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.
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.