More from: hay tarps

Moisture Testers – Because Hay Needs Preserving

Mytee Products was built on selling truck tarps and other cargo control supplies to flatbed truckers. Over the years though, we have expanded our inventory to include products like moisture testers, hay tarps, and temporary storage buildings for growers and cattle owners.

When our non-agricultural customers ask us why we sell these things, the answer is simple: hay needs preserving. Cutting and baling hay seems like a simple thing to the uninitiated. It’s really not. For starters, a moisture level should ideally be under 20% before harvesting. Otherwise, microbes and bacteria will easily thrive in bale hay. Thus, the need for moisture testers.

A moisture tester works by sending electrical current through the hay. The speed at which the current returns to the tester will be affected by the moisture level in the hay. The technology is actually pretty simple. Having said that, moisture testers are even more critical today due to all the hybrids growers are working with. They can no longer rely on visual cues to determine moisture content.

When Hay Is Too Wet

Hay preservation is all about maintaining high-quality. Growers ideally want to sell a product that retains high nutritional value with very little crop loss as a result of mold and bacteria growth. Moisture levels are a major player in hay preservation. There are several reasons for this.

Hay that is too wet is a haven for mold and mildew. This is obviously not good for the farmer and rancher intending to feed the hay to cattle. Just a little bit of mold and mildew can ruin an entire bale. That says nothing of the various kinds of microbes and bacteria that normally grow in hay bales.

High moisture content allows these microbes and bacteria to thrive. When that happens, the microbes and bacteria generate heat. This is bad for two reasons. First, excess heat in bale hay ultimately ends up reducing its nutritional value by breaking down the hay over time. Buyers don’t want this for obvious reasons.

The other problem with heat is that it can cause spontaneous combustion. That’s right, the stories you’ve heard about bale hay burning on its own are absolutely real. As microbes and bacteria generate heat, the internal temperature of the bale increases. Hay deep within the bale can begin smoldering without anyone knowing it. That smoldering can continue for days until it finally erupts in an uncontrollable fire.

The Use of Hay Preservatives

One way to enhance hay preservation is to use preservatives. One of the more popular preservatives is something known as propionic acid. Before being used as a hay preservative, the acid is buffered in order to get its pH level as close to neutral as possible. That ostensibly makes it safe for animals. However, not everyone agrees that using propionic acid is a good idea.

Whether or not hay preservatives are your thing, getting moisture content correct is still the best method for preserving hay. Continually measuring moisture content in the weeks leading up to harvest is a good starting point. After that, it’s all about quickly baling and getting the hay undercover as quickly as possible. That’s why we sell hay tarps and temporary storage buildings, by the way.

Hay needs preserving if it is going to supply farmers and ranchers what they need through the winter. We are doing our part to promote hay preservation by supplying our customers with moisture testers, tarps, and temporary storage buildings. Everything you need to store and preserve your hay can be found here on our website.


Mytee Products Expanding Our Moisture Tester Line

If you have previously browsed our selection of agricultural products you’ve probably viewed our selection of hay moisture testers.We are proud to say that we have expanded our tester line to include moisture testers for both grain and coffee. We have added a few additional products to this category as well.

Our goal is to be one of the first suppliers you think of when you need agricultural products ranging from moisture testers to hay tarps and temporary storage buildings. So if you ever have need of something we do not carry, please contact us and let us know. We are always looking for new items that we can add to our agricultural products inventory. With all of that out of the way, let’s look at moisture testers.

Hay Testers

Moisture content is more critical for hay than most people realize. A person who has no knowledge of hay farming may drive down the country road and think nothing of the bales waiting in the field to be retrieved. To them, it is just grass compacted into a rectangular or circular shape. To the farmer though, those bales represent income.

Moisture can affect income by spoiling a crop. Farmers expect some amount of loss due to moisture, but they try to mitigate losses as much as possible. The moisture tester is an important part of that effort. Simply by inserting a rod into a bale of hay, a farmer can instantly know whether the moisture content of that bale is too high or low. Then adjustments can be made accordingly.

Wise farmers routinely check moisture levels, at least several times during a given storage season. The more often, the better. We are thrilled to be able to give them a number of different moisture tester choices.

Grain Testers

Moisture level is just as important to grain growers, but for a different reason. Where hay growers are more worried about moisture content during storage periods, farmers who raise grains use moisture content to determine when it’s time to harvest. The only challenge is deciding what constitutes optimal moisture levels.

Farmers, researchers, and biologists have been arguing over grain moisture content for decades. We are getting closer to the answers as time goes by, but a lot of what goes into determining optimal moisture content is really an art perfected by the growers themselves. That’s why our grain testers are so important to them. They know what kind of moisture content they are looking for to initiate harvest. Our testers are merely tools to tell them when that moisture level has been reached.

Coffee Testers

Coffee may not necessarily be a cash crop in this country, but it still produces quite a bit of income for the growers who specialize in it. For them, moisture content signals bean maturity. This is important because moisture content also determines how a bean will be roasted, the amount of weight loss beans will undergo during the roasting process, and the quality of the finished product.

Our coffee testers tell growers everything they need to know about bean moisture content before they harvest, roast, and ship. If we can help coffee growers get it right when measuring both green and parchment beans, then we are happy to do so.

Mytee Products is working hard to find the right kinds of agricultural products to add to our inventory. We have grown our selection of moisture testers from just a few testers for hay to a much more comprehensive line that includes hay, grain, and coffee. Keep checking back to see what’s new in this category.


5 Things Cattle Ranchers Can Buy from Us

Here at Mytee Products, we are not normally known as a supplier of the kinds of products cattle ranchers need to keep their operations going. We certainly are no complete tractor supply store by any means, but we do carry a number of products that we know are important to ranchers. In this post, you will learn about five such products.

Rest assured you can always contact us if you have questions about the things you see on our website. We are as committed to our agricultural customer as we are the trucking industry. Anything we can do to support your operation, within the scope of our own business model, is worth doing.

1. Hay Tarps

Tarps are really what started it all for Mytee Products. But our inventory is not restricted only to truck tarps. We also carry hay tarps perfect for agricultural operations. Cattle ranchers use them to cover their hay during the late autumn and winter seasons, knowing how much damage moisture and bad weather can do to their feed.

We carry hay tarps for as low as $125 apiece. Ranchers can also purchase spiral anchor pins to go along with their tarps. Hay tarps are the next best thing for protecting hay in the absence of a barn or some other kind of permanent structure. And that leads us to our next item.

2. Temporary Storage Buildings

Our durable and high-quality portable storage buildings make great structures for a multitude of purposes. Ranchers can use them to store hay, cover equipment, or even as a portable pen to keep cattle out of the weather. Our inventory includes several assorted sizes and configurations to meet a variety of needs.

The smallest is an 8′ x 12′ storage shed, while the largest is a whopping 30′ x 65′ unit specifically designed for hay storage. Each of the units is easy to set up and take down with a minimal amount of effort and hand tools required.

3. Moisture Testers

As long as we are talking about protecting hay, let’s talk moisture testers. A good moisture tester could mean the difference between preserving a crop of hay and watching it go bad due to excess moisture. It is critical that cattle ranchers pay attention to their hay throughout the winter months if they expect to have enough feed to make it through until spring. A good moisture tester is part of that effort. Fortunately, we now have nearly a dozen models for our customers to choose from.

4. Fencing Material and Energizers

Keeping cattle inside designated areas is the job of electrified fencing. Yes, you can purchase fencing material and energizers directly from Mytee Products. We carry both wire and energizers for easy configuration of any size fence. Moreover, we have two different solar-powered energizers for those areas where mains power is not available.

5. Wagon and Tractor Tires

Just because cattle ranchers are raising crops does not mean they don’t use tractors and wagons, so we are here with a good selection of tires to keep their vehicles going. All our tires come from manufacturers that farmers have come to know and trust, including Carlisle and BKT.

Mytee Products may be known more for the trucking and towing-related products we stock, but we are equally committed to supporting the agricultural industry as much as we can. If you are a cattle rancher, we hope you will consider us as your main supplier of the items listed above. We hope to be able to expand our inventory in the future to better serve your needs.


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.


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.