Swine Transport Trailer Redesign Needed to Improve Biosecurity

CANADA - A Professor in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Engineering says a redesign of swine transport trailers is ultimately needed to make them easier and more economical to clean, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 November 2016
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As part of a project being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Pork the University of Saskatchewan, the Prairie Swine Centre, VIDO-InterVac and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute are working to reduce the time it takes and the costs associated with washing and disinfecting swine transportation equipment and ultimately automating the system.

Dr Terry Fonstad, a Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, says a study conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre, which looked at swine transport trailers from a an animal husbandry and cleanability standpoint, found that many of the trailers used to move swine are retrofitted cattle trailers and, while they do work, they are really hard to clean.

Dr Terry Fonstad-University of Saskatchewan:

You're dealing with bacteria and viruses and bacteria are a micron in diameter so you're talking about something that can put a thousand of them along the edge of a dime.

A dime is about a millimeter thick, a thousand microns makes a millimeter so you're talking about something very very very small and so even doing the best job you possibly can to clean the trailer, you need to inactivate the pathogens of concern and it's that inactivation or disinfection of the trailer after you've cleaned it that is probably the biggest challenge.

Things can hide in all kinds of cracks and pieces and you get it as clean as you can but you hit a bump and a little piece comes from behind a light or something and you've got a problem and so it's that making sure that trailers are disinfected or, as we've been putting it, pathogens of interest are inactivated.

Dr Fonstad says the current challenge is to design a system to clean the trailers in use now but ultimately we need to work with the trailer manufacturers and the industry to build trailers that are more conducive to biosecurity.

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