Three Reasons to Consider Hay Tarps

November and December mark the year’s final hay harvest in the southern portions of the U.S. In the north, farmers will be preparing for the first harvest of the year next spring. Yet no matter where hay is produced, growers want to get the most for their money. And in many cases, using hay tarps is part of the profit-maximizing equation.

Hay tarps are designed to protect the harvested crop from moisture. Farmers who want that protection can either use tarps or build storage barns for the harvested material. Other growers do not worry about protecting the crop at all, choosing to leave it exposed to the weather instead.

Here are three reasons you should consider using hay tarps if you are a grower:

1. Protecting Crop Value

Hay is often bailed before it has a chance to fully dry out. This is done in order to maintain proper moisture levels. However, moisture levels that are too high promote mold growth. This is the first reason for covering your hay with tarps. You do not want bales to get wet if it rains because wet hay can contain mold that is dangerous to horses and cattle.

hay-tarp

According to Hay & Forage, growers can lose as much as 20% of a crop by not protecting with either tarps or storage barns. Most of the damage is limited to the outer two or three inches that have absorbed the water from rainfall. Even so, a 20% loss of a crop can be financially devastating. It’s well worth spending the money on tarps and stakes compared to the amount you could lose if baled hay gets wet.

2. Fire Prevention

Though most hay growers will go an entire career without experiencing a hay fire, such fires are more common than you might think. Fires in baled hay are usually the result of high moisture content and inadequate ventilation. The fires are sparked by what is known as spontaneous combustion.

When the moisture content of hay is too high, it allows for the growth of mold and bacteria. The mold and bacteria break down the hay into simple sugars they can digest easily. This is the process of respiration. Unfortunately, respiration produces heat that, under the right conditions, can cause hay to combust. Growers who intend to store hay for any longer than four weeks need to be concerned about protecting the crop from additional moisture.

3. Less Expensive Than Barns

It is true that hay tarps do not offer the same level of protection as dedicated barns. However, they offer adequate protection that is more in line with their expense. Simply put, tarps and stakes are less expensive than building barns. Growers which short-term storage needs are better off spending their money on less expensive tarps.

For a few hundred dollars, a grower could provide adequate protection for his or her crop until it is shipped. Tarps can then be folded and stored until the next harvest, leaving the land open and usable for other purposes. Barns, on the other hand, are fixed structures with permanent footprints.

As a hay grower, do you use tarps to protect your crop? If not, consider the possibility that you might be losing up to 20% of your earning power by leaving your hay exposed to the weather. It is probably well worth your investment to purchase the necessary tarps and stakes you need to protect your hay prior to shipment. At Mytee Products, we carry a number of different hay tarps in various sizes to meet your specific needs and budget.


Common Roll Tarp Problems and How to Fix Them

Roll tarps are indispensable for specific trucking jobs involving loose loads such as stone and grain. They are easy to apply, easy to remove and very effective at preventing debris from flying into the roadway. However, the mechanical nature of the spooling systems used with them is such that things can go wrong. Knowing how your system works, and how to fix it, can save you a lot of aggravation and downtime.

You can encounter many potential problems with a roll tarp and spooling system. We have put together a list of the three most common problems and how these problems can be fixed. Thankfully, a little knowledge goes a long way.

1. Frame Arms Not Centered and Parallel

A roll tarp spooling system requires frame arms to be centered and parallel in order to work properly. When arms are out of position, a truck tarp will not roll evenly. This is a problem whether you are applying or removing your tarp. Fortunately, the issue is usually a bad spring or tube arm. Both can be fixed relatively easily.

The first thing to do is to check the tension springs on both arms. The arm that is in the more forward position is likely the one that is operating properly; the one that is lagging behind is usually the one with the problem. You will know a tension spring is bad when it is fully compressed with little or no tension. Replace that spring and your system should be fine. If all of your springs are extended equally, you likely have a tube arm that is bent or broken. Bent tubes can be straightened; broken tubes must be replaced.

It should be noted that a single failing tension spring could be a sign of more failures to come. Remember that the springs installed when your unit was first manufactured all have the same shelf life. When one spring fails, it is only a matter of time before the rest follow suit. You might be better off replacing all of your springs at the same time.

2. Tarp Is Not Square

It is possible to have problems with frame arms not being centered or parallel even though all of your tension springs and tube arms are just fine. What is the culprit in this case? It could be a tarp that is not square. Although this is rare, it is possible – especially if you purchased a used system that was previously repaired by its owner. If all of your springs and tubes appear to be in good working order despite an off-center or unparallel condition, you may have to remove the tarp and check it for squareness.

3. The Motor Struggles to Unroll Tarp

Systems equipped with motors may struggle at times to unroll the tarp. Sometimes the motor itself is failing, but the problem is more likely to be related to the arm pivot mounts. You can adjust the tension at the pivot mounts to make the arms tighter or freer. If your motor is struggling, consider loosening the tension a bit. As a side note, electric motors usually fail completely rather than gradually. This is why we say that a motor struggling to roll a tarp probably has to overcome too much pivot tension.

Mytee Products carries roll tarps in a variety of lengths and widths for grain trailers. All of our tarps are made of durable 18-ounce vinyl with webbing strips every 3 feet. They can be used with any standard roll tarp system fitted to your trailer.


What You Need to Know about DOT Conspicuity Tape

One of the products we sell here at Mytee is DOT conspicuity tape. This is a reflective tape product intended to be used on trailers in order to increase visibility. As new truck driver, you might question why this tape is used. The answer is simple: the law requires it. Having said that, let us delve more deeply into why the federal government has made use of the tape mandatory.

Also known simply as DOT tape, a roll of DOT conspicuity tape is a double-sided product with adhesive on one side and a highly reflective surface on the other. The reflective surface is intended to reflect the headlights of other vehicles during nighttime driving in order to make a dark trailer more visible. The idea is to reduce the number of serious crashes involving big trucks and cars.

Government Study Results

DOT conspicuity tape was not always required. In the late 1990s however, it was determined that steps had to be taken to increase the visibility of large trucks with the use of additional lights, reflectors, and conspicuity tape. In 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted an analysis of crash data and estimated the use of conspicuity tape reduced the number of accidents and fatal injuries as much as 44%.

The study was conducted by analyzing crash data from Florida and Pennsylvania. Nearly 11,000 accidents were included in the study. NHTSA researchers concluded that, although using conspicuity tape does significantly reduce the number of crashes between large trucks and passenger vehicles, such crashes are not eliminated entirely. They further discovered:

  • Crashes involving flatbed trailers were reduced more than those involving dry vans
  • Applying DOT tape had the greatest benefit on dark roadways with little or no lighting
  • Applying DOT tape significantly improved trailer visibility during inclement weather – except for snow
  • DOT tape was most beneficial for avoiding crashes among drivers age 50 or younger.

The results of the NHTSA study were convincing enough that federal regulations made using the tape permanent. Every trailer now on the road must make use of the tape in strategic locations as determined by the regulations. Furthermore, DOT conspicuity tape must meet certain specifications as outlined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108 and DOT-C2 in order to be legal.

Limitations of Conspicuity Tape

As helpful as DOT conspicuity tape is, it does not eliminate all risk. In order for it to be as helpful as possible, it must be properly applied and in good condition. For example, dirty reflective tape loses its effectiveness as the amount of dirt and grime accumulates. Therefore, drivers have to take the time to clean the tape every now and again.

Wear and tear can also be a problem. When a piece of DOT tape begins to look old and worn out, it should be replaced as soon as possible. The good news here is that the tape is rather inexpensive.

As a truck driver, it is your responsibility to make sure all of your equipment meets federal standards for safety. When hauling your own trailers, purchasing and installing DOT tape falls squarely on your shoulders. When hauling trailers belonging to a shipper, the expense and labor is their responsibility. Nevertheless, you are still required to inspect the trailer for compliance before you pull out of the shipping yard. Don’t leave until it’s right.

DOT conspicuity tape is a good tool for reducing crashes between tractor-trailers and passenger vehicles. Make sure you use it correctly at all times. It could save a life.


What You Need to Know about Mesh Privacy Screens

If you’ve driven past a large-scale suburban landscaping project, you have likely seen mesh privacy screening being used on the perimeter of the job site. Mesh privacy screens are an easy and affordable way to block off a job site from curious eyes and trespassers. And when the project is done, it comes down fairly easily.

Mytee Products offers mesh privacy screening in a number of different sizes and colors. Ours are made with tight knit woven polyethylene fabric that blocks visibility at 85%. Each of our privacy screen products is also UV resistant. Before you purchase, there are some important things you need to know.

screen-mesh

Color Choices

The industry standard colors for mesh privacy screens are black and green. You can pay more with some other companies for additional colors and custom printed screens, but the expense is probably not worth it for a temporary screening solution that will only be up for a set amount of time. The choice between plain black and green really comes down to aesthetics.

We have found that construction companies tend to prefer black screening. Landscapers and residential customers prefer green. There really is no difference in terms of performance. However, green might be a better choice in areas where excessive temperatures and continual sun is an issue. Remember that black absorbs sun and heat. Working anywhere near a black screen in high temperature areas can be uncomfortable.

Installation and Framing

Mesh privacy screens are normally installed on top of chain-link fencing. The chain-link fence is installed to keep people off the property with the mesh screen acting as nothing more than a visual barrier. The plastic tie downs provided with the screen are all you will need to attach the material to the fence. For the most aesthetically pleasing installation, attach the privacy screen to the exterior of the fence.

In other cases, a project might be such that it does not warrant investment in a chain-link fence. These types of projects usually utilize wood or steel posts that are driven into the ground temporarily. If you are going to go this route, make sure each post is reinforced with a support post staked to the ground. Even though privacy screen is mesh, it can still catch the wind. Failing to reinforce posts is a good way to lose your privacy screening on a breezy day.

Residential Uses

Mesh privacy screening is not just for construction sites and landscaping jobs. We have had some customers purchase them in order to achieve privacy in their yards without having to invest in stockade fencing. What is the advantage? Stockade fencing is expensive and requires constant care. A chain-link fence with a mesh privacy screen can be installed and pretty much forgotten about.

Privacy screens are also a great option around swimming pools. Enclosing your pool lets you enjoy swimming or laying out in the sun without attracting attention from passers-by. Your pool also becomes less of the temptation to neighborhood kids because they cannot see it from the street.

As a side note, be sure to check with your local code enforcement office before installing privacy screen mesh around your home on a permanent basis. Some municipalities require a permit and inspection. It shouldn’t be a big deal if they are required, so there’s no need to take the risk of not checking.

Mytee Products carries both four and a six-foot privacy mesh products. Please contact us if you need a different size. We can work with you to supply the product you need.


Tips for Using RV and Trailer Covers

Now that the autumn season is upon us, RV and travel trailer owners are putting their vehicles away for the winter. Many of them will use an RV or trailer cover to protect their units from the weather. There are pros and cons to this strategy, as evidenced by the fair amount of disagreement that exists among RV and trailer owners. We will let you decide whether it’s the right strategy for you or not.

With that said, we do have some helpful tips should you decide to cover your RV or trailer with a winter cover. The tips are designed to make sure your cover does not damage your vehicle during the winter months. We want you to be able to uncover and go next spring without any problems.

1. Properly Secure Your Cover

Make sure to properly secure your cover with bungee cords or ropes. You do not want any portion of the cover to be loose enough to flap in the wind. Any flapping can cause cosmetic damage to the outside of your vehicle by way of grommets striking the surface. Continual striking can even loosen the grommets.

2. Create a Crown

It is a good idea to create a slight crown across the top of your vehicle so that the cover is not laying flat on the roof. Modern vehicles have air-conditioning units that make this task easier. You can also use things such as foam blocks and winter swimming pool inflatables to create the crown. The point is to create a surface that will allow precipitation and leaves to run off the top rather than collecting on the roof of your vehicle.

3. Check Cover Condition

Unless you are using a brand-new cover right out-of-the-box, it is a good idea to inspect your cover before putting it on. You are looking primarily for holes that can allow moisture in. The problem with moisture is that if it becomes trapped under the cover, it could cause a number of problems. Caulking could become moldy, aluminum parts could start to rust, and so on. You want the surface underneath to remain completely free of moisture throughout the winter months.

4. Beware of Abrasion

RV and trailer covers will not usually suffer rips and tears under normal conditions. The enemy of these covers is abrasion. You can get the most life out of your cover by reducing exposure to abrasive surfaces such as mirrors (fold them in), antennas (retract them), and roof vents (close them). If there are any potentially abrasive surfaces around windows or doors, you can reduce the friction by using foam padding or electrical tape.

Ordering a new RV or trailer cover is a matter of getting the right size. Although you do not want a cover that is excessively large, having one that is slightly too big is definitely better than purchasing one that is too small. The good news is that covers come in standard sizes. You just need to measure the length, width, and height of your unit to know what to order.

For RVs, measure the length from tail to nose and the height from the roofline down to the bottom of the chassis. Do not measure down to the ground. Also, there is no need to account for air-conditioning units. Manufacturers already take them into consideration when designing their covers.

For trailers, measure the height the same way. For length, there is no need to account for the tongue. You only need to measure the actual size of the trailer shell. Width measurements are pretty straightforward regardless of the RV or trailer unit you have.