Rope may not be the first thing that comes to mind when the average person hears the term “farm equipment.” But anyone with a little experience in agriculture understands the role that rope plays and how important it is to use the right rope for any given farm task. Choosing the best rope helps ensure safety, efficiency, and durability. This article focuses exclusively on ropes from SEACO due to our quality products and diverse selection and delves into the world of agricultural rope and its uses.
Agricultural Uses of Rope
Take a walk around the typical farm, and pay attention to the many ways in which rope is used—from laundry drying on a rope clothesline to packaging and tying down produce heading to market. Stroll through the barn, and you’ll probably see rope livestock halters and rope and pulley systems for lifting and lowering bales of hay. In the fields and orchards, you might see rope of varying sizes used in tree maintenance and to support heavy crops as they grow.
Many farm tasks can present safety hazards if the wrong equipment is used or used improperly or if it is poorly maintained. That goes for rope as well as any other agricultural equipment.
It’s All About Safety
Efficiency and ease of use are important, of course, but safety trumps everything else. Some ropes may snap under a load that’s heavier than the rope’s rated strength. Some ropes are more dynamic (elastic) than others. Some absorb shock better. Some handle heat better. Fraying from abrasion or deterioration from continuous exposure to the elements are common rope issues with safety implications. Selecting a rope with the right performance characteristics for the intended use is paramount for preventing accidental injury.
SEACO rope has a superior safety record. And we offer a wide enough range of ropes that you’ll surely find one that’s ideally suited for your intended use.
The following are important characteristics to be considered in selecting rope for use in agriculture.
The strength of a rope is referred to in several ways:
- Tensile (or breaking) strength—the average strength of a new rope, which is laboratory tested by putting the rope under tension and increasing it until the rope breaks.
- Working load (also called weight capacity or working strength)—a percentage of the tensile strength reflecting the maximum load that will provide a comfortable safety margin before the breaking point is reached.
These measures apply only to new rope in good condition. An older rope that has seen more use, contains splices, or has been exposed to UV light, chemicals, or other adverse conditions should not be regarded as having optimum strength.
At SEACO we use the term “working strength,” defined as the maximum load weight in pounds that will maintain an adequate safety margin.
A rope with at least some degree of elasticity will lengthen when stretched or pulled. When that force is removed, the rope will return to its original length. A rope with “elastic stiffness” resists stretching under load.
Ropes that are vulnerable to the effects of sunlight may show signs of stiffening and surface roughness, as well as a marked decrease in working strength. For example, with prolonged UV exposure UHMWPE fibers can experience a strength reduction of up to 20% in less than a year. This can be a real concern in agricultural use of rope in an outdoor environment.
Rot and Mildew Resistance
Like UV resistance, resistance to rot and mildew is an important property for ropes used outdoors in the elements. Natural fibers are more susceptible to mildew and will eventually rot if not cared for properly. Synthetic fibers are, for the most part, resistant to the effects of prolonged exposure to moisture.
Abrasion resistance is an important characteristic when rope is used in a way in which it rubs against itself or a rough surface. The friction and rasping action in such situations can cause excessive wear that weakens the rope.
Durability is the natural result of choosing the right rope material and rope construction, good rope maintenance, and proper rope use and handling.
Good rope maintenance begins with choosing the right rope—in the right material, size, and strength for the job. It also presupposes proper use of the rope, such as not overloading it, keeping it away from chemicals, not running it over a rough surface, and so on. Proper rope selection and use help ensure safety as well as rope longevity.
Best practices for rope maintenance include:
- Drying rope that has become wet before it is coiled up and stored in a relatively dry place
- Coiling rope in the same direction in which the strands are laid—to the right—and uncoiling it to the left, to prevent kinking and tangling
- Inspecting ropes for signs of exterior or interior wear, looking for “rope dust” and broken fibers
- Prior to splicing rope, soaking the affected section in water to loosen the fibers and make splicing easier
There may be other recommended maintenance practices for specific types of rope.
Recommended Ropes for Agricultural Use
Of course, your farm’s rope needs may not be the same as another’s because agricultural operations vary greatly. For an all-around rope that can serve countless purposes, utility rope is the way to go.
At SEACO, we offer braided utility rope that delivers excellent value. It’s a great all-around rope chosen by many for its strength, lightweight, and durability. It can be used for a wide range of agricultural purposes, from securing tarps or fencing to tying down bales, leading livestock, and more.
Our premium braided utility rope offers further versatility through color variety: black, white, fluorescent pink, fluorescent green, and others. And there are two length choices, 50 feet, and 100 feet, with both lengths sold in hanks for easy handling.
You also have the option of selecting SEACO’s standard braided utility rope, which is strong, durable, lightweight, and economical compared to the premium braided utility rope.
While these braided utility ropes are made from synthetic fibers, manila, and sisal ropes are the most common ropes used in agriculture.
Manila rope is made from the thread-like fibers found in the stalks of the Abaca plant native to the Philippines. The fibers are twisted together, and then the twisted fiber bundles are twisted into rope.
Manila rope is another excellent choice for general utility use. It’s the strongest of all natural fiber ropes. At the same time, its flexibility makes it easy to handle, splice, and knot. Manila rope contracts when wet, and any knots will stiffen dramatically as it does.
When rope is used in hoisting and lifting heavy loads, there is always the risk of it breaking, especially if it hasn’t been used and maintained properly. When synthetic ropes break, they can snap suddenly and whip through the air. Manila rope might fray apart or begin to unravel, but it won’t snap, making it a safer choice for heavy-stress applications.
Environmentally conscious growers favor manila rope for its biodegradability. As a clean and natural product, it’s also non-toxic and appropriate for use around animals.
Sisal rope offers features and advantages similar to those of manila rope, but it’s a more economical choice. Sisal fibers are obtained from the mature leaves of the agave sisalana plant, which is native to Central America. After processing, the sisal fibers are twisted into rope.
Sisal rope is natural, strong (though not quite as strong as manila rope), absorbent, heat resistant, and affordable. It has minimal stretch, which makes it good for bundling items or tying down a load. It’s also a good choice for typing vines and plants, creating compost piles, or securing bales. Most of our binder twine is made of sisal.
And like manila rope, sisal is biodegradable and animal-friendly.
Double Braid Polyester Rope
Of all the synthetic ropes, double braid polyester rope is probably the most commonly used in agriculture. It’s among the strongest ropes SEACO offers, with a working strength of up to 35,000 pounds for the largest diameter—more than sufficient for such tasks as towing farm equipment or hay wagons.
For all its ruggedness, double braid polyester rope is surprisingly easy to work with. It resists abrasion and weather damage and can be wound and unwound easily without kinking.
Specialized Ropes for Agriculture
- Arborist Rope—Used in tree maintenance by farmers with orchards, tree nurseries, or fields bordered by trees. Arborist rope is designed for climbing safety, rigging capability, and affordability. It’s made of 48 strands of high tenacity polyester with a high tenacity nylon core for added strength. [Arborist Rope for Agriculture]
- Polypropylene Rope—For greenhouse use, securing silage covers, or animal tethering. Polypropylene rope is lightweight, waterproof, and affordable. It knots and splices easily, floats, is resistant to oil, mildew and rot, and can be stored wet or dry. SEACO offers polypropylene rope in a wide range of sizes, lengths, and colors, including fluorescent colors for applications in which high visibility is desired. [Polypropylene rope for Agriculture]
Buy Rope for Agricultural and Farm Work From SEACO Today
Selecting the right rope for use in an agricultural setting rests on considering:
- The intended use of the rope
- Onsite environmental and weather conditions
- The rope features and capabilities needed
- Your budget for the rope purchase
As a leading rope manufacturer, SEACO Industries offers a broad selection of premium rope, twine, and cordage products. Visit our large online inventory, and get in touch with us right away for further details or assistance in choosing the best rope(s) for your agricultural operation.
You can find our products in retail stores nationwide. We’re thrilled to be expanding our line in the shape of hanks and coilettes, bringing our trusted rope solutions directly to hardware, lumber, entertainment, building, industrial stores and more. Watch out for our eye-catching displays. Or you can order in bulk directly from us or through our dealer network, with same-day dispatch from strategically placed warehouses across the United States and Canada.