Automated Truck Washing to Improve Farm Biosecurity

CANADA - The general manager of Sask Pork is confident automating the washing and disinfecting of the trucks that haul livestock will improve biosecurity while cutting costs and speeding up the process, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 February 2015
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As part of research being conducted in partnership with Swine Innovation Porc, the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, the University of Saskatchewan and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute are exploring the potential of automating the washing and disinfecting of livestock trucks and trailers.

Sask Pork general manager Neil Ketilson says the goal is to create a system that will wash and disinfect in under two hours for under C$250.

Neil Ketilson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:

PED is a relatively new disease that's hit the United States and we're trying to keep it out of Canada.
We think that one of the vectors for the spread of the disease would be transportation, and so what we would like to do, and what the whole proposal behind this automation is to remove a lot of the human element of ongoing washing and disinfection and testing of these machines so we that have a very consistent standardized way of doing it that is relatively easy and really we don't involve a lot of people so that it becomes a very routine function.

I think the important thing in this whole research is that we would like to automate the system so that producers could be confident that they're going to get a clean truck, that the truckers would be more willing and it's easier for them to haul cattle because, quite frankly, if they run through an automated system they can go for coffee while their truck is being cleaned.

For the rest of the industry I think it's a huge benefit in controlling disease or at least eliminating the transportation portion of it.

Mr Ketilson is confident an automated system will enhance the opportunity to get a clean wash that's relatively easy and hopefully inexpensive.

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