More from: moisture tester

Hay Storage Options for the New Season

We are now well into the start of the summer season. That means hay growers around the country are already looking at the first harvest. Now is the time to start thinking about storage options for the 2018 season. How growers store their hay partly determines what kinds of losses they will experience as a result of the forces of nature. As always, moisture is a crucial factor.

We sell a variety of moisture testers that make it easier for growers to achieve that perfect balance that minimizes hay losses. But a moisture tester alone will not do the trick. Growers also need to use a bit of common sense when it comes to storage. Whether hay is stored in the field or brought into a covered area, it has to be protected against both drying out and excessive moisture.

Storing Hay in the Field

The least expensive and labor-intense way to store hay is to leave it in the field as rolled bales. This method is actually pretty common for the first crop of the year. In climates where three crops are grown, the second crop may also be left in the field. Field storage is fast and easy, too.

One of the big dangers of storing in the field is losing too much of the crop to dry matter loss. However, dry matter loss is easily controlled by getting hay up off the ground. Allowing hay to remain in contact with the ground can lead to losses of up to 30% or more under normal circumstances. Fortunately, breaking contact between hay bale and the ground is not difficult. Growers can roll finished bales onto pallets, blocks, or even tarps. Another option is to store hay on a layer of gravel.

Storing hay in the field also exposes it to precipitation, and that is where a good moisture tester becomes important. Hay allowed to get too wet is subject to both spoilage and spontaneous combustion. Throwing a temporary hay tarp over exposed bales might be necessary if the weather turns especially ugly and stays that way for a while.

Storing Hay Under Cover

Bringing hay out of the field to store it under cover is generally considered the best way to protect a crop and minimize losses. But it is also expensive if you don’t already have a structure in place. Building a barn is not an option for a lot of growers, many of whom turn to temporary storage buildings like the ones we sell.

Another option for bringing hay out of the field is to stack it in large quantities and then cover the entire stack with tarps. This is a strategy mainly used for the last crop of the year; it’s impractical for the first crop of spring. That hay needs to be easily accessible for both sale and use by the grower.

Even hay stored indoors is subject to volatile moisture levels. So again, keeping the crop off the ground is a wise idea. Pallets, blocks, and even used tractor tires are excellent storage options for getting hay elevated. The goal is to allow circulation under the hay so as not to allow mold to grow.

Determining the Best Option

Experts recommend using a cost analysis reckoning to determine the most suitable option for early-season hay. In other words, determine how much it would cost per bale to implement your chosen storage solution. Take that number and compare it against the expected losses for that solution. Choose the solution that is most financially viable for you.


Hay, Moisture Testing, and Drought Conditions

Imagine being a hay farmer trying to survive under drought conditions. When there’s ample rain, farmers can get at least two cuttings per year and sometimes three. Then their biggest concern is making sure moisture content isn’t too high. But under drought conditions, moisture content is the least of their concerns.

A farmer who buys one of our moisture testers uses it to make sure stored hay does not get too moist or too dry. Moisture content is important to the quality of the hay and, subsequently, the satisfaction of the customer who buys it. But under drought conditions, everything changes. If farmers don’t get enough rain, they can’t even grow a decent crop to begin with.

That appears to be the case in Southwest Colorado this spring. The late winter and spring have been so dry that some farmers have already decided to do just one cutting this year. Some vegetable producers are only working an eighth of their land while cattle producers are reducing the size of their herds for lack of water. It is not a good situation.

Two Ways Around Drought

Drought is nothing new in agriculture. Indeed, some of the longest running family operations in the country have made a practice of planning for drought for hundreds of years. So what can they do, exactly? There are a couple of possibilities, beginning with field irrigation.

Irrigating fields is one way to get around mild to moderate drought conditions. It doesn’t necessarily need to rain as long as the irrigation system is working. But even this method has it downsides. For instance, what do you do after several years of persistent drought leading to water rationing?

Another option is to rotate fields. Field rotation used to be a common practice in the days before large-scale, commercial agriculture. Today though, not a lot of farmers practice it. They really should.

Consider the case of Montana farmer Ray Bannister who operates a 250-head ranch near the town of Wibaux. He began rotating his fields more than 20 years ago and has never had a problem producing hay – even under drought conditions. Bannister explains that allowing a field to rest for one year produces of bountiful crop the next. So that’s what he does.

His hay fields are rested every other year. As for the grazing field, he allows the cattle to severely graze before letting the field rest for 23 months. Bannister says that in the decades he’s been practicing field rotation, he’s never had a problem growing hay or having adequate grazing fields.

When the Hay Does Grow

The farmers in Southwest Colorado will hopefully get at least one hay cutting this year. And when that cutting comes, they will still have to pay attention to moisture content. This year, the biggest challenge will be making sure hay doesn’t dry out. That’s where one of our moisture testers comes into play.

A hay moisture tester consists of an electrified rod and a meter. You insert the rod into a bale of hay and turn the power on. The rod sends electrical current through the hay and receives it on its return. Moisture levels are measured based on the level of resistance to that current.

For the record, we also carry a variety of grain testers. Regardless of whether you are farming hay or corn, you know how critical moisture content is to the finished product. Don’t leave your crop to chance by guessing on its moisture level. Invest in a new moisture tester and know for sure what you’re dealing with.

 


How Do Hay Moisture Testers Work?

A farmer goes out to the barn with a moisture tester in hand. He chooses a bale, inserts the probe, and pushes a button. Almost instantly a number appears on the moisture tester’s LCD screen. The farmer knows right away whether the moisture level in his hay is acceptable or not.

That’s all well and good, but how does it work? How can a single probe measure the amount of water in a bale of hay? If you have ever wanted to know how moisture testers work, this blog post is your answer. Here we explain the basic principles of testing all sorts of grasses and grains for moisture content.

Moisture Content and Density

The first thing to know is that measuring moisture content relies on the principle of density. It is not like bales of hay are dripping with so much water that it can be collected and measured in a beaker. The moisture content is so low that you cannot see it. In some cases, you can’t even feel it. Therefore, measuring moisture relies on measuring the density of the product.

The more water in a bale of hay, the denser that bale is. The opposite is also true. So hay moisture testers are not really looking for water they can measure. They are simply measuring density. Moisture content can be extrapolated from that density measurement.

The tricky part about this is that different grains and grasses have different natural densities. This is why a moisture tester designed for hay isn’t appropriate for grains or coffee. It is why you cannot chop up a small amount of hay and effectively test it using a grain tester. You have to use a tester appropriate to the product you’re trying to measure.

Measuring Product Density

So, how does a moisture tester actually measure density? By sending electrical current throughout the product and then measuring it when it comes back. Bear in mind that water conducts electricity very nicely. So does air, but not nearly as well as water.

The probe typical of a hay moisture tester actually consists of two components. One discharges the electrical current while the other receives it. This creates a complete circuit that can be measured by the tester’s internal components. The amount of resistance in that circuit determines the density of the product.

A bale of hay with a higher moisture content will present less resistance due to the conductive properties of water. The dryer bale will present more resistance. That’s really all there is to it. Moisture content is extrapolated based on density, and density is measured according to the amount of electrical resistance in the hay.

Multiple Readings for Accuracy

While all of this may sound very scientific, note that readings vary based on how loosely baled the hay is. Accounting for such variations is a matter of taking multiple readings. That’s why you’ll see a farmer test multiple locations of a single bale, then test multiple bales in the stack. The idea is to get numerous readings that can be averaged together.

Even after all those measurements have been taken, a grower’s intuition plays a big role in understanding moisture content. Even the most accurate readings may not necessarily tell the whole truth. So farmers rely on a combination of measurements and their own knowledge and experience.

Now you know how moisture testers work. If you need a new tester for hay, grain, or coffee, we hope you will consider what Mytee Products has to offer. Our range of moisture tester products includes a number of different choices at competitive prices.


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.