The winners of this year’s F.X. Aherne Prize for Innovative Pork Production at the recent Banff Pork Seminar include Jules Poiron and Warren Toles of Manitoba-based AcuShot Inc. and Steve Brandt of Steve’s Livestock Transport.
“The innovations developed by each of this year’s award winners are important contributions to the pork production industry,” says Ruurd Zijlstra of the University of Alberta, chair of the F.X. Aherne prize committee.
The awards are named after the late Frank Aherne, a professor of swine nutrition and production at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a major force for science-based progress in the western Canadian pork industry.
Poiron and Toles earned the award for their development of AcuShot, a new technology used for needle-free vaccination. It offers reliable, accurate vaccination using power cylinder technology, which is compressed by a patented motorized mechanism.
The battery-operated, handheld injector can be used on a hands-free stand for smaller livestock or with a remote injection hand piece for easy use with larger livestock.
Brandt’s achievement was the development of a unique “water-loading” trailer that allows for more space to be used by the animals and an improved system for regulating temperature. It’s called water loading because with its unique design water settles equally in each of its sections. A key feature of the design is axles that are set two feet further forward than those on most livestock trailers.
The trailer also has a six-foot- wide side-unloading door in addition to the standard rear door. The side door means less distance to the exit and twice the space for animals to move through. The unit also has a “Muggy Mister System” sprinkler system to keep animals cool on hot days – it combines mist with water to push hot air out of the trailer.
Also honoured was George Stahl of Veteran Colony in Alberta for the colony’s design of an improved loading facility.
The main component is a changeable ramp that reduces the level of incline required for the hogs to be loaded on both upper and lower decks of the shipping trailer.
Under this system, the colony has cut its loading time in half, from 35 minutes to 15 minutes for 190 hogs, and the hogs only require very minimal encouragement to move on the trailer. Loading hogs now requires only one person where before it required two or three people.