Researchers in Saskatchewan have developed equipment that can clean hog transport trailers with less time and water.
However, it only works well on floors.
“We believe that the system we are proposing is not an ultimate solution, but it certainly represents a good solution to better handle biosecurity concerns,” said Hubert Landry, research scientist with the Prairie Agriculture Machinery Institute (PAMI).
PAMI has been working in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan’s college of engineering to develop the hydrovac system.
Funding for the project was received in early 2015 through the Swine Innovation Centre and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
“Given the PED crisis, the industry wants to move rather quickly on these kinds of studies. We are also making sure to work with as many stakeholders as possible as there are other initiatives ongoing,” said Landry.
The current protocol for cleaning livestock trailers involves removing material, a flood wash, a pressure wash, sanitization and drying.
Landy says it can take a worker four to 12 hours to do the job.
PAMI has completed the first phase of the project, where it worked with a prototype to clean the floors of a straight, 53-foot, two-level trailer.
“With our trials we did not clean entire trailers, we focused on the floor surfaces, conducted a time trial and extrapolated the results,” said Landry.
“Within those assumptions, cleaning the floors of that straight trailer requires about 40 minutes. Obviously there is a need to look after the walls and ceiling but we are still looking at significant time savings.”
Landry said the cleaning process for the floor only would require approximately 30 gallons of water compared with 600 to 1,800 gallons for the current protocols.
Researchers believe that coupling this system with the use of baking bays would control the pathogens just as well, if not better than current methods.
“One probable method of destroying pathogens is to heat the surfaces of the trailers to 70 C for 10 minutes. The combination of the wash we have developed with heating the trailer to that temperature for that amount of time would take care of biosecurity concerns,” said Landry.
Landry also notes that the hydrovac system allows the wash water and debris from the trailer to be contained in a reservoir, enabling a more controlled disposal.
Although the project results are only theoretical, Landry says they are very promising.
“It is quite early but there has been some interest so we are encouraged. I think if we can provide industry with a close-to-ready system, I am hopeful that it could get used on a day-to-day basis.” he is quoted by Manitoba Cooperator journalist Jennifer Paige.