A Manitoba company has received Growing Forward 2 assistance to upgrade its livestock truck-washing facilities at Brandon and Blumenort.
North America has an efficient transportation system for moving livestock, but unless precautions are taken, it can be equally efficient at transmitting disease. Manitoba Pork estimates that porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) costs the Canadian swine industry $130 million a year and in 2014, nine high-traffic sites in Canada tested positive for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which last year caused massive weanling deaths in the U.S.
“There has been a very strong demand in the area for increased biosecurity measures, especially since the PED virus outbreak,” said Rick Peters, vice-president of operations for Steve’s Livestock, an affiliated company with Blue Water Wash, which cleans and sanitizes more than 430 rigs every week.
Blue Water Wash is Manitoba’s only public accredited truck- and trailer-washing facility recognized by Manitoba Pork and has begun expanding and upgrading two of its facilities in order to offer improved biosecurity measures to the sector.
“Biosecurity is critical to the long-term health of the livestock industry and these facilities will be the first of their kind in North America,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn. “This investment supports a Manitoba company making innovative changes that will benefit the provincial economy and the agricultural sector over the long term.”
Blue Water Wash received $825,000 through the government’s Growing Forward 2 initiative, to cover a portion of the costs associated with upgrading the two facilities.
“The grant and expansion will allow us to stay competitive in the marketplace and will give an added service to the farmers and customers who use these services,” said Peters. “We have begun construction on both sites and are hopeful to have them completed by the fall.”
Opened in 1995, the Blumenort facility was the company’s initial location and houses its head office. Expansion plans for this site will include the addition of five state-of-the-art drive-thru wash bays, a baking bay and an undercarriage-washing system.
The Brandon facility was the company’s second location, opened in 2001. Upgrades for this site include the construction of a baking bay and three additional drive-thru wash bays.
The new baking bays will be a one-of-a-kind facility in the region and have been built in a separate building next to the facility’s dry bay.
“The addition of the baking bay will allow customers the option for additional biosecurity measures as it is the final step in the extensive sanitation protocol,” said Peters. “It will allow us to park the trailers inside the building and involves raising the ambient temperature in all corners of the trailer to 160 F for a holding time of 10 minutes, which research shows will kill any viruses or bacteria.”
Peters said the expansion project at both sites will likely cost in excess of $4 million once all is said and done. The upgrades are also expected to create 20 new jobs between the two sites.
Blue Water Wash also has a facility located in Acme, Alta., and will be opening another site in Red Deer, Alta., this summer.