More from: Farming Supplies

Checking Tractor Tires Should Be a Daily Exercise

There is an awful lot to keep you busy on the farm at this time of year. So much so that it’s not hard to neglect your tractor and wagon tires. You get up in the morning, get a good breakfast, and get right to work. Checking the condition of your tires is a task that can easily fall by the wayside.

According to Ag Pro’s Sonja Begemann, checking tractor tires should be a daily exercise for growers. Between the weather, the busyness of planting season, and the punishment of open road driving, this time of year puts a lot of wear and tear on tractor tires. Begemann recommends frequently checking tires to “avoid unexpected, preventable issues between planting, and harvesting.”

Begemann’s words are good advice. She isn’t the only one that recommends daily tire checks. Several people she interviewed for her piece agree. One engineer told Begemann that air pressure is one of the most important things to check on a daily basis.

Tire Pressure Affects Wear

Tire pressure that is too high does not necessarily result in critical damage right away. However, it does cause uneven tread wear. Over time, this uneven wear can reduce the life of even the best tractor tires on the market. Under some conditions, excessively high air pressure can also mean less traction out in the field.

A bigger problem for tractor tires is pressure that is too low. You might want low pressure in the field in order to maximize traction in wet, soggy conditions. But low pressure is a tire killer on both the open road and hard soil. If you have to take your tractor from one field to the next on a paved surface, make sure your tire pressure is where it’s supposed to be before you embark.

The damage from under inflation during open road driving can be significant. You can lose a good portion of tread or even blow out the sidewall.

Other Things to Check Frequently

Beyond tire pressure, Begemann recommends growers check a number of other things. At the top of the list is damage to the outer surface of the tires themselves – particularly the sidewalls. Tire sidewalls take a tremendous amount of punishment in the field. All it takes is a single cut or crack to be a big problem.

Begemann suggests also frequently checking:

1. Tread Depth – The general rule is to replace your tractor tires when they have less than 20% of their tread remaining.
2. Tread Damage – Stubble has a way of piercing tread rubber and causing damage. A little damage is tolerable; extensive damage may require replacement.
3. Ground Contact Area – Begemann says there should be “no gap between lugs and the ground”.
4. Valve Stems – Valve stems can be damaged in the field. They are also subject to normal wear and tear as a result of corrosion and debris.
5. Lug Nuts and Bolts – Check lug nuts and bolts while you are checking your tires. Make sure everything is secure before you depart.

Begemann reminded growers that the amount of punishment tractor tires can take depends on how they handle their tractors. More cautious driving tends to result in longer tire life. Of course, there are other factors that can affect tire life as well. The condition of the grower’s fields, how often the grower has to take a tractor on public roads, etc.

You should be checking your tractors tire every day if you want to maximize tire life. When it is time to replace your tires, Mytee Products has what you need.

 


Fence Installation: Getting It Right More Important than Speed

A father and son from New Zealand recently competed in a fence installation contest that resulted in the younger competitor beating the older. Apparently, the competition is an annual event at the National Agricultural Fieldays in Hamilton, New Zealand. And while speed may be important to winning the Golden Pliers competition, getting it right is more important in a real-world setting.

Here at Mytee Products, we sell a complete inventory of fencing materials including energizers and wire rope. We are careful to encourage customers who visit our Ohio showroom to take their time and do things right. Getting it right is more important than speed when you are installing a fence designed to keep your cattle in.

The Student Becomes the Master

Getting back to the New Zealand competition for just a minute, 47-year-old Shane Bouskill apparently decided to retire from competition after being beaten by his son Tony. The younger Bouskill, just 28 years old, won the competition in grand fashion. He brought an end to his father’s four-year reign as champion.

Tony’s father was already planning to retire even before this year’s competition got underway. But he convinced his father to give it one more shot. Shane Bouskill ultimately finished fourth. The two teamed up in a separate pairs competition which they won for the second straight year.

A day after the competition, Tony was back to work installing fences for customers. He said he’s not sure if his father will retire only from competition or from fence building entirely. In either case, father and son do very well for themselves building fences for farmers, cattle ranchers, and anyone else who needs them.

Building a Fence the Right Way

Fence building competitions aside, there are right and wrong ways to install electrified fencing. A property owner going electrified rather than barbed wire has a few considerations to think of. For example, the chosen energizer for any given fence has to be proportional to the amount of fence being powered. Attempting to power too much line with an inadequate energizer results in ineffective fencing.

Other things to consider include:

” The Number of Posts – Electrified fences do not require as many posts as barbed wire because the tension on the wire rope is not nearly as high. But that does not mean property owners can skimp. They still need the right number of posts correctly positioned in the ground.

” System Grounding – Electrified fencing needs to be properly grounded in order to function. It is not uncommon for inexperienced property owners to damage their systems due to improper grounding.

” Number of Lines – Electrified fencing doesn’t require as many lines as its barbed wire counterpart. Still, a fence cannot have any big gaps between lines if it’s going to be as effective as possible. Three to four lines is generally recommended.

” Backup Power – The one downside to electrified fencing is that electricity can be knocked out in a storm. It is wise to design a fence with backup power in mind. Whether that means a solar-powered energizer, battery backup, or running a generator during power outages is less important than actually coming up with a workable solution.

It is great that the Bouskills can install electrified fencing in record time. But once the annual competition in New Zealand is over, father and son go back to work with a focus on doing things right. If you have to choose between speed and a by-the-book installation, always go with the latter. Getting it right is always more important than doing it quickly.

 


Corn Silage and Moisture: Start Planning For a Good Crop

With spring planting now a distant memory, it’s time to start looking forward to harvest. Where corn silage is concerned, that means planning now if you hope to have the best possible crop in a couple of months. It also means paying attention to moisture levels. Like most grains, moisture content is critical to how well corn stores after harvest.

According to Drovers and PennState Extension, moisture content at the time of harvest is “one of the most important factors influencing corn silage quality.” The key is to match moisture content with the type of corn silage utilized. Growers should be using state-of-the-art moisture testers to determine moisture content before storing corn in their silos.

Moisture Content by the Numbers

Different silo configurations call for different moisture levels at silage time. Professors at Penn State say that corn destined for horizontal silos should have a moisture content of 65% to 70%. A tower silo calls for moisture content of between 63% and 68%, while limited-oxygen silos require 55% to 60%. Growers should target 65% moisture content for any corn destined for silo bags.

Why such variations? Because different silo configurations allow for different levels of air movement. Growers ideally want to find that sweet spot between moisture level at the time of harvest and the amount of air the crop will be exposed to during silage. Drier corn is more susceptible to mold and spoilage as a result of trapped air in silage. Excessively moist corn tends to lose some nutritional value thanks to poor fermentation and seeping.

The good news is that moisture testing is easy. It doesn’t take much to pull a handful of grain, put it in a tester, and read the result. Regular testing as harvest approaches keeps the grower fully informed of how his or her crop is doing. Having said that, the experts at Penn State say moisture levels should always be measured with an accurate tester. They recommend against estimating.

When to Silage Corn

PennState Extension recommends first measuring moisture content just as the milkline appears on the crop. The harvest date can then be estimated by applying a standard dry-down rate. A rate of between 0.50 and 0.75 is acceptable under most conditions. But also remember that the result is only an estimate; growers concerned about accuracy can always continue testing until harvest.

Use a Quality Tester

Knowing what we know about testing grain moisture levels, what Drovers and PennState Extension say about corn silage makes perfect sense. We are not experts in corn silage by any means. However, we are experts in moisture testing equipment. We have a full inventory of moisture testers for a variety of needs.

 

We recommend one of our top loading grain testers for your corn prior to silage. If you also grow hay, we have a number of portable rod testers for keeping track of moisture levels in baled hay. Each one of our testers is made to the highest possible standards for many years of reliable service.

We know how important accurate moisture level testing is for the American grower. Crop moisture levels can mean the difference between maximizing a crop and sustaining heavy losses. We obviously don’t want our customers losing significant portions of their crops due to not keeping track of moisture levels.

If you grow corn, now is the time to start thinking about harvest and silage. Remember, different silo configurations call for different moisture levels in harvested corn. If you’re not sure about your own crop, your local cooperative extension can probably help.


Electrified Fencing When the Power Goes Out

Cattle ranchers and hobbyists alike are discovering electrified fencing is a viable alternative to barbed wire for containing cattle. But no fencing product is perfect. Electrified fencing’s biggest downfall is a lack of power. What do you do when weather knocks out fencing by knocking out the power?

A loss of power is certainly not the end of the world. With the right preparations beforehand, a power outage does not need to disrupt a landowner’s operations at all. A few of those preparations are explained below. In the meantime, note that Mytee Products now sells electrified fencing materials including wire and several different kinds of energizers.

Start with Good Training

Cattle that have never been exposed to electrified fencing need to be trained before being put into the field. Training is fairly simple to do, and there are lots of online resources explaining how to do it. The point we want to make is that sound training is one of the best defenses against the power going out. Remember that cattle do not innately know when they are in the midst of a power outage.

Well-trained cattle rarely get close enough to electrified fencing to be shocked. In fact, they will stay several feet away from a fence line – at minimum. Some cattle are so leery of being shocked that staying 20 to 30 feet away isn’t out of the question. What does this tell you? That well-trained cattle might never know the power is out because they never get close enough to the fence line.

Keep Solar Energizers Handy

Another thing ranchers and farmers can do is keep a few solar-powered energizers on hand. During an extended power outage, cattle can be moved to a single field. The fencing can be temporarily disconnected from its hardwired energizer and connected to a solar energizer until power is restored.

This solution would require going out into the field to manually swap energizers in the midst of a power outage. But it is better than spending your days worrying about whether cattle have gotten out.

Run a Generator

In the absence of solar energizers, a farmer or rancher could run a generator or two to keep the fencing live. This is not the most desirable option as generators make noise and are subject to theft. But if it has to be done, it has to be done. Generators can run indefinitely as long as they are fueled.

The one advantage of using a generator is that energizers do not have to be swapped. A properly configured set-up would involve nothing more than placing a generator in a strategic location, plugging in the fencing system, and starting motor.

Keep One Barbed Wire Fence

Some farmers and ranchers maintain one field with a barbed wire fence just in case. In the event the power goes out for a while, cattle can be moved to that field. This may not be the best solution for somebody who cringes at the thought of cattle becoming entangled in barbed wire, but it is workable.

Power outages have been an inconvenience ever since electrified fencing was first invented. It is not a problem that spells doom and gloom for farmers and ranchers. If you know how to work with the tools you have, you can get by without power for an extended amount of time. Both you and your cattle will survive.

Mytee Products invites you to take a look at our hardwired and solar energizers for your next fencing project. Our electrified fencing materials are ideal for both permanent and portable containment systems.


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.