Hay Tarps: Protecting America’s Livestock Feed

All across America, from New York to California, we devote millions of acres of agricultural land to the production of hay. Moreover, while hay may not seem very important, it is a staple of American farm life. Hay is the primary food source of all sorts of livestock including cows, horses, goats, and sheep. Hay is even used to feed pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. Protecting that food source is vitally important for the health of the animals that need it.

Hay producers use specially designed hay tarps to protect their harvests once brought in from the field. A hay tarp has two different sides that offer different kinds of protection. The purpose of harvested hay, and how it can be damaged by the weather, dictates how hay tarps are designed. The farmer cannot use just any tarp if he or she expects maximum protection.

A Bit about Hay

Hay can be any combination of herbaceous plants, grasses and legumes cut and bundled together as animal feed. Most of what we see in the States is a primarily grass product. Farmers can grow acres of hay and, in the right weather conditions, enjoy multiple harvests every year. The hay is rolled and stored until it is either sold or used on the farm where it was produced.

hay-tarps

Farmers have to be very careful when harvesting hay in order to make sure water content is not too high. Otherwise, a roll of hay is prone to spontaneous combustion caused by heat produced by bacterial fermentation. Harvested hay also has to be protected from direct sunlight and additional moisture so that it does not grow mold or mildew. That’s where the specially designed hay tarp comes into play.

How Hay Tarps Work

The typical hay tarp has both a silver and black side. This silver side is placed face up in order to reflect the sunlight. The black side underneath is a further light inhibitor to protect against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Some hay tarps are white and black rather than silver and black, though there does not seem to be a big difference in the protection offered by the white and silver surfaces.

In addition to protecting the hay from sunlight, a hay tarp must also be waterproof. A good quality tarp is made from either polyethylene or a poly fabric with high UV resistance. Web looping along the edges make it easy to secure the tarps to the ground or a storage structure.

The main advantage of the hay tarp is that it is an inexpensive option when compared to building hay barns. For several hundred dollars per tarp, the farmer can protect his or her harvest without having to invest in a permanent building structure on their property. In between harvests, the open space can be used for other things as well.

Having said that, high-quality tarps are important for maximum protection. It does not do the farmer any good to invest in a cheap tarp that could potentially result in the loss of an entire load. Saving a little money is a recipe for losing a lot by way of a cheap tarp that does not do its job. At Mytee Products, we know how important it is for hay producers to have access to high-quality tarps that will protect their crops.

Thanks to the dedicated hay producers across the country, livestock owners have access to plenty of high-quality hay to feed their animals. Moreover, thanks to hay tarps like the ones we sell and Mytee Products, hay farmers are able to provide strong, healthy feed to their customers.


Why You Should Consider Covering Your RV or Travel Trailer

With summer now in bloom across most of the country, America’s RV and travel trailer owners are out on the roads in full force. Most are not even thinking about what they plan to do when it comes time to store their rigs in the fall. Nonetheless, now is the time to start thinking about it, especially if you plan to use an RV or trailer cover.

There is plenty of debate over whether or not to use recreational vehicles (RV) and trailer covers. Those against the practice site numerous problems including moisture damage, mold, damaged finishes, and bent framing. Those in favor of covers will insist they have never had a problem. So here’s the question: should you cover your RV or trailer, or should you leave it to the elements over the winter?

We believe covering your rig is the better option. Here are four reasons why:

1.Sun Damage – The roof on your RV is certainly not as durable as the one on your home. Constant exposure to the sun wears down the roof material, ultimately drying out the caulking used to seal vents and air conditioning units. While a cover does not provide 100% protection, it can cover can significantly slow down sun damage.

2.Moisture Potential – Moisture is the enemy of the typical RV or travel trailer. Water can pool on the roof due to sags or dimples, or it can be collected and absorbed by pine needles, leaves, grass, and other sorts of debris. During the hot summer months, this is usually not a problem. However, during the fall and winter, any moisture on the roof may not evaporate. This can lead to mold and mildew come spring.

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3.Snow Damage – RV owners that live in northern environments have to think long and hard about the snow. Just a couple inches of accumulated snow on your rig could cause pretty significant damage. It is especially problematic if you have a couple of quick thaw/freeze cycles during the season.

4.Window SealsA good RV or trailer cover will be large enough to cover all of your windows as well. Keeping them covered during the off-season protects the seals around the windows from dry rot and thaw/freeze cycles. You will get longer life from your seals and caulking.

We should note that we favor covering your rig with a specially designed cover that fits well. We do not endorse the use of generic poly tarps. Why? Because tarps and improperly fitting covers can cause more problems than they solve.

Tips for Using Covers Properly

Any type of cover you use for your RV or travel trailer has the potential to damage the vehicle if not used properly. Here is what you need to know about using covers properly:

  • Sizing – You need to choose a cover for your rig that matches its size. Covers need to fit snugly in order to keep out moisture, bugs, and debris. Your cover should be large enough to protect the entire unit, from top to bottom, but not so large that it moves freely in the wind.
  • Securing – The most important thing you can do to protect your rig is to make sure the cover is tightly secured. If the cover is not tight, it can cause damage by flapping in the wind, allowing moisture underneath, and even allowing precipitation to pool in various locations. This is a good way to damage your RV or trailer.

When a cover is sized appropriately and used properly, it offers you maximum protection for your RV or travel trailer. A good quality cover from Mytee Products is an excellent investment that will extend the life of your rig.


Tarps in Agriculture: Protecting Livestock

Livestock is an important asset to the American farmer. Some farmers deal exclusively in livestock, including cows and goats, while others work with livestock as a complement to producing fruits and vegetables. In either case, livestock represents an important investment the farmer cannot afford to take lightly.

Though animals are not as susceptible to environmental conditions as human beings are, inclement weather can still be harmful to livestock. That’s why farmers will build barns and other structures to keep animals out of the weather. However, sometimes a large animal barn is simply not feasible. Such cases are perfect for poly tarps. With a little creativity and the right tools, the farmer can build a tarpaulin shelter able to provide much needed protection for his or her animals.

Protection from the Sun

In warm weather states, particularly in the South and the Southwest, the hot sun can be just as dangerous to livestock as it is to humans. Yet building multiple barns out in the middle of grazing fields is impractical. A poly tarp can be used to provide adequate protection that is both temporary and portable.

Often times you will see these portable shelters constructed in a classic “U-shape” form. The tarp may be supported by an aluminum frame that can be quickly disassembled and moved to another location, or part of a permanent wood structure that remains even when the tarp is removed. In either case, this type of shelter is open on either end. Its only purpose is to give animals some much-needed shade.

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Protection from Wind and Rain

Believe it or not, livestock is susceptible to ill health if persistently exposed to wind and rain. Where outbuildings are not practical, a farmer might construct a three-sided shelter using poly tarps and metal framing. Such a structure would be positioned to block the wind and rain in whatever direction it normally comes from.

Sometimes you will see these structures built as lean-tos; three sided shelters with a slanted roof. The lean-to design has been popular for hundreds of years because of its ability to direct water away from the floor. Other times the wind and rain shelter will be constructed more like a three-sided garage or storage shed. This design is better suited in areas where inclement weather can be more severe.

Protection from the Cold

The farmer who chooses to leave his or her livestock in the field 24-hours per day can sometimes run into trouble on cold nights. Thankfully, livestock do not need much to stay warm. They will do fine in the harshest of temperatures as long as they have a shelter capable of containing their body heat. An agricultural tarp constructed for that purpose is the ideal solution.

Protecting livestock from the cold involves constructing a shelter with four sides and a door opening. The opening does not necessarily have to be sealed, but it is typically only large enough to allow the animals to move in and out. Keeping in body heat indicates the space must be closed in as much as possible.

The key to using poly tarps to protect livestock is to embrace their flexibility. Farmers use all sorts of other materials in combination with tarps to build shelters unique to the needs of their animals. Shelters can be square, triangular, U-shaped, or even tent-like structures. Whatever it takes to keep the animals safe.

For Mytee Products to serve the needs of America’s farmers, we have to make sure we always have a good selection of agricultural grade tarps in stock. We offer all kinds of options for just about any agricultural need.


New Legislation Could Mean Paying Drivers for Tarping

Time is money in the trucking business. Unfortunately, the only time a driver may get paid for is the time spent on the road. When drivers are stuck in shipping yards, waiting for shippers or tarping their loads, they are not earning a cent. And that doesn’t sit well with most of them. However, there is a real possibility that might change.

A new highway-funding bill introduced by the federal government this past spring includes a provision that could result in transport companies having to pay drivers for time spent detained by carriers or receivers. Though the law does not specifically detail how payments will be applied, it gives the Department of Transportation a fair amount of latitude. If the highway bill passes with the language attached, we could see drivers being paid for tarping their loads.

Tarping Takes Time

Even though tarped loads typically pay better, there are drivers who avoid them because they take longer to secure. Since time is money, if a driver spends an hour securing an especially bulky load, that’s one hour not spent driving. Let us not forget the other end where the driver must spend time taking the tarp off, folding it, and storing it.

The government hopes to see that change by requiring companies to pay their drivers at a rate equal to the federal minimum wage for any time spent working that does not involve driving. The thought is that the requirement would address three problems:

  • Exceeding Time Limits – Professional drivers are required by law to limit the amount of driving they do on any single day. However, when time is lost at the shipping yard, drivers are tempted to exceed those limits in order to avoid losses. Paying them for time spent detained at shipping yards will hopefully reduce the temptation to exceed limits.

Driver-Tarping

  • Proper Tarping – The loss of time associated with applying and securing truck tarps can sometimes lead drivers to be rushed. Consequent errors may lead to falls, back injuries and other avoidable problems . Paying for tarping time is one way to address this.
  • Industry Competition – The government hopes that the new legislation will make the driving industry more competitive in the labor market, more attractive for people just starting their careers. Let us face it; the idea of not being paid for down time is not attractive to people trying to decide what career path to embark on. More legislation means more burden but setting across the board uniform rules by which all companies have to play is one way to solve the acute driver shortage being faced by the industry.

This all sounds good if you are a professional driver. Nevertheless, there are a couple of flies in the ointment, so to speak. The first is that the regulations would only apply to transport companies. That means fleet drivers will be paid for their time, owner operators will not. That sort of inequity does not sit well with the legions of independent drivers across the country.

The second problem is that it will undoubtedly add to the cost of doing business for trucking companies. Moreover, since that money has to come from somewhere, the higher costs will be passed on to customers by way of higher prices.

No one yet knows what the fate of the highway bill is going to be. In all likelihood, it will need to be modified in order to satisfy both houses of Congress. We will have to wait and see what happens, but perhaps we’ll start seeing drivers paid for tarping their loads by some time next year.


Steel Tarps and Lumber Tarps: Yes, They Are Different

Any company selling heavy-duty truck tarps should carry both steel and lumber tarps of various sizes. What you might not know is that the tarps are different in size and purpose. Each brings with it a certain versatility and suitability for hauling a certain types of commodities. Suffice it to say, not all tarps are created equal, nor does one size fit all.

The typical steel tarp tends to be same in length but smaller in width because it is used to cover steel and other loads that do not rise very high on the back of a flatbed. As such, the required drop height is not as high. They are also made especially for steel loads. If manufactured to high standards, these more than meet the appearance, performance and other professional standards of discerning customers while providing excellent protection for loads. They can be secured with bungee straps.

A lumber tarp is wider but not usually longer. It is intended for larger, higher rising loads with a need for plenty of overhang. They get their name from historical use with lumber hauls. However, a lumber tarp can be used for any bulky, high rising load. Like steel tarps, they can be secured with bungees.

Using Tarps Properly

There are three key principles to using tarps for long-haul trucking. The first is choosing the right tarp for the job. For example, you may need a large lumber tarp with both side drops and end flaps for a load that is high rising and requires total water protection. You want to make sure your tarp is big enough for the job but not so big as to have a lot of excess fabric to take care of. Unfortunately, this means truckers need to own several different kinds of tarps for different jobs.

Lumber and Steel Tarps

The second key to tarping lies in how the tarp is deployed and secured. Keep in mind that there is more to it than just protecting the cargo. The tarp itself also needs to be protected against sharp objects and the potential of wind damage. Experts recommend using edge protectors, corner protectors, moving blankets, rubber pants or other things that can eliminate sharp edges between cargo and tarp. As for wind damage, it is all in how you secure the tarp. Extra rows of D-Rings help bring versatility.

Lastly, drivers get maximum use out of it tarps if they regularly inspect them. Inspection helps to identify weak points that can be repaired before any real damage is done. A driver who does not inspect his tarps is asking for an accident.

Tarp Deployment

Deploying a tarp always needs to be done with safety in mind. Because steel loads tend to be smaller, drivers can deploy tarps manually without much trouble. However, to be safe, tarping should always be done with the help of another driver or someone in the yard. Having a person on either side of the trailer reduces the need for moving across the load while securing the tarp.

Lumber tarps, on the other hand, are a different story. The safest way to deploy a large and bulky tarp is to raise the tarp to the top with a forklift and then unfold down. In the absence of an automatic system, it is even more important for drivers to get someone to help them.

The tarping process can be helped along by properly folding tarps prior to storage. A properly folded tarp can be placed on the center of the load by a forklift, then unfolded in place and secured.

Lumber and steel tarps are necessary tools of the driving trade. They protect valuable cargo from weather, road gravel and other things that could cause damage. They are excellent tools in the hands of experienced drivers.