More from: moisture tester

Here’s the #1 Reason We Sell Moisture Testers

Mytee Products was built around the idea of selling cargo control supplies to flatbed truckers. We started with basics like truck tarps, chains, webbing straps, and the like. We eventually expanded into other kinds of tarps along with truck tires and trailer equipment. But today, our inventory also includes agriculture supplies. Moisture testers are a good example.

You might think it odd for a company like ours to sell moisture testers. That’s fine. We want you to know why we do it. We think there is a lot of value in offering local farmers a couple of key items they can easily get through us rather than having to send away for them.

With that said, let us get back to the main point: why we sell moisture testers. The number one reason for doing so is encapsulated in a sobering article published by the Abilene-RC.com website in early November (2018). The headline of the article is Mold in Corn Causing Livestock Deaths. That about says it all.

Fumonisin Mycotoxin Killing Animals

A mycotoxin is a secondary substance produced by various kinds of fungus. Mycotoxins in an agricultural setting are almost always a threat to animal health; often times they are deadly. Such is the case with the fumonisin mycotoxin. It has been wreaking havoc in Dickson County, Kansas in recent weeks.

According to the article, both horses and swine in north-central Kansas have fallen victim to the mycotoxin. Rabbits have been affected as well. Where is this mycotoxin coming from? Mold growing within local plant life. They believe the particular problem in Kansas has to do with moldy corn.

If the mold manages to grow in the plant portion of the corn, it can eventually attach itself to the kernels as well. This is normally not a problem at harvest time as long as moisture levels are controlled. But if the corn is allowed to retain too much moisture, the mold grows, multiplies, and starts releasing the fumonisin mycotoxin.

Conditions in north-central Kansas are perfect for fumonisin problems right now. Unfortunately, the local area had a very wet autumn in concert with a spring that saw normal rainfall. The weather produced ideal conditions for mold to grow.

Hay Can Experience Similar Problems

Mytee Products sells a number of moisture testers for both grain and hay testing. Although hay was not mentioned in the Abilene-RC.com article, it is subject to similar kinds of problems. Hay with too much moisture can easily promote mold growth throughout an entire winter season of storage. That mold can result in exposure to at least half-a-dozen different mycotoxins that can have varying effects on cattle.

Some of the mycotoxins associated with most hay produce little more than the animal equivalent of allergies or the common cold. But others can be quite debilitating – or even deadly. We advocate for the regular use of moisture testers for this very reason. It is imperative that proper moisture levels be maintained while hay is in storage. Otherwise, the lives of animals could be at risk.

We get that farmers long relied on experience and intuition in the days before moisture testers existed. We certainly appreciate that as well. But the modern moisture tester represents technology capable of giving farmers a very accurate reading. Why not make full use of it? A moisture tester could mean the difference between preventing mycotoxin exposure or standing by while animals get sick.

 


Horse Owners Are Picky About Hay Moisture Too

Hay stored by growers this winter will be used to feed both cattle and horses alike. Often times, discussions surrounding hay moisture levels are focused squarely on cattle and their needs. And yet horses are also affected by moisture levels. Suffice it to say that horse owners are picky about the hay they purchase.

Numerous factors ranging from moisture levels to storage practices can affect the quality, nutritional value, and safety of stored hay. Where horses are concerned, there are a number of molds that can be problematic. Here is just a short sampling of four of them:

Aspergillus – A health condition associated with this kind of mold can be quite harmful to older horses, younger horses, and animals with compromised immune systems. The spores of the aspergillus mold get into the lungs before spreading to other parts of the body. They can affect the heart, kidneys, blood, skin, and eyes.

Fusarium – The fusarium mold can cause respiratory distress and colic. More importantly, the mold can produce mycotoxins that could present acute problems for horses. This is a mold that horse owners definitely want to avoid.

Penicillium – The penicillium mold is the same mold from which we derive penicillin. It is also what produces blue cheese. Unfortunately, the mycotoxins it produces can be very problematic for horses. They can cause allergic reactions including irritation to the lungs, skin, and digestive tract.

Rhizopus – This mold is actually pretty common. It is responsible for bread mold, among other things. It can cause respiratory and digestive tract infections in horses.

Preventing Mold Growth in Hay

The best way to stop mold from growing in hay stores is to control both moisture and storage environments. We will begin with moisture levels. Experts recommend that hay intended for horses be harvested somewhere between 12% and 14%. Slightly lower is okay too. Once harvested, growers should be using electronic moisture testers to check on moisture levels on a regular basis.

Properly stored hay is easier to handle in terms of maintaining moisture levels. Hay should be stored in a dry, well ventilated area with plenty of room between bales for air to circulate. Bales should be kept away from direct contact with the ground. Mytee Products offers a number of effective storage solutions ranging from hay tarps to temporary storage structures.

Inspecting Hay Prior to Feeding

Growers can do all the right things to guarantee good moisture levels and proper hay storage and yet still have trouble. Buyers can cause their own troubles by not storing hay properly. In either case, experts recommend that horse owners thoroughly inspect hay before feeding it to their animals.

Owners should be breaking open baled hay and checking for mold growth inside. It is possible for bales to look completely fine on the outside but still be riddled with mold internally. They should also be smelling their hay prior to feeding. Odors can go a long way toward determining whether mold is present or not.

Hay that does not smell right is probably suspect. Experts recommend paying attention to a dusty or musty smell. Any such smell is sufficient evidence to suggest that hay could make a horse sick.

It is that time of year again when horse owners start looking for the hay that will feed their animals through spring. Smart growers will protect both their sales and their crops by maintaining proper moisture levels and in adhering to solid hay storage practices. If you are a grower in need of a moisture tester or storage solutions, Mytee Products has what you need.


Selling Hay: 4 Things Affected by Moisture Levels

With the final crop of hay for the 2018 season now behind us, the interest to think about hay and moisture testers  tends to be on the lower side. Even so, that does not diminish the need to be proactive about maintaining moisture levels. Moisture affects stored hay in ways that can prevent a grower from selling his or her crop over the winter.

Buyers want hay for their cattle and horses. Growers should know that the animals that will feed on their hay are as important to buyers as the hay is to them. As such, they should also expect buyers to be picky. They want the highest quality product at the lowest possible price.

Below is a short list of four things buyers look for when choosing a hay supplier. All four are affected by hay moisture levels. So just as a reminder, make sure you have a working moisture tester on hand throughout the winter months. Do not ignore moisture levels. If you do, you may not be able to sell as much product as you had hoped.

Supplier Quantity

Whether a buyer works with one supplier or many, he or she wants to know that the quality is there to support his/her animals until spring. Why does this matter to a grower? Because the last thing a grower wants is to promise buyers a certain quantity of hay only to discover he/she cannot deliver. Not delivering promised quantities is a fast way to lose customers.

Your average grower promises a certain amount based on current storage minus expected loss. But the grower also has to take care of his/her hay to ensure that losses don’t exceed the norm. Routinely checking moisture levels is a big part of that.

Supplier Reserve

Buyers typically expect to use a given amount of hay over the winter months. But they may have their own storage issues. Realizing that there’s always the potential for more loss than anticipated, buyers look for suppliers who have enough reserve to meet supplemental needs down the road.

Growers can encourage buyers to have their own hay moisture testers, store their hay in a dry place, etc., but having a reserve supply on hand helps in a big way. Buyers who know they can count on their suppliers for supplemental shipments in the event of shortfall quickly become loyal customers.

Hay Quality

This should be a given. Buyers don’t want to see excess mold growth when they break open a new bale. They don’t want to see hay that is so wet that it promotes bacteria, algae, etc. They don’t want to see bales that are so dry that they likely lack nutritional value. And that, by the way, takes us to the last item.

Nutritional Value

Both cattle and horses alike have specific nutritional needs. Buyers are looking for good quality hay with the right nutritional value to carry their animals through the winter. They will add to the animals’ diets with nutritional supplements if necessary, but buyers would rather not have to do that. They want good quality hay with its full nutritional value intact.

Both hay quality and nutritional value are impacted by moisture. Hay that is too dry tends to not be as nutritious; in some cases, excessively dry hay may offer very little nutritional value at all. Animals can eat to their hearts content and still lose weight.

With winter approaching, hay moisture levels are critical for a successful selling season. If you don’t have a working moisture tester on hand, now is the time to get one.


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.


Tips for Preparing to Install a Hay Storage Building

Throughout most of the spring and summer, we have featured a number of blog posts talking about hay moisture testers and electrified fencing. With the end of summer fast approaching, it is time to get ready for the fall and winter seasons. That means making plans for winter hay storage. One of our temporary hay storage buildings could be the solution you have been looking for.

We sell multiple sizes of storage buildings made with heavy-duty PVC fabric and galvanized steel framing. The advantage of using one of these temporary buildings as opposed to building a new barn is flexibility. Of course, lower costs are a big advantage as well. At any rate, it helps to start making preparations for installation now while the weather is still cooperative.

Carefully Choose Your Site

The first preparation tip is one of choosing your site carefully. The amount of protection your temporary hay storage building offers will be in direct relation to the site you choose. The idea is to choose a site that minimizes the chances of something going wrong. Here are some of the most important considerations:

Power Lines – Falling power lines could cause a lot of problems for your temporary storage building. As such, choose a site that is far enough away from power lines to be unaffected if weather brings them down.

Snow Drifts – You know from experience where snow tends to accumulate on your property. It is best to avoid a location that could encourage snow drifts to accumulate along the sides or on top of the building. Snow on top is especially troubling because it adds weight.

Overhead Threats – Also make sure to choose a site free of overhead threats like large tree branches or ice dams that may fall off a nearby home or barn.

Underground Utilities – Lastly, you will be driving anchors into the ground to hold your temporary storage building in place. Choose a site you know is free from underground cables and pipes. If you are not sure where cables and pipes are located on your property, call your local utilities and ask them to come out and mark locations for you.

Site Preparation

Once you have chosen a good site, you need to prepare it for installation. If the site is not already level, start the preparation process by addressing this. A level site is important so that moisture does not collect at one end of the structure, thereby spoiling some of your crop.

If necessary, dig some trenches to provide a bit of drainage underneath the crop. If you plan to install the building on top of a concrete pad, digging trenches will not be possible. You can accomplish the same thing by stacking your hay on top of pallets. That way, any moisture underneath will be kept away from the hay.

If you need to drill anchor holes, now is the time to do it. Drill your holes and insert anchors into them to keep them from closing back up between now and installation day.

Lastly, clear out debris, equipment, and anything else that might act as a hindrance to installation. Plan on a clear area of 15 to 20 feet around the entire perimeter of the site. You do not want to waste time and effort moving things on the day of installation.

If you are thinking of installing a hay storage building in anticipation of the coming winter, now is the time to start making plans. It is already mid-August. Cold temperatures and snowflakes are just a couple of months away.