Message from the Owner

2006 for Livestock Producers?

Here's what I expect and my reasons...

Lamb and chevon (goat) prices will remain high.
Why? Because most factors supporting the record prices of the last 3 years remain in place. They are:

  1. Lamb (and chevon if you can find it) at restaurants and stores is expensive- compared to chicken, turkey, pork, beef and fish. This fact reduced demand for lamb from 1950 - 1995. However the % of wealthy people in the USA is the highest in our nation's history. So more people feel that they can afford to eat lamb.
  2. Baby boomers are now all over 50. A useful number of these people have "been there, done that" with chicken, pork, fish and less expensive cuts of beef. They're keen to experiment with new tastes. So they are trying lamb and chevon.
  3. Lamb and chevon are "small portion" meats compared to poultry, fish, pork and beef. The drumbeat of news (both public and private) about obesity, cholesterol and ill-health forces people away from large meat portions. And what group is leading the "wave"? The educated, wealthy and healthy consumers over 40 years of age (often the same people)-who can afford lamb and chevon.
  4. Due to the weaker US $$, the price of imported lamb from Australia and New Zealand isn't the unbeatable bargain that it was during the last decade. So the demand and price for US lamb remains high.
    (I'm aware that the US $$ increased in value by 10% vs. the euro in 2005. This was, in my view, a temporary change driven largely by a tax incentive that ends this month. The fundamentals suggest that the value of the US $$ is more likely to weaken than strengthen.) A weaker US $$ will be good for the US and producers of US agricultural products.
  5. Even though the nation's breeding sheep numbers increased slightly last year US lamb production as % of the US population remains at record low levels.
  6. The demand for breeding sheep and goats means fewer females are being killed-further reducing supply in the short term.
  7. Chevon and lamb are popular with the ethnic minorities in the USA. This population segment is growing in economic prosperity and % of total US population. Yet one more reason to expect these meat prices to remain high.
  8. A factor that will slightly reduce lamb prices is Canadian lamb-which can again enter the USA. But the effect will be minimal.

Conclusion: The best way for an individual to make more money in the sheep and goat business is to raise and sell more animals (particularly breeding stock).

Feed grain supplies will remain high. So prices will be low.
The US grain subsidies will continue to combine with the amazing abilities of the US farmer and their supporting agri-businesses (seed, machinery, chemicals) to produce record crops despite weather adversities. This is good for those who feed grain to chickens, turkeys, pigs, cattle and sheep.

In the long term (2009 and beyond) US grain subsidies will begin to disappear.

Conclusion: Poultry and pork production costs will remain low-and therefore pork and poultry meat prices will remain low to consumers. To compete lamb, beef and goat producers must focus on providing "eating experiences" instead of calories.

Ten years from now the "cheap grain" advantages experienced by poultry and pork producers will be gone.

Best wishes to all,
Stan Potratz

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From Premier

$28 Premier Blade
Exchange Program!

To exchange your blades on our website enter WE in the Catalog Source Code and also indicate what kind of blade set you are wanting to exchange in the Comments/Special Instructions box on the Checkout Confirm & Submit page. We will adjust the price of the blade set when we receive your order.

Also, we will not ship your new set until we receive your old Wahl/Lister set(s). You can mail your old blades to: Premier, 2031 300th St., Washington, IA 52353.

What is it?
Next time you need your Wahl/Lister® blades resharpened think about upgrading them for a new Premier blade set for only $28 (reg. $38). Premier will send you a new set and keep your Wahl/Lister set.

What does this save you? $16.00.
You save $10.00 off a new blade set from Premier plus the $6.00 resharpening fee.

Why only Wahl/Lister blades?
Wahl/Lister blades are the only blades compatible with Premier clipping machines.

Can I exchange for another type of blade set? Yes!
Wahl/Lister Surgicals, Fines, Mediums and Coarses may be exchanged for Premier Surgicals, Fines, Mediums and Coarses in any combination. (i.e. Premier Fine for a Wahl Medium). Note: Super Surgicals are not included in this offer.

Rumor re. Premier and Wahl is false...
We recently heard that Wahl is suing Premier over patents. Not so. They tried a few years ago and failed. Premier expects to supply blades for many years.

Premier motors more reliable than ever...
For new motors supplied since July 2004, our "problem rate" is less than 3%. That's lower than Stablemates during their "best years." We're progressively upgrading older units as they come in for service and repair.

See more Premier Blade Sets
See Premier's Clippers and Shearers

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VIP Article

Alternative Feeds for Sheep
by Dan Morrical, Iowa State University

In many parts of the country this year hay supplies are pretty tight. Hay is not and should not be considered the only roughage source for sheep. Fall is the nicest weather that we have in midwest. I get very frustrated watching all the feed being chopped, disked or chiseled into the ground. Harvested cornstalks are probably the cheapest forage resource that we have in the state of Iowa. In areas with drought, nitrate levels may be high in cornstalks & they should be tested before feeding. The only cheaper way to feed ewes in the early winter is by grazing cornstalks.

Cornstalks are a very good energy source but somewhat low in protein content. If one compares laboratory tests for energy, cornstalks can rival alfalfa hay. The good news for sheep producers is that multiple sources of cheap protein are available that one can combine with cornstalks to make a balanced ration. Traditional protein sources would be either alfalfa hay or soybean meal. Raw soybeans are an even cheaper source of protein. They do not need to be roasted for sheep since the tripsin inhibitor is of no consequence to ruminants. A newer source of protein is corn gluten feed from (CGF) the corn sweetner industry. Corn gluten feed is 18-21 percent crude protein which is very similar to alfalfa hay and contains energy levels similar to oats. Using corn gluten feed has only one precaution in that the calcium to phosphorous ratio is really screwed up. This means that feedlot lambs & stud rams fed high corn gluten diets are at risk to urinary calculi.

The newest alternative protein source is dried distillers grains (DDGS) which are a byproduct of the ethanol industry. Dry distillers grains are more protein dense than gluten feed containing roughly 30% crude protein. On an energy basis DDGS is equal to or up to 30% more energy dense than corn. One other difference with DDGS is that they contain 10% fat which is one reason for their high energy density. Currently DDGS can be purchased at prices equal to or lower than corn. Corn processing byproducts work best when the roughage portion of the ration is low protein and low energy. Mature hays are an example of low quality feed that when fed with CGF or DDGS can be a very low cost ration that allows ewes to perform up to their potential. One of our biggest challenges as sheep producers is being able to buy in large enough volume to get a good price break on DDGS. There is no doubt in my mind with the midwest's ever increasing ethanol industry that DDGS will become easier to get and more readily available to all livestock operations no matter where we are located and how much we are buying.

For additional reading on DDGS one should pull up and read the following fact sheets:

The last new byproduct that we should consider as an alternative feed source for our flocks is soybean hulls. Again this is a byproduct from the soybean processing industry. They are a highly digestible fiber source containing 9% crude protein and 70% total digestible nutrients, which is similar to oats. The following web page http://'soybean%20hulls' at Kansas State University is an excellent reference piece on soybean hull information. Unfortunately on a cost basis, soyhulls are listed as $70 per ton and are higher than either DDGS at $65 per ton or CGF at $58.00 per ton on the University of Missouri byproducts webpage. byprod/bplist.asp.

One should not give up on soybean hulls or any of the corn byproducts. Their energy is not as rapidly fermentable as corn so risk of acidosis is lower. At the recent IVMA meetings, one Veterinarian was using a mixture of pelleted soybean hull and DDGS as his self-fed concentrate source for ewes during lactation. Depending on how much protein one needs, the ratio of soybean hulls and DDGS can be shifted to meet the ewe's protein needs. Producers who need assistance with incorporating alternative feeds into their ewe flock rations should contact their sheep extension specialist

Article provide by:
Dan Morrical, PhD
Sheep Extension Specialist
Animal Science Dept. Farm Coordinator
337 Kildee Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-3150
ph 515-294-0847
fax 515-294-3795

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Premier Special


Designed specifically to fit inside sorting chutes and raceways but must be used in conjunction with an items that will actually hold fluid. Mat does not have a solid bottom.

Shepherds in the UK rely on this technique to prevent the arrival of foot problems from other properties or auction barns, as well as to prevent the spread of existing foot problems within their flocks or herds. Many place a mat at the exit end of their sorting chute.

When a sheep steps onto the mat, the hoof depresses the soft, absorbent mat, thus forcing liquid zinc sulphate held within the mat out, up, around and between the two halves of each hoof.

Obviously, animals will step onto a mat (because it doesn't look like water) much more readily than they will step into a bare footbath.

Because they weigh so little (under 4 lbs.), they're not very expensive to ship by UPS. Dimensions are 18" x 60" x 1.5".

Order our SheepMats

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Premier Tip

Premier's Wire Panels -
Prices cut up to 40%!

Users love Premier's welded wire panels. They're used for lambing jugs; as portable gates to separate pens; as mesh in the wooden feeders.

But the cost to us from our supplier was high and therefore so was our prices. So we are pleased to have located a new source providing equal quality, allowing us to pass on the savings to you.

In our Fall 2005 catalog or website you will find these price reductions: Feeder Panels - $12 (from $14.50), Lambing jugs - $23 (from $29.00), 6 ft. x 40 in. panels - $30 (from $42.00) and 8 ft. x 40 in. panels - $41 (from $56.00).

See more Sheep & Goat Equipment needs from Premier

Be Prepared for Lambing & Kidding Season!

This is the time of year that a few minutes of preparation can make you real profits when lambing or kidding starts. Take the time now to do an inventory of all the lambing or kidding supplies you have on hand. Being without one item when it's needed will usually cost more than having extra on hand.

Stomach tubes are a great example. Going out on a cold morning finding chilled lambs at today's prices could cost you several hundred dollars. With the tube costing just a few dollars it's a good investment.

The list of what you need can become a large one. It's important to keep a mental note of what has saved lambs and kids each year in your flock under your conditions. These are the items you want at least one of before you start lambing or kidding.

See Premier's Lambing & Kidding Products
See Premier's Ear Tags & Tattoo Supplies

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Employee Spotlight

Gordon Shelangoski, Sales

This month's featured employee is Gordon Shelangoski of Brighton, Iowa. For 16 years he has been a product consultant, assisting customers with whatever questions they might have regarding Premier's products. He is also a primary member of our research and development team, helping to bring to the marketplace products that will make raising livestock more profitable, efficient and enjoyable.

Gordon says that talking to and helping other producers is one of the best things he likes about his position. "Each day is a new set of challenges to work through. This makes the day go fast and gives me a feeling that I am accomplishing something each day."

Gordon and his wife, Mary have been married for 24 years. (They were high school sweethearts.) They have two daughters, Alyssa who is 18, and Kylie who is 15, and one son Wyatt who is 11. Alyssa graduated with honors from high school and is in her first semester of nursing school. Kylie and Wyatt both do very well in school, are active in 4-H and are quite competitive in sports.

Gordon, Mary & the kids pasture lamb 400 Ile De France x Dorset ewes in May. Gordon was one of the first in Iowa to utilize this breed and has been very pleased with the results. The Ile De France crosses convert well on grass, are hardy and are very easy to handle. They sell a few rams and ewe lambs and also raise Great Pyrenees guard dogs. Gordon's other interest lies in local history, his grandmother's great uncle homesteaded part of the farm where Gordon and his family now reside.

Gordon's favorite statement comes from his grandfather who is 91 and still helps on the farm when he can. "If I want to buy something, my grandfather always says, the things you need will never hurt you; the things you want will always drag you down. Buy things that make money and will last a long time."

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Premier Recipe

Salted Nut Roll Bars


1 box yellow cake mix
2/3 cup margarine
1 egg
1 bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup margarine
12 oz. pkg. peanut butter chips
2/3 cup white syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can salted peanuts

Mix together cake mix, 2/3 cup margarine and egg. Pat into 11 x 14 greased pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 - 15 min. Remove from oven, cover top with miniature marshmallows. Put back into oven for 5 - 9 min. Let cool. Melt 1/4 cup margarine, peanut butter chips, syrup and vanilla over low heat and pour over marshmallows. Sprinkle with salted peanuts.

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