More from: hay tarps

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

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.


Applying Hay Tarps in Colder Weather

If old man winter were an actual person, he might be nice enough to warn you of what he has planned over the next several months. He might ask farmers if they have enough hay tarps to protect what they plan to store. In truth, old man winter cannot ask questions, but we can. So, how are you looking for hay tarps?

The thing about hay tarps is that getting them in place as early as possible works to your advantage. It is a lot easier to properly deploy a tarp in warmer, drier weather than it is in the middle of that first winter storm. Therefore, it also works to your advantage to recognize the signs of the weather to come early enough to get those tarps in place.

Life in the Old Days

Long before there was an internet, cellphones, and all the other comforts of modern life, farmers looked for natural signs that winter was coming. They paid attention to the thickness of the coats of their livestock, knowing that those coats would fluff out as winter weather approached. They paid attention to migrating birds and foraging animals like squirrels who were busy stockpiling their winter food.

At the earliest signs of the approaching winter, farmers knew they had to get their hay in from the field. Out came the wagons and horses for a multi-day marathon of bailing, transporting, and stacking. Then all that hay had to be covered with some sort of protection.

Today, life is a lot easier. We have tractors to bring hay in from the field. We have advanced weather equipment that more accurately predicts when winter weather is coming. And, of course, there is the internet. Farmers can order their hay tarps online and have them delivered right to their doors. The convenience of modern life makes it a lot easier to protect a crop from moisture, mold, and pests.

Cover That Hay Now

The calendar has turned to November and the holiday season is fast approaching. That means the time for planning has long since passed. Now is the time to put those plans in motion and the time to get that hay covered.

Remember that the biggest enemies of hay at this time of year are pests and precipitation. Hay tarps alone may not be enough to keep the pests out, so you will have to look at other solutions for that. But well-deployed tarps held down with strong ropes and anchor points should be enough to keep the precipitation away from your crop.

There are lots of different methods for stacking hay prior to being covered. One of the more common methods is the A-frame. An A-frame stack is usually 3 to 4 bales high with a single row at the top to create a peak. You then throw your hay tarps over the stack and secure them to anchor points that you have driven into the ground. The resulting frame helps snow and rain run off rather than pooling.

Regardless of your stacking method, make sure your hay tarps extend over the edge of the stack far enough to allow moisture to fall away from the hay. If you run your tarps right down the side of the stack, you are inviting precipitation to pool at the base, which is to defeat the purpose of tarping.

Old man winter is knocking. If you are a farmer, he’s asking whether your hay tarps are ready. If you are not ready for winter, don’t delay. Order your hay tarps from Mytee Products today.

Basic Principles of Hay Tarp Safety

While conducting a brief review of past blog posts, it occurred to us that it would be a good idea to share safety tips involving hay tarps. We talk a lot about trucker safety for cargo control, but apparently the topic of hay tarp safety hasn’t been addressed. This post aims to change that.

It is important to start an ongoing discussion centered around using hay tarps safely, beginning with this post covering a few basic principles. We may produce future posts that get into more advanced principles for hay stacking, tarping, and moisture control.

If you are looking for a way to protect your hay without using a barn or storage shed, Mytee Products has several options to choose from. We carry a full line of hay tarps along with temporary storage structures made with galvanized steel pipe and heavy-duty PE fabric.

And now, on to the basic principles of hay tarp safety.

Principle #1: Limit the Size of Your Stacks

We never cease explaining to truckers how dangerous it is to walk on the top of a load to secure tarps. In fact, we recommend avoiding the practice if at all possible. The same applies to stacks of hay. Every new layer you add to a stack also adds height. If your stacks are too high, you may find you have to climb on top in order to properly secure tarps. Remember: with height comes increased danger in the event of a fall.

It is best to limit your stacks to 10 or 12 feet, at the most. If you do have to climb on top, make sure you use an extension ladder long enough to elevate you above the top of the stack as you climb on. Attempting to get on top of a stack using a stepladder is just not wise.

Principle #2: Don’t Tarp Under Windy Conditions

Avoid attempting to deploy tarps on windy days. Hay growers, like truck drivers, sustain a good number of their tarp-related injuries as a result of wind catching tarps. If you absolutely must deploy a tarp on a windy day, make sure you stand up wind of your haystack. Then, if the wind does catch the tarp, it will blow away from you instead of against you.

Principle #3: Get Help When Tarping

Hey tarps are a lot heavier than you might think. Therefore, do yourself a favor and get help when you are ready to cover your hay. There is no need to be a hero by trying to tarp yourself. Being a hero could result in a hernia, a back injury, or something worse.

Principle #4: Wear Protective Gear

You will most likely be using straps or bungee cords to secure your tarps. As such, you should wear head and eye protection. You never know when something could snap back and strike you with enough force to knock you on your backside. The last thing you need is a head or eye injury.

Principle #5: Check Grommets before Deploying

With the exception of damaged seams, the weakest link on any hay tarp is its grommets. You can go a long way toward remaining safe by inspecting every grommet prior to deployment. If a grommet appears even slightly damaged or loose, do not use it. Either get the tarp fixed or work around the grommet in question.

At Mytee Products, we firmly believe in the safety-first mindset. We encourage our hay tarp customers to use the utmost care when covering hay stacks this fall. Your hay can be replaced; you cannot be.