A Few Fall Reminders for Hay Tarps

It is that time of year again when growers are starting to think about winter hay storage. Every year, there is that nagging question of whether to go with tarps or store excess hay in the barn. That is considering a grower even has a barn to work with. Those who do not are forced to rely on hay tarps or temporary storage structures.

The debate over whether to use tarps or not comes largely from the less gleeful stories we hear every spring about crop loss resulting from tarp failure. The first thing to understand is that no storage solution is perfect. The second thing to note is that much of the effectiveness of hay tarps lies in how they are deployed. With that in mind, below are a few fall reminders for those growers intending to tarp their hay this winter.

1. Pay Attention to How You Stack

One of the biggest problems growers face is snow and ice. When a stack is not constructed properly, it allows certain portions of the hay tarp to lay flat and, as a result, collect precipitation. Get enough snow and ice built up and it could be nearly impossible to remove a tarp when hay is needed in early spring. The best way to avoid this problem is to pay attention to how you stack.

Hay stacking should really be done in a-frame or pyramid shape if you are planning to use tarps. Giving the stack a sharp enough incline will make it easier for precipitation to roll off. You still may have to go out to sweep your stacks after an especially persistent snowfall, but clearing an inclined stack is a lot easier than clearing a flat stack. It is a lot safer too.

2. Check Your Tie Downs

Any experienced tarp user will tell you that the key to avoiding most problems is keeping hay tarps tight and secure. Doing so requires that tie downs be checked on a regular basis. Remember that even the slightest bit of wind underneath a tarp can cause big problems in both the short and long terms. Checking once a week should be sufficient. Tie downs should definitely be checked immediately after storms to assess the extent of wind damage.

3. Utilize PVC Pipe

Another common complaint among hay growers is that the grommets built into their tarps fail in severe weather. We suggest a tarp with webbing loops or a built-in sleeve capable of accommodating PVC pipe. Securing tie-downs with PVC pipe results in a much stronger system than tying down with grommets alone. You can still use the grommets along with bungee straps for a little extra strength.

4. Inspect Tarps during the Fall

Last but not least is the reminder to check all your hay tarps in the fall. Do not wait until you start stacking hay to find out that one or more of your tarps is ripped or torn. Now is the time to address any damage while you’re not under pressure to get that hay cut and stacked.

Minor damage can be repaired with one of our tarp repair kits. Major damage, like torn seams for example, may require a more heavy-duty solution. You can obviously browse our selection of farming supplies should any of your tarps need complete replacement.

Fall is harvest time in North America. In just a few months, the snow will be flying and the temperatures falling. If you plan to store hay this winter, make sure you are fully prepared with everything you need. Mytee Products carries high-quality hay tarps, spiral anchor pins, and temporary storage structures.


3 Reasons Tool Boxes Are Diamond Plated

You have probably noticed that most tool boxes manufactured for flatbed trucks are diamond plated in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes just the top is plated while other times doors and sides are plated too. Have you ever wondered why? There are three very good reasons for diamond plating.

For the record, diamond plating is not exclusive to truck trailer tool boxes or aluminum panels. Diamond plating’s raised lines pattern can be applied to aluminum, steel, or stainless steel using a hot rolling procedure. You can build anything with plated panels that you might otherwise build with non-plated panels.

Non-Slip, Non-Skid Surface

Diamond plated metals were originally developed to provide a non-slip, non-skid surface for industrial uses. The most common applications for the metal plates were walkways, cat walks, ramps, and staircases. Diamond plating worked so well that manufacturers started applying it to fire trucks, ambulances, and cargo trailers.

Today it is normal to see diamond plated surfaces on emergency vehicles. It is used in the construction of truck tool boxes with the understanding that truck drivers often have to stand on their boxes when securing cargo, storing straps and tarps, and washing the cab. It is nice to have that non-slip, non-skid surface under your feet.

Extra Grip in Weather

There are times when metal surfaces have to be handled in inclement weather. For a truck driver, that might mean moving a tool box from one location to another. It could mean the simple act of opening or closing a tool box door in a driving rain or while wearing gloves. That extra bit of grip helps either way.

A diamond plated surface can make it easier to install tool boxes as well. The extra grip makes it easier to hold a box in place while it is being secured to mounting brackets.

It Just Looks Good

We have to be honest and say that diamond plated aluminum is not just a utilitarian product. There are manufacturers who use it on truck tool boxes and running boards simply because it looks good. The raised texture adds a bit of style and character whereas smooth surface metals tend to fade away without being noticed.

Truck drivers who compete with show vehicles put a lot of effort into metal surfaces. As you may have noticed, they are not shy about using diamond plated chrome and aluminum either. Of course, making diamond plated metal truly eye-catching requires keeping it clean and polished. Fortunately, doing so isn’t that hard.

A truck driver only needs a quality cleaning solution, a piece of scrap carpet, and a little elbow grease to keep diamond plated metal looking its best. Cleaning only takes a few minutes if it is done regularly. Clean aluminum also protects itself through oxidation, by the way, so keeping aluminum tool boxes cleaned and polished adds to longer life.

We Have Your Aluminum Tool Boxes

As a flatbed truck driver, you know how important aluminum tool boxes are to your daily routine. You would be lost without them. You use your boxes for everything from tarp storage to carrying the hand tools you need to keep your truck on the road. Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to carry a selection of tool boxes suitable for most rig set-ups.

Our inventory currently includes six different tool boxes for both tractors and trailers. Each box is made with heavy-duty aluminum and solid welded seams to keep cargo clean and dry year after year. We also carry the mounting brackets you’ll need to affix your boxes to your rig.


Privacy Screens and Snow – Is It a Good Idea?

With fall a few weeks away, temperatures will begin to drop sooner than we realize. The end of summer is a good time to revisit & assess methods to safeguard property during the colder months of the year. Blowing and drifting snow can be a real problem during the winter months. Snowdrifts block driveways, hamper work on construction sites, make driving unsafe, and create many problems in parking lots. Preventing drifts and other accumulations of snow is, therefore, a high priority in many parts of the country. We have been asked whether our privacy screen mesh will work as a snow barrier. The answer depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

A privacy screen mesh is primarily intended to be a visual obstruction. For example, a construction company may not want the general public to see what is being built until the final stages of the project. A homeowner may want a certain amount of privacy around his/her property until such time as trees and shrubbery can be planted.

As a snow barrier, a privacy screen mesh would work to some degree. However, it might not be ideal when there is heavy snowfall. Allow us to explain the rationale behind it.

Blowing and Drifting Snow

The biggest problem with snow is the blowing and drifting. Wind picks up snow and carries it great distances, dropping it seemingly indiscriminately in locations where it is most inconvenient. Nevertheless, how, and why, does this happen?

Winds high enough to blow snow must also be relatively close to the ground in order to be problematic. The blowing snow remains airborne only as long as wind speed remains consistent. If wind speeds slow down, even momentarily, the snow loses its momentum and falls to the ground. This is what creates snowdrifts. This natural law of physics is behind the design of the orange and yellow snow fences you can buy at the DIY store.

If you have seen one of these snow fences, you know that they do not look as if they would be very effective because the gaps between individual ‘links’ are so great. Nonetheless, those gaps are the secret to the success of the snow fence. They allow the wind to keep blowing through, yet they slow it down just enough to cause the snow to lose its momentum and fall to the ground. Anyone who has used a snow fence knows that a drift will form a few feet in front of the fence while the area on the other side remains clear of snow.

Privacy Screen Vs a Snow Fence

Privacy screen mesh is obviously a much denser product. It will not slow down the wind as much as stop it in its tracks. Therefore, as a snow barrier, there are a couple of things to consider. First is the wind speed. If the wind is strong enough to cause blowing and drifting snow, will it be strong enough to damage privacy screen mesh? Perhaps. That is why a privacy screen product is installed using heavy-duty metal posts spaced appropriately. A snow fence, on the other hand, can be supported by just a few wooden strips placed every 8 to 10 feet.

The other thing to consider is where the wind will go once it hits the privacy screen. Some of it will go through, or up and over the screen, while the rest will travel down the fence line until it finds an escape route. This will likely result in the majority of the snow piling up in a single location. Interestingly enough, you will see the snow pile up on both sides of the fence line as well.

It should be clear by now as to which situations are better to utilize a privacy screen mesh when it’s snowing. In a pinch however, it can be useful to some degree.


3 Things You Should Never Do with Bungee Straps

Bungee straps have been compared to duct tape in terms of their versatility. Truck drivers use them for everything from securing tarps to replacing a broken curtain rod in the sleeper cab. Their extreme flexibility, resistance to weather, and ease of use, make bungee straps one of the most important tools in the flatbed trucking industry.

Here at Mytee Products, we are thrilled to be able to offer bungee straps in various lengths along with solid core rubber bungee rope. You can purchase straps or rope in bulk to save on our already reasonable prices. And don’t forget replacement hooks; we carry those as well.

Given the popularity and necessity of bungee straps in flatbed trucking, we thought it might be helpful to address some key aspects of using these versatile tools. Below are three things you should never do with bungee straps. Avoiding them will minimize the risks associated with bungee strap use.

1. Shortening Strap by Tying Knots

There are times when the amount of distance between hook points is so short that the average bungee strap is too long. You might think about getting around this by tying a knot or two before deploying a strap. Don’t do it. Tying knots in bungee straps increases the stress on them while at the same time decreasing usable life. It is better to stretch the cord to a different anchor point on the trailer or load.

Bungee straps are designed to evenly distribute tension from end-to-end. When you tie a knot in the middle, that portion involved in the knot is only subject to minimum tension. You can tell just by observing how the strap stretches. The part tied up in the knot barely stretches at all, signifying there is very little energy or tension in the material. The free material on either end stretches more as it absorbs more of the tension and energy.

2. Hooking More Than Two Straps Together

The other side of the knot-tying coin is hooking multiple bungee straps together to create a single chain long enough to span the gap between hook points. We recommend never hooking more than two straps together. Even under tension, the hooks on the ends of bungee straps constitute their weakest link.

Remember that metal ‘S’ hooks do not stretch. To make up for this, bungee straps usually have to be stretched a little further to prevent the sag that results from hooking too many together in a single chain. This creates a safety concern as well as reducing the usable life of all the straps in the chain. If you need length, use bungee rope.

3. Cutting an End and Making a New Hole

Bungee straps wear out and break over time. Sometimes, the hole into which the metal hook is inserted breaks clear through. Do not be tempted by the idea of cutting off the end and making a new hole. Doing so compromises the strength of the strap.

If you look at the average bungee strap, you will notice that the two ends are thicker. They are reinforced with extra rubber material to absorb the additional tension placed on the material by the hook. Cutting off a broken end and making a new hole for the hook results in too much tension on the rubber at the point where the hook is inserted. This is just asking for trouble. Bungee strap altered in this way can easily break without warning.

Bungee straps are an invaluable tool for the flatbed trucker. Used correctly, they offer a tremendous amount of functionality and flexibility.


Save Money on Bulk Purchase of Corner/Edge Protectors

We know that flatbed truckers have many different choices when looking for a supplier for their cargo control supplies. It is our job to give them a reason to shop with us. We work hard to do just that. One of the things we do for our customers is to strive to always offer the best possible price. Our corner and edge protectors are but one example.When you buy them in bulk from Mytee, you can save quite a bit of money.

Our 4-inch red and blue corner protectors designed for webbing between 2 and 4 inches normally sell for $1.49 per piece. If you buy at least 10, the price falls to $1.19 per piece. That works out to $11.90 for 10 or $23.80 for 20. One of the largest online retailers (whose name you are very familiar with) sells the exact same corner protector in a pack of 20 for $41.90. Their price is almost twice our price.

Both products are the same except for the color of the plastic. Both are designed to protect ratchet straps and cargo from friction damage, and both are suitable for webbing up to 4 inches wide. They have the exact same shape – down to how the outside corners are molded.

Stock Up on Them

As a flatbed truck driver, keeping an ample supply of cargo control products on your truck is all in a day’s work. You buy straps and bungees because you need them to secure cargo to the bed of your trailer. You buy corner and edge protectors to protect both straps and cargo. More importantly, you buy them because they are required by law whenever load conditions could potentially harm your straps. Since you are buying them anyway, it makes sense to purchase in bulk and save money at the same time.

Why purchase in bulk? Because things happen. The flatbed trucker will go through hundreds of corner and edge protectors during the course of a 40-year career. It’s not like you are going to buy half a dozen and expect them to last for decades. As long as you are going to need hundreds, you might just as well buy in bulk and pay less for each piece.

For the record, Mytee does not sell just one kind of edge protector. Our inventory includes more than a dozen different products ranging from the 4-inch plastic corner protector to the 4-inch rubber protector to the steel corner protector with a built-in chain slot. We even carry oil edge protectors appropriate for coil loads of up to 26 inches in diameter.

The Right Protector for the Job
Corner and edge protectors are extremely simple to use. The real trick is choosing the right protector for the job at hand. Some of the smaller models are ideal for things like brick and crated building materials while a larger v-board corner protector would be more appropriate for a piece of industrial machinery.

In closing, we want to offer couple of reminders, including the importance of using corner and edge protectors to prevent your straps from tearing or fraying. The last thing you want is to have to invest extra money in new straps because a lack of corner protectors is reducing strap life. Purchasing corner and edge protectors costs a lot less than constantly replacing your straps.

Also remember your legal responsibility to properly secure cargo. You could be found in violation if you’re not using corner protectors on a load for which an inspector deems them necessary. It is better to just not take any chances.