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Great ideas for lifting hogs recognized

Two different lift systems reduce stress for people and animals

Steve’s Trucking developed a hydraulic system to lift two decks inside an livestock trailer making it easier to load and unload animals.

The 2016 F. X. Aherne award for Innovative Pork Production is being shared by two winners.

Sam Gelowitz of the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Sask. received the award for an innovative carcass-removal cart, while Steve’s Livestock Transport of Manitoba received the prize for a new hydraulic lift deck trailer. The awards were presented at the 2016 Banff Pork Conference.

“Innovation is the lifeblood of any industry and this prize recognizes individuals who have developed either original solutions to pork production challenges or creative uses of known technology,” says Dr. Michael Dyck of the University of Alberta, chair of the F.X. Aherne prize committee. “With the quality of applicants it is not hard to see why this award is popular.”

The prize is named after industry icon, the late Dr. 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.

Carcass cart

The carcass removal cart designed by Gelowitz is designed out of safety and ease of removal of dead sows and large grower/finish pigs from the building. Previous carts use a vertical manual winch system to hoist the carcass, which became top heavy when transporting animals to the disposal site, and took a lot of manual labour.

The new design transports animals safely with a minimal amount of lifting by employees. The design uses a pallet jack, a parcel-and-product rolling system and a 12 volt electric 2,000-lb. winch.

A winch and roller system on a pallet lifter makes it easier to move dead animals.
A winch and roller system on a pallet lifter makes it easier to move dead animals. photo: Prairie Swine Centre

The pallet jack has excellent maneuverability allowing access to areas 30 in. in width and has zero-turn radius to maneuver around sharp corners. The roller system eases the strain of barn workers in moving animals onto the platform. The battery system is housed in an RV or marine storage unit for protection from the elements. A charger system keeps the battery charged at all times. Additional design elements add strength and help prevent the loaded cart from tipping over.

It all adds up to quick and easy removal of dead animals, less risk of staff injury and increased productivity.

Hydraulic decks

The new hydraulic lift deck trailer from Steve’s Livestock Transport, based in Blumenort, Man. was designed in conjunction with Wilson Trailer Company of Sioux City, Iowa.

The all-aluminum deck system has a powerful hydraulic lift cylinder and stainless steel cable system that raises two full-length decks into locked position. It acts as an elevator to lift livestock into different deck levels, which eliminates ramp usage to enter or exit the trailer. Loading animals on the level and then lifting the deck reduces animal fatigue, stress and injury during movement and improves meat quality.

The new design has other attributes. It has superior ventilation through the trailer and the common contamination areas are easier to wash out. Biosecurity is enhanced. Heavy-duty gates contain and separate loads. The design is also physically easier on drivers.

The Banff Pork Seminar is coordinated by the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, in cooperation with Alberta Pork, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and other pork industry representatives from across Canada. A Special Report on the 2016 Seminar is available at Meristem Land & Science, is based in Calgary, Alta. Phone 403-543-7420 or visit

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