Solar Powered Energizers Might Be Right for Your Fencing

Are you a cattle rancher or dairy farmer with miles of electrified fence? If so, how do you power your fencing? We have a way for you to electrify fences without the need for external power sources. The answer is found in solar powered energizers that use the natural power of nature to keep your cattle in and critters out.

Before you dismiss solar powered energizers as a fanciful idea that does not work, please hear us out. Solar energy has evolved tremendously over the last 5 to 10 years to the point of being a viable solution for electrified fences. Between new solar collectors and long-life batteries, it is now possible to energize your fences via the sun with little to no loss of reliability.

No New Wiring Necessary

The solar powered energizer works just as its name implies. Each energizer has a built-in solar panel that absorbs energy from the sun throughout the day. What is not being used to keep fences electrified is diverted into batteries to keep fences electrified once the sun goes down.

The combination of solar collector panels and batteries makes a solar powered energizer ideal for new fencing without the need to run more wiring out into the field. It is also ideal for situations in which grazing fields change and only the field currently in use needs to be electrified. A solar powered energizer lets you put electrification where you need it, when you need it.

Even When the Power Goes Out

Electric fencing that relies on grid energy is completely dependent on the grid staying up and running. If the power goes out, so does the electrified fencing. That is not a problem when you use a solar powered energizer. The solar unit keeps right on working even when there is no grid power on your property. You will not have to worry about your cattle getting out every time a storm blows through and knocks out the grid.

Cloudy Days Aren’t a Problem

Short stretches of cloudy weather are not a problem because of the storage capacity that solar powered energizers carry on board. Prolonged cloudy weather may be another issue, so it’s wise to have a backup electrification solution ready to go if it’s ever needed. But other than those rare occasions when the weather is persistently cloudy for prolonged periods, you will not ever have to worry about dead fencing.

Friendly to the Environment

Farmers know more than anyone else how important it is to protect the natural environment. When fences are electrified with grid power, they may be powered with electricity produced using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. Not only does this mean that valuable resources are being consumed to keep fences electrified, it also means emissions escaping into the atmosphere.

Solar powered energizers are environmentally friendly in every way. They are the ideal way to keep fences electrified without contributing to fossil fuel burning and its emissions.

Two Models to Choose From

The Mytee Products inventory currently includes two different solar powered energizers to choose from. The first is a six-volt DC unit offering low impedance technology good for 3 acres of coverage. The second is a 12-volt unit with ultra-low impedance for coverage of up to 100 acres. Ultra-low impedance is offered regardless of ground conditions.

If you are looking for a new way to energize your fences without having to run new power lines, solar powered units may be just what you’re looking for. They are inexpensive, easy to use, portable, and friendly to the environment.


Beef Cows, Hay Moisture, and Winter Feed

We don’t mind admitting that we are not experts in cattle farming and hay growing. Yes, we sell things like hay tarps, moisture testers, and fence energizers. But our knowledge of agricultural practices is limited. So it’s our responsibility to do the research necessary to make sure the products farmers actually need. In light of that, this blog post was prompted by a fascinating article published by Beef Magazine covering beef cows, hay moisture, and winter feed.

The premise of the article was this: beef cows fed high quality feed during the summer and fall months are likely to reject poor quality feed during the winter. That means improper hay storage can cause big problems for cattle ranchers. Even a farmer who simply provides feed without actually having any cattle of his own needs to be concerned.

Beef Magazine’s Joe Roybal wrote in the 2013 article that cattle ranchers devote more than half their annual expenditures to winter feed. He went on to explain that hay stored outdoors tends to have a higher spoilage rate than that kept indoors. One of the things we know, thanks to our knowledge of moisture testers, is that moisture content plays a significant role here.

Moisture Promotes Spoilage

Moisture is both a friend and enemy of hay. You need some moisture in order to keep it from drying out and becoming nutritionally valueless. On the other hand, excess moisture promotes spoilage. It encourages the growth of mold and bacteria as well. And, of course, every hay producer knows that excess moisture can cause spontaneous combustion in stored hay.

Farmers use moisture testers to figure out just how much moisture exists in stored bales. What they do when moisture levels are too high or low is a matter of individual practice, but something has to be done in order to prevent losses. Farmers also have to be careful that the feed they sell to cattle ranchers is of the highest possible quality if they don’t want to risk future sales.

It has been estimated that baled hay stored on the ground with no cover sustains average losses of about 37%. Getting that hay up off the ground can reduce losses to under 30%, even if it is not covered. By far the best strategy for preserving hay stored outdoors is to both cover it and get it off the ground.

Hay stored indoors is subject to average losses of about 6%. However, storing hay indoors does not mitigate the need to measure moisture content. Moisture can still cause spoilage to hay stored in even the best barns.

Practical Suggestions for Growers

Hay producers naturally want as little spoilage as possible so as to command top dollar for their product. Doing so is a matter of employing some practical suggestions. To begin with, getting hay under some sort of cover makes moisture easier to control and spoilage easier to prevent. Whether that means storing hay in a barn or under a tarp, it really needs to be covered.

Before covering, hay should be checked for moisture content. One of our moisture testers will do the trick. Hay that is too wet needs to be allowed to dry before it is covered. In the meantime, it’s imperative to keep rodents and other critters away.

Whether in a barn or outdoors, hay should be stacked off the ground. One trick a lot of farmers use is to stack their hay on old tires. This allows air circulation from underneath while at the same time preventing the hay from absorbing ground moisture.

 


How Electrified Fencing Controls Cattle

A cattle farmer with a full complement of beef or dairy cows has a lot on his plate in terms of keeping that cattle in confined spaces. Despite their docile nature, cattle are powerful animals that can be quite belligerent when they want to be. Keeping them confined to certain spaces is a job for fencing.

Barbed wire fences were the fences of choice in past generations. But barbed wire is harmful to animals. These days, cattle farmers are more likely to use electrified fencing instead. Though it might seem that electrified fence is just as harmful as a barbed wire, it is not. The amount of electricity flowing through an electrified fence is minimal. Furthermore, the shock of an electrified fence is not enough to harm cattle.

Fencing Basics: How It Works

An electrified fence for controlling cattle consists of a series of fence posts, wires, and energizers. The farmer drives the posts in at regular intervals, runs two or three wires between the posts, and then connects those wires to the energizer. A fencing energizer can run on solar power, batteries, or mains power.

The final step in constructing electrified fencing is also its most critical: grounding. Grounding is what makes a fence effective in controlling cattle.

Current produced by the energizer is sent through the wires in quick pulses. A typical pulse might be only 150 microseconds, and pulses are sent through the lines at a rate of about one per second. As you can see, this means the wires are not constantly electrified.

When a cow touches an electrified fence, it completes a circuit by occupying space between the fence line and the ground. This causes an electric shock to flow from the line, through the animal, and into the ground. This minor shock is known as ‘biting’. Cattle are not exposed to a high enough voltage to endanger them; it is just strong enough to teach them a lesson.

Controlling Cattle with Fencing

The beauty of electrified fencing is that it trains cattle to stay within certain spaces without harming their health. Believe it or not, cattle are very intelligent creatures capable of quick learning. Controlling cattle with fencing is all about teaching them their boundaries.

No cow will appreciate the electric shock it receives from contacting electric fencing. Some cattle will learn to stay away with just one touch; others have to touch a fence numerous times before they figure it out. The one thing they all have in common is that they will eventually learn.

From a practical standpoint, a cow’s ability to learn can be helpful to farmers. For example, a farmer could erect a temporary fence that will be moved to a different field when grazing shifts. Yet even moving to a different field does not require the cattle to learn all over again. They will already know to stay away from the electrified fence regardless of where they graze.

We Have What You Need

Electrified fencing has proven itself over the years as an effective way to control cattle without inflicting the harm caused by barbed wire. Electric fencing is easy to build, easy to maintain, and cost-effective. Moreover, electrified fencing is as effective at keeping animals out as it is keeping cattle in.

Mytee Products has everything you need to construct electrified fencing. From energizers to fencing wire, we carry a variety of products to meet a variety of fencing needs. If you are planning to build fencing, just be sure to plan well before you purchase equipment. A good plan will set you up for a productive and inexpensive fence.


The Difference Between a Bulkhead and Headache Rack

The terms ‘bulkhead’ and ‘headache rack’ are used interchangeably in the trucking industry. That’s fine. Truck drivers understand what others are talking about by the context of their conversations. For the rest of us though, there is a significant difference between the two pieces of equipment. That difference can help us to better understand how drivers use headache racks and bulkheads to protect themselves.

For all practical purposes, a headache rack is a semi-permanent aluminum alloy panel affixed to the back of a tractor to provide protection against shifting cargo. The headache rack essentially prevents shifting cargo from penetrating the tractor cab.

A bulkhead does much the same thing except for one major difference: a bulkhead is affixed to the trailer rather than the truck. Furthermore, bulkheads do not have to be permanently affixed. They can be installed or removed as loads dictate.

Bulkheads and Flatbeds

A bulkhead on a flatbed trailer is mounted directly on the end of the deck near the tractor. It stands roughly 4 feet high and is made with a strong yet lightweight aluminum alloy. Cargo can be loaded flush with the bulkhead or with a bit of space between the two.

It is common to see bulkheads on flatbed trailers dedicated to local routes. For example, think of a local construction company whose trucks never travel more than 50 miles or so to a given destination. Its tractors are not likely to have sleeper cabs or headache racks. In the absence of a headache rack, the bulkhead provides additional protection.

Over-the-road flatbed drivers are more likely to have headache racks. Bulkheads are used on a case-by-case basis. If a bulkhead is appropriate when carrying things like steel girders or timber, drivers will not be afraid to use it. Where it’s not necessary, a driver may choose to forgo a bulkhead to save on weight.

Bulkheads and Dry Vans

Bulkheads are most typically thought of in relation to flatbed trailers. However, bulkheads are used in dry vans as well. A dry van is a trailer with walls and a roof. So why would a driver need bulkheads inside such a trailer? There are a couple of reasons.

There are some dry van loads more prone to shifting than others. In such cases, using a number of removable bulkheads can help keep cargo more secure. A good example is a trailer filled with rolling carts of linen. Bulkheads are a better option than load bars because they go from floor to ceiling.

Another use for bulkheads in dry vans is keeping different kinds of cargo separate. For example, there might be a moving company that specializes in ‘renting’ just the amount of trailer space a person needs to move long-distance. Because several different customers will have their personal belongings on the truck, loads are kept separate with lockable bulkheads.

Bulkheads for Other Purposes

Mytee Products carries bulkheads for the trucking industry. But trucking is by no means the only industry to use bulkheads. In fact, bulkheads were around long before trucks were invented. They have been used ever since man began building boats and putting them in the water.

Bulkheads in ships, planes, and rail cars are multipurpose panels. Not only do they help manage cargo, but they also provide structural integrity. It would not be possible to build the huge boats and airplanes we now build without using bulkheads.

Bulkheads are just one of the many products we offer the trucking industry. If you are in need of one for your truck, we invite you to contact Mytee Products. We’ll get you hooked up.


5 Practices for Maximizing Tire Life

Tractor and trailer tires are among the most expensive items truck drivers buy. Next to fuel, there may be nothing else in the trucking industry that consumes so much of a trucker’s financial resources. So it’s important that drivers do what they can to maximize tire life. Otherwise, it is like throwing money away.

Truck tires are subject to a lot of punishment capable of significantly reducing their useful life. Here at Mytee Products, we want our customers to get maximum life from every tire they purchase. To that end, we offer drivers five practices for doing so. Each of these practices should be held to religiously.

1. Maintain Proper Pressure

If you have heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: it is critical to maintain proper air pressure in both tractor and trailer tires. Air pressure is the single most important component in maximizing tire life.

Tire pressure is measured in terms of pounds per square inch (psi). The larger the tire, the lower the number. If you are a truck driver, do you know what the PSI reading for your tires is? You should. Furthermore, you should be checking tire pressure on a regular basis. At least once per week is the bare minimum.

Tires with incorrect air pressure will wear more quickly and use more fuel. They are also subject to blowouts. Furthermore, under-inflated tires can wear out in such a way as to make retreading nearly impossible. That means those used tires will be worth less in trade when a driver purchases a new set.

2. Use Stem Valve Caps

Stem valve caps were not designed for aesthetic purposes. They were designed to be the last line of defense against losing air. The reality is that a stem valve can never be 100% airtight, so the cap adds a little bit of extra protection to prevent air leaks. Make a point of replacing stem valve caps whenever you discover them missing.

3. Rotate Your Tires

Tire rotation is not just something car owner should do; truck drivers should be rotating their tires as well. The point of rotating tires is to make sure they wear more evenly. This extends life, maximizes control, saves fuel, and more. How often should tires be rotated? Whenever a truck is undergoing routine maintenance. A competent garage will know which tires to rotate and the positions to put them in.

4. Daily Tire Inspections

Federal law requires truck drivers to check their tires as part of their pre-trip inspections. The point should be obvious: they do not want trucks hitting the roads if their tires are unsafe. To the truck driver however, there is an added benefit of routine inspections. Checking tread and sidewall condition on a regular basis keeps drivers abreast of how their tires are holding up. Regular tire inspections make it more obvious when tires are under-inflated; they make it easier to identify small issues before they become big ones.

5. Check for the Unexpected

Lastly is checking tires for the unexpected. This goes hand-in-hand with daily tire inspections. What do we mean by the unexpected? The unexpected involves things like minor damage from running over road debris or maybe finding objects lodged between the wheels at the end of the day. Identifying the little unexpected things can mean the difference between tire failure and maximizing tire life.

Take care of your tires and they will take care of you. And when you get ready to buy new tires, remember that Mytee Products has what you need for both tractor and trailer.