More from: Farming Supplies

Selling Hay: 4 Things Affected by Moisture Levels

With the final crop of hay for the 2018 season now behind us, the interest to think about hay and moisture testers  tends to be on the lower side. Even so, that does not diminish the need to be proactive about maintaining moisture levels. Moisture affects stored hay in ways that can prevent a grower from selling his or her crop over the winter.

Buyers want hay for their cattle and horses. Growers should know that the animals that will feed on their hay are as important to buyers as the hay is to them. As such, they should also expect buyers to be picky. They want the highest quality product at the lowest possible price.

Below is a short list of four things buyers look for when choosing a hay supplier. All four are affected by hay moisture levels. So just as a reminder, make sure you have a working moisture tester on hand throughout the winter months. Do not ignore moisture levels. If you do, you may not be able to sell as much product as you had hoped.

Supplier Quantity

Whether a buyer works with one supplier or many, he or she wants to know that the quality is there to support his/her animals until spring. Why does this matter to a grower? Because the last thing a grower wants is to promise buyers a certain quantity of hay only to discover he/she cannot deliver. Not delivering promised quantities is a fast way to lose customers.

Your average grower promises a certain amount based on current storage minus expected loss. But the grower also has to take care of his/her hay to ensure that losses don’t exceed the norm. Routinely checking moisture levels is a big part of that.

Supplier Reserve

Buyers typically expect to use a given amount of hay over the winter months. But they may have their own storage issues. Realizing that there’s always the potential for more loss than anticipated, buyers look for suppliers who have enough reserve to meet supplemental needs down the road.

Growers can encourage buyers to have their own hay moisture testers, store their hay in a dry place, etc., but having a reserve supply on hand helps in a big way. Buyers who know they can count on their suppliers for supplemental shipments in the event of shortfall quickly become loyal customers.

Hay Quality

This should be a given. Buyers don’t want to see excess mold growth when they break open a new bale. They don’t want to see hay that is so wet that it promotes bacteria, algae, etc. They don’t want to see bales that are so dry that they likely lack nutritional value. And that, by the way, takes us to the last item.

Nutritional Value

Both cattle and horses alike have specific nutritional needs. Buyers are looking for good quality hay with the right nutritional value to carry their animals through the winter. They will add to the animals’ diets with nutritional supplements if necessary, but buyers would rather not have to do that. They want good quality hay with its full nutritional value intact.

Both hay quality and nutritional value are impacted by moisture. Hay that is too dry tends to not be as nutritious; in some cases, excessively dry hay may offer very little nutritional value at all. Animals can eat to their hearts content and still lose weight.

With winter approaching, hay moisture levels are critical for a successful selling season. If you don’t have a working moisture tester on hand, now is the time to get one.


3 Things You Should Know About Electrified Fencing

Since adding electrified fencing to our inventory, we have had the pleasure of working with landowners and farmers to help contain their animals with what is considered a safe and effective fencing method. Our inventory of fence wire, energizers, and other materials are appreciated by customers looking to install their own customized fencing solutions.

Electrified fencing is a viable replacement of barbed wired for containing animals on open land. If you are new to the electric fence concept though, you might not fully understand some of the finer details of this form of animal containment. For example, check out these three things that new fence owners are often surprised to learn:

1. Electrified Fencing Is Not Lethal

People unfamiliar with electrified fencing in an agricultural setting are quick to think of correctional facilities and top-secret government installations when the topic of electric fences comes up. To be clear, we are talking two different kinds of fences here.

A fence constructed using the materials we sell is not lethal. It is uncomfortable for sure, but it is a low voltage fence that acts as a reminder to stay clear more than anything else. Neither animals nor humans are at risk of serious injury or death if an electrified fence is installed and maintained properly.

2. Electrical Current Is Not Constant

The way to make an electrified fence effective without being harmful is to send electrical current through the wire in a certain way. That is exactly what our fence energizers do. Rather than sending current at a constant rate, an energizer sends short bursts of current at regular intervals.

A constant current would be potentially harmful on contact. Why? Because it is more difficult to pull away and break the connection. But by sending intermittent pulses of electrical current through fence wire instead, the energizer creates a quick shock that gets an animal’s attention without zapping it with an unbroken and harmful amount of current.

3. Electrified Fencing is a Psychological Barrier

Before electrified fencing there was barbed wire, a more primitive kind of fencing that acted as a physical barrier to animals. The barbs, combined with the strength of the wire and posts, worked together to keep animals contained. Electrified fencing is different. Rather than being a physical barrier, it is a psychological one.

The truth is that electrified fencing wire is not strong enough to prevent a determined cow from breaking through. But it doesn’t have to be. The cow’s psychology is strong enough to keep the animal away from the fence.

When a landowner first installs an electrified fence where none existed before, cattle have to be trained to respond to it in a certain way. The landowner sets up a temporary section of fence inside an enclosed area, then puts food on one side and his animals on the other.

All it takes is a few shocks for the cattle to figure out that it is a lot more comfortable to walk around the fence than sticking their heads between the wires in order to get to the food. Once they learn that, they will avoid going anywhere near an electrified fence in the field.

Electrified fencing is a safe, effective, and humane way of keeping cattle and other animals contained on open land. Mytee Products is thrilled to now offer everything you need to install your own fencing. We have the wire, energizers, and other materials you are looking for at affordable prices. If you need something you do not see on our website, don’t be afraid to ask about it.


Moisture Testers – Because Hay Needs Preserving

Mytee Products was built on selling truck tarps and other cargo control supplies to flatbed truckers. Over the years though, we have expanded our inventory to include products like moisture testers, hay tarps, and temporary storage buildings for growers and cattle owners.

When our non-agricultural customers ask us why we sell these things, the answer is simple: hay needs preserving. Cutting and baling hay seems like a simple thing to the uninitiated. It’s really not. For starters, a moisture level should ideally be under 20% before harvesting. Otherwise, microbes and bacteria will easily thrive in bale hay. Thus, the need for moisture testers.

A moisture tester works by sending electrical current through the hay. The speed at which the current returns to the tester will be affected by the moisture level in the hay. The technology is actually pretty simple. Having said that, moisture testers are even more critical today due to all the hybrids growers are working with. They can no longer rely on visual cues to determine moisture content.

When Hay Is Too Wet

Hay preservation is all about maintaining high-quality. Growers ideally want to sell a product that retains high nutritional value with very little crop loss as a result of mold and bacteria growth. Moisture levels are a major player in hay preservation. There are several reasons for this.

Hay that is too wet is a haven for mold and mildew. This is obviously not good for the farmer and rancher intending to feed the hay to cattle. Just a little bit of mold and mildew can ruin an entire bale. That says nothing of the various kinds of microbes and bacteria that normally grow in hay bales.

High moisture content allows these microbes and bacteria to thrive. When that happens, the microbes and bacteria generate heat. This is bad for two reasons. First, excess heat in bale hay ultimately ends up reducing its nutritional value by breaking down the hay over time. Buyers don’t want this for obvious reasons.

The other problem with heat is that it can cause spontaneous combustion. That’s right, the stories you’ve heard about bale hay burning on its own are absolutely real. As microbes and bacteria generate heat, the internal temperature of the bale increases. Hay deep within the bale can begin smoldering without anyone knowing it. That smoldering can continue for days until it finally erupts in an uncontrollable fire.

The Use of Hay Preservatives

One way to enhance hay preservation is to use preservatives. One of the more popular preservatives is something known as propionic acid. Before being used as a hay preservative, the acid is buffered in order to get its pH level as close to neutral as possible. That ostensibly makes it safe for animals. However, not everyone agrees that using propionic acid is a good idea.

Whether or not hay preservatives are your thing, getting moisture content correct is still the best method for preserving hay. Continually measuring moisture content in the weeks leading up to harvest is a good starting point. After that, it’s all about quickly baling and getting the hay undercover as quickly as possible. That’s why we sell hay tarps and temporary storage buildings, by the way.

Hay needs preserving if it is going to supply farmers and ranchers what they need through the winter. We are doing our part to promote hay preservation by supplying our customers with moisture testers, tarps, and temporary storage buildings. Everything you need to store and preserve your hay can be found here on our website.


How to Maintain Your Electrified Fencing

Regular  Mytee Products blog readers know that we sell electrified fencing components to farmers, ranchers, and casual animal owners. We believe in electrified fencing as an effective way to keep animals confined without exposing them to barbed wire fencing. In light of that, we want to remind customers to maintain their electrified fencing after installation.

As effective and affordable as electrified fencing is, it needs proper care and maintenance to remain in good working order. A failure to maintain, could lead to issues. As residents of Rock County, Wisconsin recently found out. A recent spate of loose animals wreaking havoc on county roads has led to county ordinance changes.

Loose Animals Causing Problems

Rock County is a fairly rural county in the southern portion of the state. It offers mile after mile of country roads with breathtaking scenery all around. The county is also home to dozens of cattle escapes every year. Local police say the problem is mainly due to inadequate and improperly maintained fences.

Unfortunately, allowing cattle to escape puts both them and drivers in danger. Rock County residents have seen an increase in cattle-related accidents over the last three years, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Many times, the animals have to be put down.

Rock County officials hoped to change that when they recently gave police the authority to issue citations for loose cattle. Animal owners can now be fined up to $100 for a first offense and $200 for subsequent offenses. Local leaders hope the citations and fines will be enough to motivate animal owners to maintain their fencing.

Maintaining an Electrified Fence

Whether or not you could be cited should have no bearing on fence maintenance. If you are putting money into fencing wire, energizers, posts, etc., does it not make sense to protect your financial investment by keeping things in good working order? Sure it does.

The good news is that maintaining an electrified fence is neither difficult or costly. There is not much to it:

Broken Wires – Routine inspections will identify broken wires sooner rather than later. It is very easy to remove a section of wire and replace it with a new section. Inspections also identify problems with posts and energizers.

Post Replacement – Electric fence wire does not put nearly the same amount of stress on fence posts as barbed wire. Still, there are times when posts are damaged by the weather or some other external force. A post that is no longer doing its job should be replaced right away.

Grounding – Next to broken wire, the biggest concern with electrified fencing is grounding. If your fence is not grounded properly, no current will run through it, rendering it ineffective. Property owners should routinely check to make sure grounding wires have not been damaged or dislodged.

Solar Energizers – If you are using solar energizers, it pays to check on them every now and again. Solar components do wear out, and you might never know without putting a voltmeter on your fence and measuring energy output. You can also help your cause by making a point of keeping the solar collector surfaces clean. You do not want anything inhibiting sunlight from keeping your energizer charged.

Electrified fencing is only as effective as the condition it’s in at any given time. To make sure you get the most out of your investment, put in the time and effort to maintain your fencing. A little bit of routine maintenance goes a long way toward keeping things in shape.

 


6 Important Safety Tips for Electrified Fencing

Electrified fencing is a safe way to control cattle when installed and used properly. It is a better option than barbed wire if you are the kind of cattle owner who doesn’t like the idea of your animals coming in contact with sharp barbs. Still, electrified fencing should be handled with care, so it better judgement and safety should be used during installation.

Much of the safety surrounding electrified fencing and energizers relates to installation. Make sure that you fully understand the fundamentals of electricity and how it operates before you attempt to install fencing in your property. If you are ever in doubt, have a professional do the job for you.

With all of that said, here are some important safety tips for electrified fencing. Pay attention to them for your own safety, the safety of your friends and family, and the well-being of your cattle.

1. Keep Away from High Foot Traffic Areas

Electrified fencing is intended to control cattle. It can be harmful to humans, especially children and the elderly. As such, never install electrified fencing in an area that sees considerable foot traffic. Do not install it were children play or seniors walk. Warning signs should be posted at regular increments around the perimeter of the fence to warn anyone who might approach.

2. One Energizer per Fence

It is unsafe to install more than one energizer per fence. Don’t do it. If the energizer you have chosen is not adequate for the fence you installed, either separate the fence into two separate fences or buy a larger energizer. Connecting two energizers to the same fence creates a dangerous situation because it interrupts the natural pulse cycle.

3. Pay Attention to Polarity

Whether you are using a battery-operated or plugin energizer, polarity matters. Do not ever reverse it. The red cable on a battery-operated unit should be connected to the positive terminal. The black cable goes to the negative terminal. As for plugin units, the positive terminal has a larger probe than the negative to prevent you from plugging it in the wrong way. Do not ever force a plug into the socket. If it does not plug in easily, make sure you’ve got it in the right direction.

4. Never Combine Electrified and Barbed Wire Fencing

There have been some cattle owners who have decided that combining electrified and barbed wire fencing is the best way to control cattle. It is not. Furthermore, it is dangerous. Electrified fencing is designed to create a psychological barrier that controls cattle by giving them an unpleasant zap. A zap or two is harmless. However, repeated pulses over an extended length of time can be dangerous.

Combining electrified fencing with barbed wire creates a scenario that could do a lot of damage. If an animal gets entangled in the barbed wire while the energizer is live, it could be subject to continuous pulses that eventually kill it.

5. Careful of Lightning Storms

Stay away from a live fence during a lightning storm. Just to be safe, stay away when you think lightning is approaching. If your general area is prone to lightning strikes, you might even want to unplug your Energizer before the storm hits.

6. Avoid High-Voltage Power Lines

Finally, avoid installing electrified fence anywhere near high-voltage lines. The reason is simple: electrified fencing can attract electricity from a high-voltage line, thereby creating a potentially deadly situation. Do not install a fence alongside high-voltage lines or running underneath them.

Irrespective of the idea you choose to proceed with, always remember that safety should be your primary concern when it comes to electrified fencing. A slight error in judgement could result in endangering the people and animals in the vicinity.