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Transport welfare sensors could help boost biosecurity

A system originally under development to improve the welfare of pigs during transport is now being adapted to enhance biosecurity.

8 July 2019, at 9:37am

As part of a Swine Innovation Porc project aimed at improving the efficiency of cleaning and disinfecting swine transport trailers to reduce the transmission of disease, scientists at VIDO-InterVac have determined heating those trailers to at least 75°C for 15 minutes will kill the pathogens responsible for disease.

Dr Terry Fonstad, the Associate Dean of research with the University of Saskatchewan's College of Engineering, told those on hand yesterday for a Swine Innovation Porc Truck Wash and Biosecurity Project Advisory Group meeting that this discovery has already dramatically improved biosecurity.

"Now that we've implemented this baking of these trailers, those trailer baking units need to have some verification that every piece of the trailer is getting to that temperature for the right amount of time," he explained.

"They need verification that they're doing the right things and they've actually disinfected the trailer.

"The big advantage is, if we can do that, we increase biosecurity significantly and that trailer is probably as clean as it's ever going to be so, instead of having the trailer down, they can utilise that trailer immediately after coming out of the bake bay.

"We've partnered with Transport Genie from Guelph, Ontario, who are developing a sensor for measuring humidity and temperature in pig spaces for animal welfare and we're going to add capabilities to it where we have the ability to measure the temperature during the bake process with the exact same sensors wired into the trailer.

"We’re piggybacking a system that they have that allows you to use Bluetooth to relay that data to somebody on an android app that is running the bake bay.

"It'll also give that information to the truck driver on an electronic log book and so we're actually piggybacking on something that was actually meant for animal welfare to get the biosecurity system in place."

Dr Fonstad says the sensor system should be in testing by the winter of this year or the spring of 2020.