Kirchhoff
Energizers – one of the great mysteries of life
Look at an energizer advertisement
and chances are you'll see terms such as "stored joules," "output joules," "volts," "ohms," "solid state," "low impedance," "miles
of fence," "solar," "battery" and on some brands, little silhouettes of cows, buffaloes, horses and other critters.
I've found buying an energizer is a
lot like ordering a meal at a Chinese restaurant. You have no idea what all those funny sounding words mean. And after your order
arrives, you're not really sure of what you just bought but you just hope it's good.
Comparing energizers from different
manufacturers is next to impossible because there is no industry standard to put them on a level playing field.
I'll try to give a succinct
description of what those terms mean and how they influence your purchase. Anyone too curious for their own good and wishing to
delve deeper into those mysteries can e-mail me, and I'll give them the rundown in more boring detail.
How a fence disposes of its hot
Most manufacturers measure the
performance of their energizers with one or sometimes two of three different methods. Manufacturers love to extol the joule output
of their units, but in actuality the joule rating relates very little to the effectiveness of the energizer.
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
- Voltage-the spark or pressure part of electricity.
- Amperage-the heat or work part
Most manufacturers provide a
voltages output of their unit, but I've yet to see anyone provide amperage information.
Still, it's the time factor that
makes it nearly impossible to compare one manufacturer's joule rating to another one.
Just as a gallon of water is a
gallon whether it takes one minute or one week to accumulate, a joule is still a joule regardless of how long it takes to
Most energizers produce an
electrical pulse (spark) that at the most is not more than about three ten-thousandths of a second in duration-for health and
safety reasons (so it doesn't stop your heart!)
That duration varies between
manufacturers and models.
When it comes to energizers and
pulse durations, less is better and some of the most "powerful" or effective units have a pulse duration of less than one
ten-thousandth of a second.
To give you an idea of how
misleading the term "joules" is, an ordinary flashlight is going to produce more joules than many energizers because the time
duration of the flashlight is continuous. To confuse matters even more, some manufacturers advertise stored joules, output joules
Stored joules are deceiving because
they are like a tank of water in the back of a pickup, sitting these doing nothing. An output joule is actually doing something
and is akin to the amount of water that runs out of a hose attached to that tank. This figure is always going to be less than the
Volt for jolts
Published voltage figures can be
compared to other manufacturer's units as long as the load is equal.
Usually it isn't, and most often
the voltage advertised is with no load (no energy being drained out through a fence or other load). That's like determining the
top speed of a car by flooring the engine while it's up on blocks.
Some makers do provide a
performance chart showing a particular unit's voltage output with different loads (light, medium and heavy or in ohms, for
example). This helps you determine whether the unit is "all show and no go" when the going gets tough. Voltage is nothing more
than electrical pressure and pushes the electrical pulse along the wire in the same way pressure pushes water through a garden
The voltage output of an energizer
isn't everything, but it's very important when it comes to energizing long stretches of fence. It takes a certain amount of
voltage to push the electrical current through a wire. And as a wire grows longer, increasingly higher voltages are needed at the
energizer in order to push the pulse to the end of it.
It's just like screwing one garden
hose to another. With each additional hose, there's less water 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. The little energizer produced insufficient voltage to push the electrical energy to the end
of the wire.
Even so, high voltage without
amperage (the heat or work part) 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
there is so little amperage that the total amount of energy contained in that arc is harmless and does little more than
Miles or acres?
Some sellers advertise energizers
in more quantifiable terms such as "powerful enough for "30 acres (or 5 miles) of fence"-or both.
To me, the acre rating is
absolutely useless. For example, a single-wire horse fence around a square 30 acres uses the same amount of wire needed to build a
four-wire sheep fence around two acres.
There's also considerably less
power required to energize five miles (26,400 feet) of weed-free, single-wire fence than the five miles of wire needed to build a
1-1/4 mile four wire sheep fence (26,400/4) with the bottom wire buried in wet grass.
I've found only two manufacturers
that use my favorite method of judging the effectiveness of an energizer. They compare their own units against each other using
open circuit (no load), 500-ohm load (lightly weeded) and 100-ohm load (heavily weeded) with a voltage and joule rating at that
When using the performance charts
as comparison, it's easy to see that in short, weed-free, light-load fences, a small energizer can perform equally with a big one.
It's the heavy loads that separate the men from the boys and the lambs from the rams.
To further the comparison between
energizers and cars, a Korean econo-box and a Lamborghini can both easily run 20 mph (light load). At 80 mph (medium load), and
econo-box is tapped out and the Italian stallion is still loafing. At 150 mph (heavy load), the Italian is still snorting fire
while the econo-box is nothing more than a bad memory.
Dennis Philips is this month's
featured employee. He has been at Premier for 10 months. Although Dennis was hired as a repair tech for our energizers and
clippers/shearers, it's not uncommon to see him helping on the farm, in shipping or doing various electrical projects. "Everybody
smiles and it's never the same day to day," he says, and he likes it that Premier is a "big, happy family."
Dennis and his wife,
Sandra, live in Ollie, Iowa. She is the RN BSN nurse manager for the Monroe County Hospital in Albia. Cohen is his oldest child and a senior in
high school, Keaton is a junior and Allie is in 8th grade. Other residents in their household are the cat, Tinkerbelle, and four dogs: JD, Bailey,
Chloe and Maggie.
When Dennis isn't busy with the
kids' sports or riding ATVs with them, he enjoys refinishing antiques, working on construction projects, cooking and working with
His favorite statement is "Life is
what you make of it - live it to its fullest," because time goes by so quickly.
Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
15-oz box Club crackers
1 c graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/3 c milk
1/2 c margarine
2/3 c peanut butter
1 c chocolate chips
1. Generously grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
2. Place a layer of Club crackers in the bottom of pan.
3. In a sauce pan, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, white sugar, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour hot mixture over Club crackers.
4. Place on top another layer of Club crackers.
5. Melt together peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Spread over crackers in baking pan.
6. Refrigerate. Cut into bars when cool.
from Premier sales consultant, Brenda McArtor