Hay Moisture Content Is Important to Cattle Too

In marketing moisture testers to our agricultural customers, we frequently talk about controlling moisture content in baled hay so as to prevent spoilage that leads to crop loss. The point here is obvious. Farmers lose money on every pound of hay lost to spoilage. But did you know that hay moisture content is just as important to the cattle that will feed on that baled hay?

Moisture does funny things to baled hay. A bale has to have at least some moisture content, otherwise the crop dries out and goes bad. But too much moisture can promote the growth of all sorts of microbes that could be detrimental to cattle health. Excess moisture can also lead to spontaneous combustion during prolonged periods of winter storage.

The long and short of it is that farmers and ranchers have to control moisture levels in stored hay. One of the best ways to do that is with regular testing using a high-quality moisture tester like the ones we sell. If moisture levels are too high, the farmer or rancher needs to take action to start drying the bales.

Moisture Makes Hay Unappetizing

Ranchers and dairy farmers tend to be very particular about the feed they buy. They know a secret that hay producers may not be familiar with: cattle are not necessarily willing to eat anything. In fact, feed that has been exposed to excessive moisture can be unappetizing to both beef and dairy cattle.

Excessive moisture can reduce the protein content of hay. It can also make it more difficult to digest. Cattle being fed hay that has been exposed to too much moisture may develop digestive tract issues, causing them to eat less than they should. It is a lot like a person finding food unappetizing because of an upset stomach.

Some estimates suggest that feed intake can be reduced by half a pound or more per day if cattle find hay unappetizing. While such estimates have never been proved, anecdotal evidence does indicate that cattle eat less when they do not like their feed.

Fungi and Their Mycotoxins

Fungi and the mycotoxins they produce are yet another reason to continually test hay moisture levels with a reliable moisture tester. There are literally dozens of different fungi that can grow inside bales of already harvested hay. Fungal growth is especially problematic when hay is exposed to cool, damp conditions during flowering.

Following such conditions, growers have to be especially diligent about moisture when it comes time to harvest and baling. Otherwise, fungal growth produces mycotoxins that can lead to a litany of problems for cattle, including:

-refusal of feed
-digestive tract issues
-respiratory illnesses
-hoof disease
-death.

Some strains of fungus also produce alkaloids that are problematic for cattle. Some of those alkaloids can cause infertility and hoof disease. Farmers in North America have nearly 4-dozen alkaloids to worry about.

Moisture Levels Are No Laughing Matter

As you can see, moisture levels in stored hay have to be kept in check. They are no laughing matter. Hay producers certainly do not want to lose money to spoilage, so they keep track of moisture levels as best they can. Ranchers and dairy farmers do not want spoilage to lead to sickness and disease in their animals, so they keep an eye on hay moisture levels in every pound of feed they buy.

Here at Mytee Products, we have what you need to keep stored hay at the right moisture level. In addition to moisture testers, we also carry hay tarps and temporary hay storage structures.


What Kind of Tow Truck Do You Operate?

To the average person on the street, the tow truck is a modified pickup truck with extra tires on the back end and an on-board yoke for towing disabled cars. Few people pay any attention to the fact that the vehicle recovery industry has multiple kinds of trucks at its disposal for nearly every kind of job. If you are a tow operator, what kind of truck do you normally operate?

Different trucks are designed for different kinds of jobs. As such, the auto towing and hauling equipment drivers use differ from one recovery to the next. They have auto hauling straps, towing chains, winches, and hooks to work with. Equipment has to be matched to the job at hand to ensure it is done safely and efficiently.

We have put together a list of the different kinds of tow trucks below. If you are a tow operator, just remember this: who you choose to supply your straps, chains, etc. will play a role in your overall success. You have to have the right equipment to do the job. You are in luck, because Mytee Products has exactly what you need.

The Boom Truck

The boom truck is the biggest and baddest of all tow trucks. This is a vehicle built on the same kind of frame as an 18-wheeler tractor. It has an on-board adjustable boom capable of recovering extremely heavy vehicles or lifting a disabled car right out of a ditch.

The secret of the boom truck is its hydraulics. By combining hydraulics with telescoping booms, these trucks can access disabled vehicles that are all but inaccessible to other kinds of tow trucks. They are the only recovery vehicles suitable for extremely heavy lifting.

The Wheel-Lift Truck

The wheel-lift truck is one of the more common tow trucks used in the United States. It is built on the frame of a pickup, but everything underneath is reinforced for extra strength. On the back of the truck is mounted a hydraulic frame with a steel or aluminum alloy cradle that slides under the front wheels of the vehicle to lift it off the ground. Towing straps or chains are then used to secure the vehicle to the cradle.

The Integrated Truck

This kind of truck is a hybrid vehicle with both hydraulic cradle and boom on board. It is not a truck we see commonly used in this country. However, it’s seen a lot in Europe. It is ideal for recovering broken down vehicles in urban areas.

The Flatbed Truck

Next to the wheel-lift, the flatbed truck is the second most commonly used vehicle for towing operations in this country. Flatbeds make vehicle transport a lot safer because cars are taken completely off the road. The flatbed tilts up and slides down to meet the road, making it easy for the tow operator to drag the car on board using a winch and cable. The car is then secured with straps or chains prior to departure.

The Lift Flatbed Truck

Last is the lift flatbed truck, another kind of truck used more in Europe than here. This is a flatbed with an on-board boom. The boom is used to lift a car vertically and place it on the flatbed. Lift flatbed trucks are another good option for vehicle recovery in urban environments.

Regardless of the kind of truck used, tow operators rely on their winches, straps, and chains to do what they do. Here at Mytee Products, we are proud to supply the towing industry with all the necessary equipment. We hope you find what you’re looking for here on our site.


The Subtle Difference Between Towing and Recovery Straps

Here at Mytee Products, we sell an extensive list of equipment and supplies used by tow truck operators. Among them are both towing and recovery straps. These straps may look similar in terms of size, color, etc., but they have very different properties. They are designed for different jobs as well.

The average tow operator has both kinds of straps on board. They are used to recover cars from ditches, secure cars to the backs of flatbed trucks, and even tow them with a cradle or tow bar. Straps are incredibly versatile tools that make the job of tow operators easier.

Towing Strap Basics

The first thing to note about towing straps is that they are typically made with polypropylene or Dacron so that they do not stretch. They are also fitted with hooks designed to be attached to predefined towing spots on the vehicle being transported. When used properly, towing straps will keep the vehicle secure during transport.

Tow operators will not use towing straps as their only means of securing a vehicle during transport unless the vehicle is being carried on the back of a flatbed. Otherwise, a cradle or tow bar carries most of the load while towing straps simply secure the vehicle in place. Towing straps can be used to pull a vehicle short distances so that it can be safely mounted on the tow truck.

Recovery Strap Basics

The main difference with recovery straps is the material used to make them. Rather than polypropylene or Dacron, nylon is the preferred material for recovery straps. Why? Because nylon has a bit of elasticity. This property is ideal for vehicle recovery.

Imagine a car that has gone off the interstate and now rests in a low spot in the center median. Using a towing strap to drag that car out of the ditch may work, but there is a real risk of the strap breaking. A recovery strap is what the tow operator needs.

A recovery strap’s nylon material will stretch until it reaches its limit of elasticity. At that point, the natural tendency of the material to want to return to its original, compressed state generates force that, combined with the force being exerted by the winch, helps to drag the vehicle from the ditch. It all happens with minimal risk of breakage.

Recovery efforts tend to put more stress on straps and winches than straight towing. That’s why manufacturers make the two different kinds of straps.

Using Chains for Recovery

Every experienced tow truck operator is fully aware that there are times when the stress of recovery is too great even for nylon recovery straps. The solution is either chain or winch cable. Both offer the superior tensile strength necessary for difficult recovery. The only caveat here is that chains and cables are in no way elastic. Operators have to be very careful about any shock or stress that could cause a chain or cable to snap.

This is where chain grades and working load limits come into play. Tow truck operators should never use anything less than a G70 chain for vehicle recovery. A G80 or G100 would be even better.

We Have Everything You Need

Mytee Products is happy to supply tow truck operators with everything they need for safe vehicle recovery and towing. We have a complete selection of recovery and towing straps, chains of multiple grades, hooks, and other components. If there is something you need that we don’t have, feel free to contact us anyway. We might still be able to get it for you.


Electrified Fencing Tips for Cattle Farmers

Mytee Products sells a variety of products for agricultural operations including fence energizers and fence wire, tape, and braid. Though we are not experts in agriculture, we do know that choosing the right components for an electric fence ultimately determines its effectiveness. We also know there are both right and wrong ways to use the fencing materials we sell.

Experienced cattle farmers already know how to use electrified fencing properly. Anyone new to the cattle game will have to learn on the job. Thankfully, there is no shortage of online resources that farmers can use to figure out what they are doing with their fencing. We can offer a few tips as well.

 

Plan All Your Fencing

The first step in constructing effective fencing is to plan everything. Do not make the mistake of buying your fencing supplies first, then trying to plan around what you purchased. Creating a plan first allows you to come to Mytee Products knowing exactly what you need to make your plan a reality.

Your plan should account for where your fencing will be built, whether it will be permanent or temporary, whether it will be electrified or not, and the total amount of square footage fencing will entail. The total length of any given fence influences electrification.

Choose the Right Voltage

Electrified fences with inadequate voltage will not do much to deter cattle from grazing too closely. Furthermore, the length of the fence will affect voltage. That’s why Mytee Products sells a variety of energizers. The farmer needs energizers that will provide adequate voltage for the entire length of the fence in question. In some cases, multiple energizers are necessary.

Learn Proper Installation Techniques

It is all well and good to properly plan and purchase the right supplies for electrified fencing. Where most cattle farmers fall down is in installation. For example, proper grounding is critical to both fence operation and safety. The farmer should fully understand the fundamentals of fence construction before the project begins.

The farmer who is uncomfortable about attempting a DIY fencing project should not take any chances. A better option is to work with a colleague who already has experience with electrified fences. Where that is impossible, paying for professional installation is worth the cost.

Carry out Routine Maintenance

Last but not least is carrying out routine maintenance on electrified fences. Like anything else, fences are subject to all sorts of harmful things including bad weather, farming equipment, and even large animals that might not be bothered by the fencing.

Energizers should be inspected and tested on a regular basis. After exceptionally bad weather, energizers might even have to be looked at for possible repair. You do not know if you don’t check. We recommend patrolling fence lines and testing energizers at least every few weeks.

Another big part of routine maintenance is fixing breaks. Remember that electrified fencing only works if the circuit that carries power through the fence remains unbroken. Any breaks in a fence line need to be fixed right away. Cattle farmers should also be looking for wear or tear that could lead to a break in the future.

Electrified fencing is a great tool for controlling cattle. When fencing is properly installed and maintained, it actually trains cattle to stay away in much the same way invisible fencing can keep dogs from going outside a specific perimeter. If you are looking to install electrified fencing for your cattle operation, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be more than happy to answer questions about our energizers and other electrified fencing supplies.


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.