Friday, June 27, 2014

Premier1 fencing is key to rotational grazing

by Deborah Niemann

We are excited to announce that our first sponsor for the Mid-America Homesteading Conference is Premier1 Supplies, a company made famous for its innovative livestock fencing. You may have noticed that the conference had no corporate sponsors the first two years. That meant that all costs had to be covered by registration fees. It worked, and we put on some nice events, but in order to grow a little without increasing costs to participants, we knew we had to reach out and get corporate sponsors. But we wanted to get sponsors that made high quality products that were truly of interest to our attendees -- and that's why Premier1 was the first company that I asked to become a sponsor.

I've been using Premier's fencing for years. We originally bought three rolls of their ElectroNet to use for rotational grazing of our sheep and goats, and within no time we realized we needed more. Today we have ten full rolls of the ElectroNet and one half roll, and sometimes we find ourselves wishing we had a couple more rolls. I am also happy to say that those rolls that we bought seven or eight years ago are still working great. In fact, we can't tell which rolls of fencing are the oldest.

Pasture rotation is a very important key in keeping internal parasite from becoming a problem for our sheep and goats, and the portable electric fencing is the key to rotational grazing without the need to put up permanent fencing everywhere. It also allows us to use our hayfield for rotational grazing. Obviously if we put up permanent fences across the hayfield we would never be able to easily harvest hay again.

We also use the ElectroNet to move sheep from their remote pastures to the barn every year for shearing. Because we don't have a trained herding dog, we use the temporary fencing to create lanes across our yard or through the pastures to drive them wherever they need to go.

We also have two fence chargers from Premier -- one that is plugged into the wall in our barn and another charger that is solar powered that can be used for electrifying fences in remote areas of our farm that are not accessible by electricity. One of my best experiences with Premier happened when I called to order my first fence charger from them. After reading the catalog thoroughly -- and they have a LOT of different chargers to meet the needs of farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders in diverse situations -- I thought I knew which charger I needed. However, the salesperson at Premier asked me a few questions about what type of livestock we owned and where we lived, and he recommended a charger that cost $100 less than the one I thought we needed! That experience gave me the confidence to recommend them to everyone I talk to about fencing for sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, and cattle, whether I am talking to someone who is buying one of my goats or whether I am speaking at a conference.

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