The Snow Is Coming – Stock Your Tow Trucks Now

An interesting series of events occurred in St. Paul, Minnesota in the spring of 2018. The region was subject to its sixth snow emergency of the season thanks to a whopper that descended on the Twin Cities in mid-April. What happened on the city’s streets over the weekend of April 14 serves as a reminder to tow operators that snow is coming and it might be a lot of it. So, get your trucks stocked with towing supplies now.

Towing vehicles during snow emergencies is standard operating procedure for most major cities. It just makes sense. Snow plows cannot clear the roads effectively if they are littered with cars. Moreover, plows traveling down the street will block in any cars that are not moved. Cities tow for both the benefit of plow operators and car owners alike.

You Will Be Called On

What happened in St. Paul may have been unusual, but that doesn’t change the fact that tow truck operators across the country will be called on this winter to clear streets during snow emergencies. It is part and parcel of the towing game in urban environments. The only question that remains now is whether tow operators are prepared for the coming workload.

Mytee Products cannot help with driver training, truck maintenance, insurance issues, etc. But we do stock an entire inventory of towing supplies. We are here to help you make sure your truck is fully stocked in advance of the coming winter. And if your company owns multiple trucks, you can buy all your supplies from us.

Be sure to check your inventory of towing straps. Not only should you have an ample number, but each of your straps should be in good working order as well. Check towing straps for wear and tear and broken buckles or hooks. Check your towing chains as well. Towing chains can rust over the summer months while in storage, so give each chain the once over.

Don’t Forget the Lighting

We encourage tow operators to also pay attention to lighting. In most states and local municipalities, tow trucks are required to be equipped with some sort of lighting to designate when the truck is engaged. For most tow truck operators, that means amber dome lights or light bars mounted to the roof of the truck.

If your state or local municipality also requires temporary lights attached to the towed vehicle, we have those too. Temporary lights are fixed to the towed vehicle by way of powerful magnets. They are also connected by cable to the truck’s electrical system so that they work in sync with the truck’s break lights, tail lights, and turn signals.

Winter is coming, and it is coming fast. That’s good news if you’re a tow operator who relies on the extra business of the season to boost revenues. Just don’t be caught off guard. Make sure your truck is fully stocked before the first snow emergency is declared in your local area.

 


Horse Owners Are Picky About Hay Moisture Too

Hay stored by growers this winter will be used to feed both cattle and horses alike. Often times, discussions surrounding hay moisture levels are focused squarely on cattle and their needs. And yet horses are also affected by moisture levels. Suffice it to say that horse owners are picky about the hay they purchase.

Numerous factors ranging from moisture levels to storage practices can affect the quality, nutritional value, and safety of stored hay. Where horses are concerned, there are a number of molds that can be problematic. Here is just a short sampling of four of them:

Aspergillus – A health condition associated with this kind of mold can be quite harmful to older horses, younger horses, and animals with compromised immune systems. The spores of the aspergillus mold get into the lungs before spreading to other parts of the body. They can affect the heart, kidneys, blood, skin, and eyes.

Fusarium – The fusarium mold can cause respiratory distress and colic. More importantly, the mold can produce mycotoxins that could present acute problems for horses. This is a mold that horse owners definitely want to avoid.

Penicillium – The penicillium mold is the same mold from which we derive penicillin. It is also what produces blue cheese. Unfortunately, the mycotoxins it produces can be very problematic for horses. They can cause allergic reactions including irritation to the lungs, skin, and digestive tract.

Rhizopus – This mold is actually pretty common. It is responsible for bread mold, among other things. It can cause respiratory and digestive tract infections in horses.

Preventing Mold Growth in Hay

The best way to stop mold from growing in hay stores is to control both moisture and storage environments. We will begin with moisture levels. Experts recommend that hay intended for horses be harvested somewhere between 12% and 14%. Slightly lower is okay too. Once harvested, growers should be using electronic moisture testers to check on moisture levels on a regular basis.

Properly stored hay is easier to handle in terms of maintaining moisture levels. Hay should be stored in a dry, well ventilated area with plenty of room between bales for air to circulate. Bales should be kept away from direct contact with the ground. Mytee Products offers a number of effective storage solutions ranging from hay tarps to temporary storage structures.

Inspecting Hay Prior to Feeding

Growers can do all the right things to guarantee good moisture levels and proper hay storage and yet still have trouble. Buyers can cause their own troubles by not storing hay properly. In either case, experts recommend that horse owners thoroughly inspect hay before feeding it to their animals.

Owners should be breaking open baled hay and checking for mold growth inside. It is possible for bales to look completely fine on the outside but still be riddled with mold internally. They should also be smelling their hay prior to feeding. Odors can go a long way toward determining whether mold is present or not.

Hay that does not smell right is probably suspect. Experts recommend paying attention to a dusty or musty smell. Any such smell is sufficient evidence to suggest that hay could make a horse sick.

It is that time of year again when horse owners start looking for the hay that will feed their animals through spring. Smart growers will protect both their sales and their crops by maintaining proper moisture levels and in adhering to solid hay storage practices. If you are a grower in need of a moisture tester or storage solutions, Mytee Products has what you need.


Know Your Tow Equipment and How to Use It

America has a lot of unsung heroes who really don’t get the recognition due to them. Among them are tow truck operators who risk their lives every day to recover broken down vehicles. We appreciate the efforts of these towing professionals , which is a primary reason for our decision to stock tow truck supplies including chains, hooks, winches, and towing straps.

This is the time of year we start hearing some of the wildest and craziest stories from tow operators. The later we get in a year, the wilder and crazier those stories will become. You see, winter weather makes already dangerous conditions absolutely treacherous for roadside recoveries. Any tow truck operator who has worked a winter on snow and ice-covered roads can tell stories that would make your hair stand on end.

We say all of that to say this: it is absolutely vital for tow operators to make sure they have all the right equipment on board to safely recover broken-down vehicles. But it is also critically important that operators know how to use that equipment the right way. A little knowledge goes a long way toward both effective and fast vehicle recovery.

Get In, Hook Up, Get Out

It is obviously necessary for tow operators to properly secure recovered vehicles with chains and straps before departing. To that end, rushing through a recovery job is not a good idea. But at the same time, a tow operator wants to get in, hook up, and get out as quickly as possible. Lingering for too long is an open invitation to trouble.

Knowing how to use towing equipment the right way increases both safety and speed. In terms of safety, a properly secured vehicle is a lot less likely to break loose during transport. That should be obvious. But let us talk about the speed question. Remember that a tow operator doesn’t want to hang around on the side of the road for too long.

If you have seen a professional lumberjack competition, you will notice that the men and women competing for the top prize can hack through a log in mere minutes. They are fast and efficient because they know how to use their tools. The same principle applies to operating a tow truck.

A tow operator who knows how to use his or her equipment can, and should, practice doing so. It should become second nature so that, on any given recovery job, the operator doesn’t have to spend 15 to 20 minutes figuring out what needs to be done. The more efficiently an operator can deploy chains and straps, the more quickly he or she can get out of harm’s way.

Know What You Need

Another side to towing equipment is knowing what is needed to complete most recoveries. For example, every tow truck is going to be equipped with a basic inventory of chains, straps, and hooks. But let’s say you operate a towing company in north-central Pennsylvania. Your trucks could be recovering a lot of vehicles from the mountain passes of I-81 this winter.

Your trucks might also need to be equipped with motorized winches and heavy-duty cables. Otherwise, how are you going to get those cars that have managed to find their way into ditches? Once recovered, your drivers may have to deploy some creative tiedown methods to overcome car damage.

Recovering broken-down vehicles is always a sticky situation. Doing it during the winter adds an extra element of danger brought on by severe weather. If you are tow operator, we implore you to make sure you know your tow equipment and how to use it.


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.


That Moment You Realize You’re Missing Tire Chains

You are planning a trip through California and Nevada via Interstate 80. You set out early in the morning on your first day with nothing but beautiful blue skies out the windshield. By the time you hit the road on day two, things changed. You’re approaching the Donner Pass in the middle of a snowstorm. Suddenly it occurs to you that you have no tire chains. It’s going to be a rough ride.

Driving a truck during the winter definitely has its challenges. Simply put, everything is harder during the winter. It is harder to accelerate, brake, and make your turns. It’s harder to cover your cargo with truck tarps. It is harder to stay warm. It’s even harder to maintain a certain level of safety. And yet seasoned truckers know that being proactive during the months leading up to winter can be a big help.

Getting your hands on a good set of tire chains is part of being proactive. Don’t wait until you’re faced with that first heavy snowstorm at the Donner Pass to figure out you don’t have chains on board. And by all means, don’t depend on chain banks. You’re not getting paid when the wheels aren’t moving. If you are having to wait for chains because a chain bank is empty, you’re losing money.

Snow Comes without Warning

Seasoned truckers also know that mountain snowstorms often come without warning. You may have a few days’ notice of a storm forecasters say will travel across the plains states. But there are times when ferocious mountain storms rear up in a matter of hours. A driver may leave a shipping yard fully expecting to have manageable weather all the way to his destination, only to find himself staring down old man winter at the base of a mountain.

How quickly can debilitating snowstorms blowup? Ask some of the truckers who attempted to pass through the Bow Valley section of the Trans-Canada Highway during the first few days of October. Nearly 2 feet of snow fell over a two-day span, stranding up to 300 motorists for 15 hours. The whole highway was shut down due to car accidents and jackknifed tractor trailers.

Any trucker who lost control of his or her vehicle lost both the time it took to recover the truck and the time spent waiting for the road to reopen. Tire chains obviously wouldn’t have stopped officials from closing the road, but they probably would have prevented some of those tractor-trailers from jackknifing and ending up in a ditch.

Know State Chain Laws

The fact is that there are some regions of the U.S. truckers shouldn’t even think about traveling through without chains on board. A good set of tire chains could mean the difference between keeping your truck on the road and having to call for a tow to pull you out of a ditch. Considering how much money it costs to remain idle, investing in tire chains seems completely reasonable.

We also encourage truck drivers to know the chain laws in the various states they travel through. For example, Colorado mandates chains be carried on trucks traveling along I-70 between mile markers 133 and 259. Drivers can be charged upwards of $500 for not using chains when required.

Tire chains can be a hassle to deploy. However, they serve a vital purpose that’s pretty tough to ignore that first time you realize you should have used chains but didn’t. Don’t be caught in a position of not having tire chains. Get your chains now, before that first big snowstorm leaves you stranded.