Tractor Tires Are Tough, But Stalks Are Tougher

As suppliers of  agricultural experts here at Mytee Products. So imagine our surprise to learn that while tractor tires are fairly tough, grain stalks are even tougher. Some of the toughest stalks can ruin a brand-new set of tires in 100 hours or less if a grower isn’t careful. Of course, there are things tractor owners can do to mitigate the damage.

According to Ag Web, some of the worst stalks for tractor tires include soybean, wheat, corn, canola, and even cotton. The problem is that running a combine through a field often leaves behind cut stalks with razor-sharp edges that can easily penetrate rubber. If a combine leaves the stalks standing straight up as it passes through, you are looking at a field of spikes sticking up, just waiting to puncture tractor tires.

Ag Web stated back in 2009 that tire manufacturers were working on harder rubber compounds that could better withstand the punishment of the field. We know that to be true as a tractor tire dealer. Today’s tires are better than anything the industry has seen in the past. Nonetheless, there is no such thing as a perfect tractor tire impervious to sharp grain stalks.

Tips for Preserving Your Truck Tires

Every purchase of tractor tires is a cost that goes against the grower’s bottom line. It doesn’t make sense to have to buy new tires every season just for lack of taking care of the tires you purchased the season before. Just a few simple tips can help extend the life of your tractor tires considerably.

1. Modify Your Combine

One of the easiest thing growers can do is modify their combines so that sharp stalks are not left sticking up. Stubble shoes mounted on the combine accomplish this by pushing stalks forward slightly. Rather than being left sticking straight up, the combine leaves them pointed forward at about 45 degrees. They will do little damage to tractor tires as long as the grower doesn’t come back later and drive against the grain.

A stalk stomper is another option. This is a homemade implement consisting of a heavy pipe mounted in front of the rear tires to knock down stocks before the tires pass over.

2. Install New Tires Early

Tractor tires are similar to other tires in that they need time to season. That is to say they need time to ‘toughen up’. If you are buying new tires, install them as early as possible. Give them all spring and summer to toughen up before harvest arrives. They will do much better in the field after a few months on the tractor.

3. Run Between Rows

Growers can also increase tire life by running the tires between rows. This would seem to be common sense. Running between rows minimizes tire exposure and reduces the risk of puncture. If you do have to run across a row, go either perpendicular to it or in the same direction the stalks are leaning. The idea is to minimize contact between tires and razor-sharp edges.

No tractor tire will last forever. But if you make the effort to be careful with the tires you have, they will last longer. So respect the fact that some of the stalks you leave in your field can be pretty brutal on your tires.

If you are in the market for new tractor tires, we hope you’ll check out our inventory. And don’t hesitate to contact us even if you do not see what you need. We still might have a way to get it for you.

 


Hay Storage Options for the New Season

We are now well into the start of the summer season. That means hay growers around the country are already looking at the first harvest. Now is the time to start thinking about storage options for the 2018 season. How growers store their hay partly determines what kinds of losses they will experience as a result of the forces of nature. As always, moisture is a crucial factor.

We sell a variety of moisture testers that make it easier for growers to achieve that perfect balance that minimizes hay losses. But a moisture tester alone will not do the trick. Growers also need to use a bit of common sense when it comes to storage. Whether hay is stored in the field or brought into a covered area, it has to be protected against both drying out and excessive moisture.

Storing Hay in the Field

The least expensive and labor-intense way to store hay is to leave it in the field as rolled bales. This method is actually pretty common for the first crop of the year. In climates where three crops are grown, the second crop may also be left in the field. Field storage is fast and easy, too.

One of the big dangers of storing in the field is losing too much of the crop to dry matter loss. However, dry matter loss is easily controlled by getting hay up off the ground. Allowing hay to remain in contact with the ground can lead to losses of up to 30% or more under normal circumstances. Fortunately, breaking contact between hay bale and the ground is not difficult. Growers can roll finished bales onto pallets, blocks, or even tarps. Another option is to store hay on a layer of gravel.

Storing hay in the field also exposes it to precipitation, and that is where a good moisture tester becomes important. Hay allowed to get too wet is subject to both spoilage and spontaneous combustion. Throwing a temporary hay tarp over exposed bales might be necessary if the weather turns especially ugly and stays that way for a while.

Storing Hay Under Cover

Bringing hay out of the field to store it under cover is generally considered the best way to protect a crop and minimize losses. But it is also expensive if you don’t already have a structure in place. Building a barn is not an option for a lot of growers, many of whom turn to temporary storage buildings like the ones we sell.

Another option for bringing hay out of the field is to stack it in large quantities and then cover the entire stack with tarps. This is a strategy mainly used for the last crop of the year; it’s impractical for the first crop of spring. That hay needs to be easily accessible for both sale and use by the grower.

Even hay stored indoors is subject to volatile moisture levels. So again, keeping the crop off the ground is a wise idea. Pallets, blocks, and even used tractor tires are excellent storage options for getting hay elevated. The goal is to allow circulation under the hay so as not to allow mold to grow.

Determining the Best Option

Experts recommend using a cost analysis reckoning to determine the most suitable option for early-season hay. In other words, determine how much it would cost per bale to implement your chosen storage solution. Take that number and compare it against the expected losses for that solution. Choose the solution that is most financially viable for you.


Installing Headache Racks and Bulkheads: A Smart Move

Every now and then if you look up an online trucker forums, you will come across questions from new flatbed drivers asking whether headache racks and bulkheads are required by law. The questions are reasonable given the rules instituted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to regulate cargo control. Thankfully, the questions are easy to answer.

Headache racks and bulkheads are not required by federal regulations. However, using them is still smart as it protects cargo and prevents damage. If a truck owner has the opportunity to install one or both without causing major inconvenience or financial stress, it would not make sense to decline said opportunity.

What the Law Says

A quick perusal of the FMCSA Driver’s Handbook makes it clear that truck drivers are required by law to make sure cargo is properly secured. This includes doing whatever is necessary to prevent forward movement. In a flatbed situation, that means making sure that either tie-downs or some sort of barrier is in place to prevent cargo from moving forward on the trailer.

The handbook includes numerous illustrations along with hard numbers demonstrating what the law requires. It shows the difference between preventing forward movement with a bulkhead and doing it just with tiedown straps instead. The important thing to know is that the law requires a certain number of tie-downs, based on the length and weight of the cargo, if no bulkhead or headache rack is in place.

Drivers also have to pay attention to the working load limits (WLLs) of their tiedown straps. These limits are part of the calculation necessary to determine the number of tie-downs necessary to prevent forward movement of cargo. Too few tie-downs equal a violation.

Meeting the Demands of Customers

Although federal law does not mandate the use of headache racks or bulkheads, there are some shippers who are particular about their usage. Two good examples are rail and pipe loads. A shipper may insist that an owner-operator utilize a bulkhead just for an extra measure of safety.

Such requests do not seem unreasonable for certain kinds of cargo. A contained, rectangular load is fairly easy to secure against forward movement with straps over the top and around the front. But it is not so easy for a load of pipe. And whether or not a truck driver agrees, shippers insisting on bulkheads are not going to release a load until they are confident it will be secure during transport.

From our perspective, insisting on a bulkhead or headache rack for certain kinds of loads is no different than shippers insisting that tarps be used. Their main priority is to protect cargo and limit liability. Preventing forward movement via a bulkhead or headache rack may be the best way to do it in their eyes.

Buy What You Need from Mytee Products

Given the federal mandates for securing cargo and the fact that some shippers insist on bulkheads or headache racks, it just makes sense to install one or both on your equipment. You will be pleased to know that Mytee Products has everything you need. We carry both headache racks and bulkheads, along with the appropriate mounting systems.

Headache racks and bulkheads may not be required by law, but it’s still smart to use them. Both prevent forward movement of cargo and protect you as the driver. Both represent an affordable way to protect yourself as well as your investment in your equipment. After all, it doesn’t take much to cause a big problem. Just a little bit of forward movement could cause you a big headache you don’t really want.

 


Get Ready for the 2018 CVSA Roadcheck

We tend to devote a lot of our blog space to talking about things like truck tarps, tow truck accessories, and supplies for farming operations. We want to deviate a bit with this post by talking about the annual CVSA Roadcheck. It is now less than one month away.

Every year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts their annual Roadcheck event as a way to remind both truck drivers and motor carriers to go the extra mile to make sure they are in compliance. Every year that Roadcheck has a different focus.

Last year’s focus was cargo control. Inspectors were out in full force during the first week of June checking everything from tie-downs to the integrity of chains and ratchet straps. Thousands of trucks were found in violation, many of which were taken out of service until problems were rectified.

Hours of Service Rules for 2018

The Roadcheck this year focuses on drivers’ hours of service. As you know, the ELD mandate that went into effect this past December makes it a requirement for drivers to track their on-duty hours using an electronic logging device. Although ELD enforcement has been spotty to date, the annual Roadcheck is an opportunity to remind drivers that strict enforcement will begin in earnest very soon.

Whether you agree with the ELD mandate or not, it is what it is. It is a necessary part of modern trucking. The mandate is the same for open deck drivers, dry van haulers, reefer drivers, tanker haulers, and even hazmat drivers.

Be sure you are prepared by having a working ELD on your truck. Also start paying a lot more attention to your pre-trip inspections. Law enforcement will be looking at other things as well during the 2018 Roadcheck.

Don’t Forget Cargo Control

As experts in cargo control for the trucking industry, we are smart enough to know that CVSA inspectors will not be ignoring violations just because the focus of this year’s Roadcheck event is hours of service. They will still be looking at how well cargo is secured.

Now would be a good time to go through your inventory of cargo control supplies to make sure you have everything you need to do the job safely and in full compliance. If any of your ratchet straps are worn for example, replace them now. Do not wait for an inspector to give you the evil eye and a possible violation.

Make sure you have enough straps, chains, and blocks on board. Make sure you are paying attention to working load limits as well as the length and width of your loads. And if you’re not utilizing a bulkhead at the front of your open deck trailer, refresh your memory on the extra tie-downs necessary to prevent your loads from shifting.

Let’s Do Better Than Last Year

Although the results of last year’s Roadcheck were comparatively good, there were still far too many violations found. Let’s all work together to do better this year. Let us show CVSA inspectors and the general public that our industry does truly care about safety and regulations.

If you are having any trouble with your ELD, contact its manufacturer or your employer, if applicable. For cargo control supplies, contact us at Mytee Products. We have everything you need to haul just about any kind of load.

The 2018 CVSA Roadcheck is almost upon us. Are you ready? Hopefully you are, because the first week of June will be here before you know it. And with it will come on army of inspectors and law enforcement officers looking for violations.


Auto Hauling: When You Need Your Equipment to Work

When a tow operator goes out on the interstate to recover a car from a ditch, he wants to know that all his equipment is going to work right. The same goes for an operator who gets a call from a local resident whose car will not start. He/she needs to know that he/she has the equipment and supplies to retrieve the car and transport it to the garage.

There are two other kinds of towing equally dependent on properly working equipment. However in both these additional situations, there is an extra challenge: speed. Tow operators involved in repossessions and illegally parked cars need to hook up and be gone quickly. They really need their equipment to work on every single job.

Car Repossessions

Car repossessions are a boon for towing companies that offer repo services. And in recent years, there has been a lot of work available.

In 2017 alone, there were some 6 million Americans behind on their car payments by at least 90 days. That is right at the repossession threshold. For tow truck operators, repossessions are risky. They have to be very careful about what they do, and they have to be quick about it.

Once a tow operator identifies the target vehicle he or she must pull up, hook it, and go as quickly as possible. The operator might be delayed by having to pull the car out of a parking space before it can be hooked. If he/she’s operating a flatbed wrecker, pulling the vehicle up onto the neck takes extra time. That operator will be using his/her entire inventory of chains and tow straps if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

Towing Illegally Parked Cars

Almost as stressful as repossession is the task of towing an illegally parked car. This could be a car parked in the street or in a private parking lot. Either way, the tow operator’s goal is to get the car out of there before an angry owner comes out to confront him/her. He or she really needs to know all the equipment is working properly.

Like the repo tow operator, an operator towing illegally parked cars relies on a series of chains and straps, to secure the vehicle to the tow truck. Different setups utilize different supplies. It’s in the best interest of a tow operator to know which chains, straps, and hooks are ideal for each kind of situation. And with a little practice, the operator can become very adept at deploying those chains and straps under pressure.

Get Your Towing Supplies Here

Mytee Products offers tow operators a complete inventory of equipment and supplies. We have your chains, straps, hooks, and even external tow lights. Everything you need under one roof makes keeping your tow truck fully stocked as easy and convenient as possible.

We certainly don’t envy you if you work repossession or illegally parked jobs. That’s tough work when you consider how confrontational car owners can be. We understand you need your towing equipment to work correctly every time.

We invite you to browse our inventory for all your towing needs. Each of our products is made to exacting standards that you can depend on. We wouldn’t have it any other way.