How Do Hay Moisture Testers Work?

A farmer goes out to the barn with a moisture tester in hand. He chooses a bale, inserts the probe, and pushes a button. Almost instantly a number appears on the moisture tester’s LCD screen. The farmer knows right away whether the moisture level in his hay is acceptable or not.

That’s all well and good, but how does it work? How can a single probe measure the amount of water in a bale of hay? If you have ever wanted to know how moisture testers work, this blog post is your answer. Here we explain the basic principles of testing all sorts of grasses and grains for moisture content.

Moisture Content and Density

The first thing to know is that measuring moisture content relies on the principle of density. It is not like bales of hay are dripping with so much water that it can be collected and measured in a beaker. The moisture content is so low that you cannot see it. In some cases, you can’t even feel it. Therefore, measuring moisture relies on measuring the density of the product.

The more water in a bale of hay, the denser that bale is. The opposite is also true. So hay moisture testers are not really looking for water they can measure. They are simply measuring density. Moisture content can be extrapolated from that density measurement.

The tricky part about this is that different grains and grasses have different natural densities. This is why a moisture tester designed for hay isn’t appropriate for grains or coffee. It is why you cannot chop up a small amount of hay and effectively test it using a grain tester. You have to use a tester appropriate to the product you’re trying to measure.

Measuring Product Density

So, how does a moisture tester actually measure density? By sending electrical current throughout the product and then measuring it when it comes back. Bear in mind that water conducts electricity very nicely. So does air, but not nearly as well as water.

The probe typical of a hay moisture tester actually consists of two components. One discharges the electrical current while the other receives it. This creates a complete circuit that can be measured by the tester’s internal components. The amount of resistance in that circuit determines the density of the product.

A bale of hay with a higher moisture content will present less resistance due to the conductive properties of water. The dryer bale will present more resistance. That’s really all there is to it. Moisture content is extrapolated based on density, and density is measured according to the amount of electrical resistance in the hay.

Multiple Readings for Accuracy

While all of this may sound very scientific, note that readings vary based on how loosely baled the hay is. Accounting for such variations is a matter of taking multiple readings. That’s why you’ll see a farmer test multiple locations of a single bale, then test multiple bales in the stack. The idea is to get numerous readings that can be averaged together.

Even after all those measurements have been taken, a grower’s intuition plays a big role in understanding moisture content. Even the most accurate readings may not necessarily tell the whole truth. So farmers rely on a combination of measurements and their own knowledge and experience.

Now you know how moisture testers work. If you need a new tester for hay, grain, or coffee, we hope you will consider what Mytee Products has to offer. Our range of moisture tester products includes a number of different choices at competitive prices.


Lessons from Experienced Tow Operators

There are a bunch of viral videos out there showing just what can go wrong when a car is towed improperly. Not only are they good for a laugh, they also clearly define the difference between professionally-trained tow operators and amateurs. The professionals obviously possess the skills, tools, and equipment to do the job right.

The best tow operators in the business are defined by how they do what they do. For example, there are certain mistakes every professional tow operator knows to avoid. These are the same mistakes amateurs make just before they end up on viral videos. Here are four of them:

 

1. Pay Attention to Weights and Ratings

A lot of what a tow operator has to worry about is directly related to physics. For example, every tow strap and chain has a working load limit (WLL) that cannot be exceeded and still be safe. Tow operators have to pay attention. They have to understand gross vehicle weight ratings, axle weights, towing capacities, and the like.

Not paying attention to such things could mean serious trouble. Thankfully, the pros understand what’s going on. They choose the right towing straps, chains, and hooks to correctly secure vehicles before towing begins.

2. Use A Sufficient Number of Anchor Points

The tow operator who drives a flatbed wrecker rather than a standard tow truck handles vehicles in a slightly different way. He or she has to anchor the vehicle in question to the bed of the truck rather than hooking the car from underneath. Then he/she uses a series of tow straps or chains to secure the vehicle.

Amateurs who might try this with a utility trailer often fail to use enough anchor points. That is, they do not secure the vehicle to the trailer on all four corners. That’s a mistake. Professional tow operators not only know where the correct anchor points are found, but they also use all of them.

3. Always Utilize Safety Lights

How many times have you seen an amateur towing a vehicle without any kind of lighting? The vehicle being towed is not running, so brake lights and turn signals are not working. This is a recipe for disaster. Inadequate lighting is an open invitation to a rear-end collision. The pros know this, which is why they use safety lights. They activate the safety lights on their trucks and put towing lights on the back of the car.

4. Drive Cautiously

Finally, a truly wise tow truck operator knows how foolish it is to drive his or her truck the same way he/she might drive a car. Amateurs don’t know the difference. They drive as though they are not towing at all. They drive at the same speed and brake just as hard, assuming nothing bad will happen.

The secret professionals know is that all the towing straps and chains in the world aren’t enough to compensate for reckless driving. They drive cautiously whenever they have a car in tow. And it’s a good thing they do because as they know what they are doing, and they do it well, the rest of us don’t have to worry about being in danger when we come upon a tow truck or flatbed wrecker.

For the record, Mytee Products appreciates the magnificent work professional tow truck operators do every day. They put their lives on the line nearly every time they go out on a highway job. We are pleased to be able to help them by providing the reliable and heavy-duty towing equipment they need to do what they do safely.


Key Things to Know About Electric Fencing

Here at Mytee Products, we have been working to expand our inventory of items for agricultural customers. This includes our electric fencing inventory. Over the last few months, we have added a number of energizers and fencing material products to the agricultural category. We hope you find them useful.

Having said all that, we know that some of the customers who purchase electric fencing materials from us are getting into electric fencing for the first time. They are either transitioning from barbed wire to electric fencing, or they run fairly small operations and are setting up their fences for the first time.We want to help you make the best of your electric fencing choices. We are certainly not experts in cattle, but we do know a bit about electric fencing. We know there are two important things you should be aware of before you begin installing your fences:

1. Design and Layout Are Important

People unfamiliar with electric fencing do not realize that it differs considerably from barbed wire. A barbed wire fence acts as a physical barrier to keep cattle in. As such, barbed wire fences have to be designed and laid out in such a way as to prevent cattle from using brute strength to knock them over. Property owners have to use lots of posts and multiple lines of wire to counteract the physical strength of cattle.

An electric fence is not a physical barrier. It is a psychological barrier. As such, it does not have to be as strong or robust as barbed wire. But electric fencing does have to be designed in such a way as to take advantage of the psychology of cattle, especially if you want the cattle to behave in certain ways.

For example, alleys have to be designed with a little more width when electric fencing is being used. You want alleys to be wide enough to accommodate congestion without forcing cattle to get too close to the wires. Otherwise, traffic may come to a standstill because cattle believe they do not have enough room to get where they are going without touching the fence.

2. Cattle Have to Be Trained to Electric Fencing

The second thing to note is that cattle that have never been exposed to electric fencing have to be trained to it. Don’t worry, training is neither harmful nor difficult. Most cattle can be trained in a day or so using a very simple method that involves setting up a small training fence inside a barn or physically contained exterior yard.

The idea is to set up the temporary training fence so that there is an open way around it on one end. Then place hay on one side and water on the other. Cattle looking to get to one or the other by going through the fence will receive an uncomfortable reminder that touching the fence is not a good idea. They will eventually figure out that it is better to walk around the open end to get to the hay or water.

Once an animal makes that connection, the psychological training is complete. The animal will now avoid the fence altogether. It can be introduced to the pasture with the knowledge that the animal will not go near the permanent fence.

Whether you own a large ranch or a small hobby farm, we have the electric fencing materials you need to keep your cattle in. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions. We are more than happy to help you make the right purchase decision for your needs.


RoadCheck 2018 – Start Thinking Cargo Control

The 2018 CVSA RoadCheck is less than two months away. The annual event will be held this year from June 5-7 all across North America. Inspectors will be on the lookout for the kinds of violations that could have you or your truck taken out of service for a considerable length of time.

News reports state that the 2018 RoadCheck will focus mainly on hours of service rules and the new ELD mandate. However, drivers should not let their guards down. Inspectors will also be looking at cargo control and the general condition of mechanical systems. As a company specializing in cargo control ourselves, our main priority is to make sure our customers have everything they need to both pass inspection and stay safe on the roads.

A Better Year in 2018

It is rather appropriate for us to talk about cargo control in relation to this year’s RoadCheck based on what happened last year. The main priority in 2017 was cargo control. And even though inspectors put a record number of trucks out of service due to cargo control violations, such violations were not the number one reason for out of service actions. The biggest problem in 2017 was hours of service violations.

It is kind of ironic that hours of service were such a problem even though the focus was on cargo control. This year the focus is on hours of service, but inspectors will still be looking for cargo control violations. It is our hope that drivers do better this year than last – in every area inspectors decide to look at.

A better year means fewer out of service actions. It means more secure cargo, safer roads, and fewer penalties for drivers and their employers. It even means a better reputation for an industry that has been struggling in that area for a while.

Cargo Control Tips for the 2018 RoadCheck

Mytee Products cannot do much to help you with hours of service and ELDs. We can help with cargo control. Here are a few tips we recommend for the last few weeks heading into the 2018 RoadCheck:

Check Your Equipment

Inspectors will be looking closely at the condition of your straps, chains, and ratchets during roadside checks. So make the time now to check all your equipment for wear and tear. If anything needs replacing, order it as soon as possible. We want you to have it in time.

Review Procedures

Familiarity can sometimes cause drivers to forget the standard procedures for properly securing cargo. Over the next few weeks, review your procedures to make sure they are fresh in your mind. You might even create a procedural checklist you can follow to get yourself back into the habit of employing best practices.

Think Overkill

Spend the next few weeks thinking overkill. In other words, do more than you know is necessary to correctly secure your cargo. An inspector will never penalize you for having too many straps, so spend a few extra minutes to add one more.

Check More Often 

You already check your loads at regular intervals throughout your journey. From now through the end of June, check more often. It only takes a few minutes to make sure your cargo is still secure. The payoff for doing so could be huge in the midst of the 2018 RoadCheck.

Again, if you need any cargo control supplies prior to RoadCheck 2018, order them as soon as you can from Mytee Products. We want to make sure you have everything you need before inspections begin in earnest.


How to Buy Loading Ramps

You have landed on the Mytee Products website in your search for a good pair of trailer loading ramps. That’s great. We can get you hooked up not only with the ramps, but also all the other equipment and supplies you need to be a safe and successful flatbed trucker. Having said that, note that not all loading ramps are equal.

There are multiple manufacturers you can look to for quality ramps. There are also multiple designs to choose from. We recommend giving careful consideration to exactly what you need before you buy. Below are a few suggestions to help you get started.

The Loads You Typically Carry

Like everything else in flatbed trucking, you have to consider the kinds of loads you typically carry in relation to the loading ramps you need. Loads with heavier axle weights are going to require larger loading ramps with higher ratings. If you routinely haul the heaviest construction equipment, then you are going to need some pretty heavy-duty ramps.

The thing to keep in mind here is that loading ramps can be quite heavy. It is not unusual for a single heavy-duty ramp to be upwards of 100 pounds. If you don’t routinely carry loads requiring the monsters, you might be better off with lighter ramps that are easier to handle.

How You Intend to Store the Ramps

Flatbed truckers who use their loading ramps regularly – think construction equipment haulers here – are likely to keep them on board. The question is, where? How you intend to store your ramps may be a factor in the actual ramps you choose.

There are drivers who store their ramps on the upper deck. They may have to move them from time to time to accommodate other loads, but they find that upper deck storage makes for easier deployment. On the other hand, other drivers store them underneath using brackets mounted to the trailer.

The Kind of Trailer You Use

Different styles of trailers can indicate different uses for loading ramps. Are you hauling with a straight flatbed, or are you more likely to use a step-deck with your loading ramps? In a step deck scenario, you may need to use the ramps both to get the load onto the trailer and then to move it from one step to the next. You have to have loading ramps that work both ways.

Your Available Budget

We realize that price plays a role in the choices truck drivers make. We do not expect you to buy loading ramps you cannot afford. As such, your available budget is something else you have to think about. But think about it in both the short and long terms. For example, you might be looking at just a set of ramps right now. But will your needs change in the future?

It might be more cost-effective in the long run to purchase an entire loading ramp kit that includes ramps, mounting brackets, a ramp dolly, and everything else you need. The initial outlay will be more, but you will spend less by buying everything in a kit now rather than trying to piecemeal it down the road.

Mytee Products as a full selection of trailer loading ramps and supplies ready for purchase. We invite you to take a look at our complete inventory before you buy. We offer everything from loading ramps to truck tires and tarps and straps. Anything you might need as a flatbed truck driver is probably in our inventory. And if not, ask us about it. We will see what we can do.