Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels.
From all the folks at Premier.

East Farm Handling System/Fencing

Yesterday, before it rained, the crew started to redesign our handling and feeding area at the East Farm. The existing handling system was temporarily put in place last year and now the more permanent system will be installed.

We plan to use part of the holding pens that are on concrete as a space to feed supplemental grain this winter. We will feed hay to the ewes in the compound east of the existing barn. It is protected on the north and east by the native grass round bales. (We have 50 bales and the sheep will not eat them.) We will also be installing another automatic waterer.

Today we will be hauling ammoniated straw bales from the North Farm to the East Farm for winter feeding. Also we are planning to install multiple rolls of PermaNet 10/48/6 so that pastures can be cross fenced for the winter.

All of this is part of long range plans to pasture and water 400 ewes on that farm (200 this year, 300 the next year and 400 by 2012).

Also this morning we sorted 30 lambs to haul to the Kalona Sale Barn where there is a sheep sale every Wednesday.

The temporary handling system that is being replaced.

Early Morning on the Home Farm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Extreme Chicken Coop Make Over

Over the past couple of days the crew at Premier has done a Hen House Extreme Make-Over on our East Farm. We decided that the coop that we have been using for the last few years needed to be renovated so we power-washed, painted and added a south facing window.

We relocated the roost and nest boxes as well as added a new sloping roof to the boxes. We updated the electrical system and revamped the feeder hanging system to allow us to test and evaluate new feeders easier.

Our hens enjoying a sunny late fall day!

Also on the East Farm the outside crew has installed 26 new tile risers and modified or fixed 14 others. This was really time consuming but a task that needed to be done since we purchased this piece of property.

Monday, November 23, 2009

150 Head of Ewes Turned into Bean Aftermath

Over the weekend a neighbor combined 20 acres of soybeans for us. Today we turned 150 head of ewes into the bean aftermath. They will eat left-over beans for some time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Upgrading Existing Fences

This week a crew of Premier folks are renovating an old woven wire fence on the east farm (straightening it, stretching it, replacing rotten posts) and adding energized wires to it. They also added an energized wire to an experimental hybrid new fence (half barbed, half smooth high tensile wire).

See photos below.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome to our Farm Diary

This will be a regularly updated place to read about the day to day happenings on Premier's farms.

For background, there are three farms—the home farm, north farm and east farm—on which a total of 300 acres are tillable or grazeable.

Premier (the business) is located on the home farm. The north farm is just up the road and the east farm is 6 miles to the...east.

There are 400 commercial ewes. 120 wool ewes are lambed indoors in March/April and the others (mostly hair sheep) lamb on pasture in May.

We also have a small herd of meat goats, pastured poultry, 2 horses, 2 guard llamas and 7 livestock guardian dogs.

A number of different folks will be writing this diary—including Stan (the founder of Premier), Stephanie Sexton (the marketing manager) and perhaps others along the way.

(below in order) Home farm, north farm and east farm.