Animal protection groups argue it definitely is: Birds that are not confined to small wire cages can at least spread their wings and engage in natural behaviors like dust-bathing and perching, even if they never see the light of day.
But egg producers and researchers caution that the switch is not as simple as just opening those cage doors — and that mobility brings with it a new set of concerns for chickens’ welfare that most farmers have never confronted.
A major 2015 study of three different hen-housing systems found that mortality was highest among birds in cage-free aviaries and that they also had more keel bone problems. READ MORE
The Cluster, administered by the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), provides an opportunity for eligible projects to receive federal funding in addition to industry funding.
Researchers are invited to complete and submit our full proposal funding application form during this special call for proposals.
To be considered for funding, research projects must align with the outlined research priorities (see below) and the principal investigator must also work full-time in a Canadian institution or organization.
- Full project proposals will be reviewed and funding decisions made by July 31, 2017
- Projects that receive a positive funding decision will be included in the Poultry Research Cluster submission to Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada (AAFC) in the Fall of 2017
- Projects approved by AAFC will begin no earlier than April 1, 2018
- Eligible projects must fall under the research priorities listed below in order to be considered
- Research priorities
- Hen behaviour and health in alternative housing systems, including housing system design, management and production practices, and pullet rearing
- End of flock management, including catching, loading and transport, and on-farm depopulation
- Hen health
- Gut health
- Dietary ingredients
- Environment and sustainability
- Production practices and technologies that decrease environmental impact and increase sustainability
Parsons sat down with Jamie Johansen during ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, where he gave a presentation on his company through his participation in the Pearse Lyons Accelerator Program.
Greengage supplies an induction-powered system that makes LED lights and sensors for poultry and swine.
It uses patented inductive technology, a magnetic conductive system that converts energy into LED lights on a wave spectrum that has been aligned to the requirements of a chicken. READ MORE
They are also finding more research needs to be done.
Michelle Hunniford, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, is researching the nesting behaviour of laying hens.
She has found that new ways of evaluating nesting behaviour are needed.
She told a session at the London Poultry Show that settling behavior, the process hens go through to find and get themselves comfortable to lay an egg, along with egg location should drive cage design evaluation. The speed that a hen gets to that comfort level is correlated to how much pecking it does to establish its space and how long it occupies nesting space.
The University of Guelph re-searchers observed hens through their waking period — lights came on at 5 a.m. — and recorded their behaviour.
They then created graphs that showed a “settled” laying hen moved through its settling phases in more defined periods compared to an “unsettled” layer hen.
In most enhanced systems, the layers have a nesting area, with flooring and a scratch area.
Hunniford and her colleagues looked at what nests would motivate hens to settle in the desired nesting areas.
They found it was difficult to predict which hens would lay where and some hens preferred one system while others chose another.
As a result, one of Hunniford’s recommendations include that providing two smaller nests is more important that providing one large, fully furnished nest. READ MORE
The subject of emission control was addressed at EuroTier, the world’s largest trade fair for animal production, in November 2016. The fair takes place every other year in Hanover, Germany.
“I grew up on a farm, with my grandfather starting with dairy and then cash crops and some pork and beef, and always wanted to get into farming,” Pryce says. “I worked towards this through starting up a few different businesses like road dust control, a rental business, vehicle undercoating, and then decided last summer to take the plunge to buy quota and build a barn.”
Construction started in September 2016 and finished in December 2016.
“Our sons, Russell and Clinton, are the reason Catherine and I did it, so that they can have a future in farming if they want it,” Pryce adds. “We’re starting with the goal of producing 2.2 kilogram birds, with four kilograms as the ultimate goal.”
Pryce chose a cross-ventilation barn design with a heating system that’s brand new to North America – one he’s seen working well in other barns he’s visited. Pryce also believes it will help save on heating bills and electricity, which is quite costly in Ontario, and provide excellent humidity control.
Weeden Environments was a main contractor for the project. Nathan Conley, the firm’s manager for Ontario and the northern United States, says the cross-ventilation design offers a lower building cost than longer and narrower tunnel barns. “Many of Brent’s neighbours and friends are very happy with their cross-ventilated buildings,” he says. “We recommended that two sides have modular side wall air inlets for consistent control over incoming air during minimum ventilation. The air from both sides travels up and along the ceiling [the warmest part of the barn] and therefore it’s conditioned before it reaches the birds and the litter. We then use stir fans to produce consistent temperatures throughout.”
Conley says when warmer weather arrives, a continuous double baffle inlet on one side of the barn will be employed; this set-up creates the same amount of wind chill over the birds as continuous baffle on both sides of the barn. Val-Co HyperMax exhaust fans were chosen for the barn, which Conley says are high-performing and very energy efficient.
A first in North America, the barn’s forced air propane heating and humidity control system is provided by Mabre. Mike Neutel, CEO of Neu Air Systems in Woodstock, Ont., says the systems are used all over the world. The set-up includes two 600,000 Btu Mabre propane furnaces with Reillo burners.
“In poultry barns, typical heating systems are tube heaters and box forced air heaters,” Neutel says. “Some growers have these heaters vented to the outdoors and some vent the products of combustion in the barn.”
He notes the contaminants contained in this air are very harmful to birds, and the exhaust also contains tons of moisture – 0.82 litres of water for every litre of liquid propane burned, and 0.65 litres of water for every litre of liquid natural gas.
Mabre heating systems exit exhaust through chimneys while maintaining a high efficiency of 92 per cent, Neutel notes, while the forced air blowers provide excellent air circulation, which is key in maintaining proper humidity levels. A very even temperature, often within a degree throughout the entire barn, is achieved, but no draft is created. Return air going back to the furnace incorporates fresh outside air through a louver, while heating and mixing this air through an exchanger.
All of this, Neutel says, was important to Pryce. “[He] also commented during his decision process that the low ammonia levels will make it a safe environment for his children to manage the barn when they get older without having to worry about farmer lung,” Neutel adds. Mabre systems maintain humidity between 50 and 60 per cent, even with outside humidity levels of 90 per cent, which Neutel says keeps ammonia levels very low.
Mabre is available with natural gas, propane, wood pellet and wood chip options. More than 200 wood pellet systems have been installed in Quebec poultry barns.
In terms of how popular the cross-ventilation systems will become, Conley notes that in Ontario, producers are moving away from two and three-story barns for easier cleaning and to incorporate modular loading systems. “In the U.S., longer tunnel-ventilated barns are the norm, because the barns are larger and the temperatures higher,” he explains. “With this design – used there and around the world – the barn operates the same as a cross-ventilated barn, where air is brought in via sidewall inlets and exhausted out the sidewalls, but when hotter weather arrives, we gradually transition into tunnel to generate air speed down the length of the barn to create wind chill over the birds to cool them. I think that you’ll begin to see a trend of tunnel-ventilated buildings popping up over the next few years as we continue to see hotter, longer summers and the need to control heat stress becomes greater.”
In late January, Pryce reported in on barn performance and his first flock, which had arrived three weeks prior. “So far, I’m really happy with the heat unit and the environment in there is great. Right now is when you see things start to slide a bit, but it’s the same as the first few days the chickens came in. Usually you don’t really take young kids in a barn, but I’m pretty comfortable with taking my young kids in. The carbon dioxide and humidity levels are bang on.”
“The outbreak of avian influenza here in the UK back in December 2016 has caused untold stress to the poultry and egg sector,” explains Dan England, director of PestFix. “The advent of new Animal & Plant Health Authority (APHA) protocol allows free range birds outdoors, if they can be kept segregated from wild birds. With this rule, the laser technology for bird dispersal comes into its own. Because they are domesticated, the hens are unaffected by the laser.”
One of the farms taking advantage of the technology is Orchard Eggs, based in West Sussex.
“Our birds are housed across 50 acres of orchard and we want to do everything to keep them safe from infection,” says Daniel Hoeberichts, owner of Orchard Eggs. “Once we heard about [laser technology], it seemed like an ideal solution to complement all of our other biosecurity measures.”
Automated lasers are method of repelling unwanted birds without causing harm to the wild birds, the chickens and the surrounding environment. The system being used at Orchard Eggs was developed by Bird Control Group, a Dutch company. The laser is silent and shows effectiveness of 90 to 100 per cent in bird dispersal at farms. This makes it a viable alternative to the expensive method of installing nets at the entire poultry farm.
This F-series Super Duty line-up of trucks is all new for 2017, including the adoption of the same aluminum cab that the F-150 got two years ago. That fact alone makes this next generation of Super Duty special. With the engineers adding the all-aluminum body, this now means there is only one design for both classes of Ford trucks; and that in turn means that updates and improvements to any and all the cab systems will now be available to both half-ton and Heavy Duty trucks in the same year. It also seems appropriate then that this alignment of truck bodies is coming on an all-new chassis as well.
Adding strength and reducing weight, this new Super Duty is 24 times stiffer than its predecessor. The fully boxed frame is taller and has up to 10 cross-members, which include the under-box supports for the factory-installed fifth wheel/gooseneck hitch receiver.
The new Super Duty is claiming several victories - its latest top numbers are 32,500 pounds towed, with an F-450 and a maximum payload of 7,630 pounds. Both these numbers are now being touted as best in class. But as every truck guy knows, what you can haul is just as important as being able to brag about your engine. So the second generation of the 6.7-litre Power Stroke turbo-diesel (the most common Super Duty powerplant) has also boosted its horsepower and torque to 440 and 925 pound-foot respectively.
Of course, one of Ford’s strengths is the offer of multiple features, including engines. The base engine is a 6.2-litre V8 that makes 385 horsepower and 430 pound-foot of torque. For Super Duty chassis cab buyers there is also a gas V10 option.
At the press drive in Denver, there were a variety of trucks available to drive but I was immediately drawn to the F-450 towing the gooseneck trailer with a nice 30,000-pound load of landscaping stone. I too wanted to experience those maximum tow limits, in part because I still find it amazing that pickups today are built to haul weights that were considered commercial loads back when I started driving tractor-trailers in the early 1980s.
The Power Stroke powered F-450 handled the weight and the chassis is noticeably stiffer – even in jackknife 180-degree U-turns the truck does not tilt or squat. Under moderate braking it retains a level attitude without any hobbyhorseing and much of the driving was up and down the foothills at the start of the Rocky Mountain range. So, while my initial focus was devoted to the weight claims that Ford was making, as the kilometers clicked by, another side of the towing experience caught my attention. This new line of Super Duty has more towing help/convenience features than any that have come before it.
It starts with seven cameras placed around the truck, including one in the rooftop brake light array. With this one you can easily see the trailer pin as the truck backs up to the hitch. It even has a “magnify” button that doubles the image size. Hooking up (bumper or in-bed) is now an easy one-man job. Meanwhile the other cameras offer 180-degree views off the nose or a 360-degree birds-eye-view.
In this Super Duty, Ford has installed an inter-related series of new stopping features meant to keep you cool and your shorts clean.
It starts with the Towhaul feature that uses the transmission to slow the load, as does the engine exhaust brake found on the diesel. The gearshift lever also has a manual gear selector; and if the transmission is kicked down using the brake, it will hold its gear. But the most significant improvement comes with an addition to the adaptive cruise control. It will use the truck’s brakes, engine brake and the trailer’s brakes – through the trailer brake controller to hold the pre-set speed of the rig; while going downhill, all automatically. Similar to the system that General Motors uses, this improvement will relieve the white knuckles often caused by being pushed by your load.
The other feature that made itself noticeable was adaptive steering. As the name implies the steering ratio “adapts”. At slower speeds when the driver is turning pin to pin the travel shortens up (by as much as one complete revolution of the wheel) while at highway speeds it gets longer offering a more sensitive on-centre feel. Again, for backing up while towing, this is a great innovation.
How about tire pressure monitoring? Old hat you say. Yes - but this is tire pressure monitoring of your trailer. Ford offers wireless sensors that can be fixed to the trailer tires to display pressures right in the centre dash display.
If you’re sensing a theme, it’s because clearly there is one. First you have to build a truck that can handle the weight it’s claiming – Ford has done that. Then – you need to give the driver the tools to haul all that weight safely and create systems that reduce the stress that comes with trailering. Sure you may have the skills that towing demands, but the systems in this truck can only make you better at it. The 2017 Super Duty Ford has accomplished both goals.
The pricing for the 2017s starts at $39, 849 for the base F250, regular cab, gas model and walks up through the varied cab models and trims to $46,749 for the F-350 crew cab – again the two-wheel-drive, gas model. Add four-wheel-drive and dual wheels (F-350s) and you’ll plunk down another
$6,000 on average on each model. For pricing with the Power Stroke diesel, just add another $9,950 to any model
Trucks will be at dealers this fall.
March 10, 2016 - Chick Master is introducing a new tracking tool to monitor eggshell temperature in real time. The new tool, called Tempo, is now available with Chick Master’s Maestro Hatchery Management System on all Avida Symphony setters.
The information provided by Tempo can aid hatcheries to improve chick quality. The current needs of the industry demand better tools to obtain maximum hatch results. Chick Master’s proven Maestro System is an intelligent management system that ensures communication, data monitoring and control of incubation and ventilation equipment to maximize hatchery performance.
Robert Holzer, president of Chick Master said, “One of the key factors influencing high quality chick development is proper embryo temperature during the incubation period. Tempo now adds a new dimension by providing the user the ability to monitor egg shell temperature in each zone in the most uniform single stage setter today.”
Tempo provides precise eggshell temperature data via a Resistance Temperature Detector (RTD) which is used in healthcare services and medical research where precise accuracy is required. The temperature readings are not affected by the radiating heat that surrounds the targeted egg providing more precise temperature information allowing the user to better evaluate and monitor optimal embryo development.
Information provided by Tempo can be viewed as a graph on the Maestro Hatchery Management System or as a real time value on the machine’s touch screen. This feature will enable the user to modify the step program for factors including breeder flock age, egg size, fertility and season of the year to ensure proper temperature during the entire incubation process.
With all their automated controls, sensors and so much more, today’s hatcheries, packing houses, grading facilities and on-farm barns are quite high-tech. But HatchTech of the Netherlands has taken hatchery technology to a whole new level with its ‘HatchCare’ incubation and chick care system, to the benefit of chicks, the environment and poultry farmers. Synergy Agri Group (based in Port Williams, Nova Scotia) recently installed HatchCare – the first in Canada and the fourth company in the world to do so. Erik Helmink of HatchTech says the firm is currently producing 200 000 HatchCare broiler chicks a week.
Let’s look at how HatchCare is different by first briefly describing a standard hatchery, where chicks are shipped away after emergence and receive their first food and water after they settle in on the farm – a day later. With HatchCare, firstly the fertility of eggs is checked using new lighting methods so that only 100 per cent viable embryos are incubated. Chicks are vaccinated while still in the egg. Once hatched, chicks are immediately able to have a drink and a feed, which research has shown results in higher body weight and breast meat yield in male broilers. HatchTech also cites research findings showing HatchCare chicks to be one centimetre longer at hatch, which Helmink says is due to “laminair air flow.”
HatchCare also involves a unique and advanced handling system called HatchTraveller, where the chicks stay in small individual crates from hatching until delivery to the farm. The crates are then cleaned and disinfected for
re-use. Helmink says HatchTraveller gives every chick perfect, uniform conditions in terms of temperature, air flow and relative humidity, “like they stay in the hatcher.”
HatchCare also includes several features that enhance bio-security, such as sealed incubators with filtered entry and exit air. Over 95 per cent of fluff is removed from the air before it leaves the hatchery, eliminating the need for a fluff room and reducing the amount of space needed in a hatchery by about 20 per cent.
In terms of energy efficiency, the systems’ insulation levels are very high (Helmink says its insulation value is up to 70 per cent higher than traditional Styrofoam), and its direct-drive motors with sensor-controlled speeds use less power. Anodized water-filled aluminum radiators with very large surface areas reduce heat-up time during startup and cool effectively when needed.
Doug Korver has done research showing that incubation temperatures for egg embryos may need to be adjusted depending on the age of the broiler breeder flock and the strain of bird. We asked the professor in the department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science at University of Alberta whether a system like HatchCare would be useful in making these adjustments, compared to previous hatchery system models or current competitor models.
“Single-stage incubation definitely makes it easier to manage conditions to more closely match the requirements for eggs from a particular breeder flock or age or egg size,” he replied. From that standpoint, Korver can’t say that the HatchTech system is any better or worse than any other single-stage incubator, but he notes that “potentially, the benefits of this system are that the chicks will have access to fed and water immediately after hatching. This would increase early intestinal development and potentially reduce stress and susceptibility to disease, while also increasing early growth rate. I think this is the biggest potential advantage of this system over other single-stage systems, and would be additive to the benefits over multi-stage incubation.”
Korver cautions however, that depending on how large the system is and how many different breeder flocks supply a HatchCare system, “some of the same issues regarding variation in egg size (and therefore optimum incubation conditions) might remain…Even with single-stage incubation…mixing different breeder flock ages and/or sizes of eggs can make it difficult to provide the optimum conditions for each egg.”
HatchCare is born
HatchCare was introduced after years of development in 2014. The total number of chicks being reared under the system per year is now at 682 million. However, by the spring of 2016, more installations will be up and running in Australia, China, some European and south American countries, as well as the U.S. and Canada. In one of their hatcheries, Probroed & Sloot in the Netherlands is running five HatchCare systems with a capacity of 90 000 chicks each. This totals about 650 000 HatchCare chicks a week (Probroed & Sloot calls them ProCare chicks). The firm will have installed five more HatchCare systems by February 2016, so the company will be able to deliver more than a million Hatchcare chicks a week from that point onward.
Probroed & Sloot’s Edwin Paardekooper says his company began working with HatchTech in 2008 as a partner to help develop the new system (known as Hatchbrood at that point). In 2013, they did the first tests with eggs hatching in a hatcher with feed and water. “They have a lot of knowledge and we have a lot of technical knowledge so we worked closely together,” Paardekooper explains. “Two things are important about the system. Vitality of the chick/reducing antibiotics and animal welfare. For the first is the advantage of early feeding. It means the chicks are growing sooner and they are about 15 per cent heavier at poult. The other factor of importance is the care of the chicks. As soon as they hatch, they are able to drink and eat and then they have a nap. They are so quiet, comfortable and satisfied. It is impressive to see.”
Although the energy savings provided with HatchCare are also welcome, Paardekooper says it’s the improved
performance of chicks that made leaders at his company so supportive of the system. “In this part of Europe, it’s important to reduce the use of antibiotics, and to have high standards for animal welfare,” he explains. “HatchCare chicks are stronger and healthier at first and in their life at the farms. They are so comfortable and this is what convinced me. My opinion is that we are starting with totally new chicks. Our farmers only want chicks reared with this system. These chicks are going to teach us a lot about what chicks need.”
December 2, 2015, Arthur, Ont. - Canarm AgSystems and Intelia have created a partnership to drive innovative new solutions for barn ventilation systems.
Canarm AgSystems is an Ontario-based manufacturer of ventilation, housing and technology solutions for barns. Intelia is a Quebec-based manufacturer of precision controls for livestock barns, especially poultry, hogs and dairy cattle.
The partnership was formed to merge the innovation power of the two companies for creating precision solutions for livestock as farmers demand more data-driven tools. The companies are integrating their technology to create new barn environment control options that they say will lower operating costs for farmers. These products will launch in early 2016.
As well, Canarm AgSystems and Intelia are committed to long-term, industry-leading customer service that farmers can rely on to keep their barns monitored and working efficiently.
Canarm AgSystems and its dealer network will now market Intelia’s controllers across Canada. Canarm and its dealers will also support previously marketed Intelia controllers.
UGA poultry science developed the Chkminvent app, a poultry house moisture removal and ventilation calculator intended to provide users with an estimated minimum ventilation rate required to remove the specified daily amount of moisture from a poultry house. Photo by Mike Czarick
University of Georgia poultry housing experts have released the state’s first app to help poultry farmers determine how much they should ventilate their houses during cold weather.
With thousands of birds living in a single house, keeping the air warm and fresh without spending a fortune on fuel during the winter can be one of the toughest challenges for broiler producers. The new app – called CHKMINVENT – is meant to simplify this process, said Mike Czarick, a poultry housing engineer at UGA’s Department of Poultry Science.
“In the summertime, ventilation is fairly straightforward,” he said. “The more air they can move through the house, the better off their birds will be. In the winter, there is so much more at stake. Ventilate too much and you will have excessive energy costs and stressed birds. Ventilate too little you will have poor air quality and wet litter, which can lead to poor performance and health.”
The app, available through Apple’s App Store, allows farmers to enter variables, such as the outside temperature, the amount of water the chickens consume, the temperature inside the house and the size of the poultry house’s fans. It then calculates how long farmers need to run their fans in order to remove excess moisture from the house and keep the chickens at a comfortable temperature.
“The app gives people a starting point as to how much fresh air they need to bring in to control house air quality and litter moisture,” Czarick said. “It’s not intended to provide a precise minimum ventilation rate. It’s going to take adjusting, but this at least gives a scientifically based place to start.”
For more information about the CHKMINVENT app, search for it on Apple’s App Store. For now, the app is only available for iPhone, but the team may develop versions for other operating systems based on demand for this initial version.
Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
The current phasing out of incandescent light sources has created an urgent need for more energy efficient lighting systems in the poultry industry. To date, a lighting system designed specifically for egg producers has been lacking, but Dr. Gregoy Bedecarrats has developed a special LED light bulb to address this need
In an interview, Dr. Bedecarrats, a Poultry Physiologist from the University of Guelph, described the theoretical design criteria for an LED light bulb to be used specifically by the egg-laying industry.
“Firstly, in birds, light is perceived through retinal and extra-retinal (hypothalamic, pineal) photoreceptors capable of converting light into neuroendocrine signals. Secondly, direct photo-stimulation of the hypothalamus results in activation of the reproductive axis,” he explained. “And finally, our research shows that light from the red spectrum is critical to stimulate the reproductive axis and maintain high levels of egg production in hens, and this effect is mediated by hypothalamic photoreceptors.”
In partnership with Thies Electrical Distribution Inc., Dr. Bedecarrats has designed a new LED light bulb that delivers 60 per cent red spectral light.
The research approach undertaken to validate the new LED light bulb included testing its efficiency (electric consumption) and efficacy (on production parameters) with comparable light sources at the University of Guelph’s Arkell Research Station prior to testing in a large scale commercial barn in Ontario.
“Use of this 60 per cent red spectral output LED light bulb is capable of increasing egg production by three per cent, decreasing feed consumption by three to four per cent, and reducing electricity consumption by 80 per cent and 20 per cent respectively when compared to incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs,” said Dr. Bedecarrats in describing the overall
findings of the validation studies of this new LED light bulb. “These results show that this light bulb can increase productivity and significantly reduce energy costs in a commercial setting. Thus, it represents a perfect option for barn retrofit or new barns in the egg-laying industry”.
This research was funded by the Poultry Industry Council, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Dykstra’s Poultry Farm, Thies Electrical Distribution Co., and the Canadian Poultry Research Council: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Poultry Cluster 2).
Who rents a drag strip, borrows seven-ton fifth-wheel trailers and has five respected automotive journalists race the one-ton trucks head to head?
We do. The eighth annual Canadian Truck King Challenge did just that (and much more) to clearly show the truck-buying public who is the best of the best for 2015.
For this challenge, three heavy-duty pickups from Ram, Ford and GMC ran head to head at the MotorPlex drag strip in Grand Bend, Ont., while towing 15,000 lb. trailers as just one part of two intensive days of Truck King testing.
The outcome? The GMC Sierra 3500 beat the Ford and Ram in each heat. It would also go on to win the title.
But, back to the drag strip: a curious fact emerged during this testing. On paper the GMC boasted the least amount of horsepower and torque among the competitors. Yet it won each race. We ran it several times – with the trailer and without. It pulled away from its competition each time. And, that’s the difference between real-world testing and paper tigers.
Here are the quickest quarter miles from each truck taken from multiple runs:
GMC: 16.098 seconds when running empty, 21.932 seconds with trailer attached
Ford: 16.542 seconds when running empty, 23.303 seconds with trailer attached.
RAM: 16.927 seconds when running empty, 23.581 seconds with the trailer attached
The trap speed for all three trucks (at the quarter-mile line) was always plus/minus one MPH of 80 MPH. Trap speed with trailer attached, again for all three trucks, was also plus/minus one MPH of 60 MPH.
GM’s HDs are not new to the Truck King podium: the Chevy Silverado HD took the title in 2013 but failed to win last year mostly due to its dated interior. This year that’s changed with a significant interior refresh. However, what really put it over the top are new electronic systems for 2015 that can only be felt, not seen. And those can only be really appreciated when towing.
After eight years of reading our truck tests, most readers are familiar with our methods, and while locations sometimes change, the methodology remains the same. We use multiple, qualified automotive journalist judges who drive the trucks back to back in the same conditions on the same day.
We always start with empty loops, then we add payload and finally towing (with the payload removed). Over the years, we have always kept track of our fuel consumption during each of these tests; however, our pencil and paper calculations were replaced last year with electronic data readers that take that information directly from the trucks computer. These readers are plugged into the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port on each truck and record speed, distance, time, and even hard acceleration and braking events. Needless to say this is much more accurate in determining fuel consumption. This was our second year using the readers – they will be standard testing equipment during all Truck King events from now on. (See “Canadian Truck King Challenge fuel consumption analysis,” left.)
Once again we spent two days driving around southwestern Ontario.
The first day we ran the trucks empty from Toronto to London (200 km). Next we loaded up at Patene Building Supplies of London. Supplier IKO has helped us out for several years now by preparing pallets of shingles to use as payload. In this case, each pallet weighed 4,080 lb. exactly. The dimensions of each pallet were 4 ft. wide, 4 ft. high, by 5 ft. long. After loading, we took the shingles for a 200 km ride, switching up trucks every 30 minutes.
The next morning saw us hooking up fifth-wheel travel trailers at our other partner’s place of business – CanAm trailer centre. We hitched them to three similar fifth-wheel RV trailers. These weighed in at around 14,500 lb. each. We then spent the day doing a 300 km tour with the judges that included a three-hour stop at the drag strip in Grand Bend.
As always, each judge (five for this competition) scores each truck independently and the final outcome is an average.
|2015 Canadian Truck King Challenge Fuel Consumption Analysis Data|
vans also go head to head
Although the Canadian Truck King Challenge has concerned itself with real-world pickup truck testing, a one-of-a-kind metamorphosis has taken place in the commercial van market in Canada: one that simply had to be investigated more closely.
Once we approached the manufacturers about doing our brand of testing on its products, they wholeheartedly agreed. Now, for those folks who buy and use commercial vans, you already know that the landscape has changed. For almost everyone else, let me just say that what has happened to the traditional low-roof North American box van (think Ford E-series) is a European invasion. Starting with Mercedes Benz, several years ago, we saw the arrival of the Sprinter with its distinctive high-roof and diesel engine. What followed was Ford product, designed and built in Europe – the smaller Transit Connect and now the full-size Transit. Quick on the heels of these two are the ProMaster vans. Now labelled as Rams, they started life as Fiats. They too bring a diesel powertrain as well as gas and a unique front-wheel-drive design.
From the other side of the globe, Nissan brought a built-in North America van: the NV. Gas powered and with various roof heights, it’s a competitor to all the builders mentioned so far. Now Nissan has also offered up a smaller front-wheel drive van: the NV200.
Six judges evaluated these vans over two days in the fall of 2014. Each of these judges is an automotive journalist, a member of Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and someone who spends a substantial portion of their working year evaluating trucks, vans and vehicles that work for a living. But, that pedigree alone is not enough (as anyone who follows the Challenge knows). We drove the vans empty to start with; we loaded them with payload; and, finally, we replicated downtown deliveries.
In total we drove over 1,600 km while testing.
For payload we used shingles: 3,070 lb. on a single pallet for the full-size vans and 1,040 lb. for the three smaller ones. These were supplied by IKO and loaded at Roof Mart in Brampton.
The following day we did something rather new to the Challenge. We ran a very small route through the congested downtown that took in laneways, parking lots and alleys. And, we spent a bit of time with each van backing into narrow docks. This exercise was to determine how well the mirrors were set up, to see what the sightlines on each vehicle were and to sense how well it steered in tight quarters. The judges scored each van based on their own observations.
Although judging how a vehicle drives and handles is a very subjective process when scoring, determining fuel economy isn’t. We engaged a Kitchener company, MyCarma, to install electronic data readers in each of the vans to record fuel consumption over the two-day test period (please see the sidebar “Fuel consumption results”). Please keep in mind that these results are as “real-world” as it gets. The data readers run constantly and the results are a blend of the driving styles of all six judges who circulate through the vans on a rotating basis. We tried to break out the fuel numbers for when the vans were empty, when they were loaded and when they were doing the low-speed simulated downtown delivery segment.
So, who won? The Ford Transit came out on top for the full-size vans and the Nissan NV200 squeaked out a win in the mid-size category.
And how did that happen? The story is in the details. Please have a look at who our competitors were and how the judges scored them – that’s where the story lies.
Who were our competitors?
Ford Transit 250
The Transit was born and raised in Europe and Asia but is now also being built in Kansas City, Mo. It’s a typical front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. Ford says the Transit will average 25 per cent better fuel economy than the current E-series, which is no longer produced. Variations of this include three body lengths; two wheelbases; three roof heights; and bodies that include van, wagon, chassis cab and cutaway variations. Each engine is paired with an automatic six-speed transmission.
Ford Transit Connect
This small van, introduced in 2009, really started the trickle that has become a flood of new van product here in Canada. Late last year the Transit Connect got a nice makeover, taking it into this model year. It got two new engines, a tow package, two wheelbases and new trims. Order it with second-row seating, a rear-view camera, 6.5-inch touch screen display with navigation, and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Ford suggests that the 1.6L EcoBoost I-4 will get in the 7.8 L/100 km range.
We had both an EcoBoost and a naturally aspired engine to test.
Mercedes Benz Sprinter
This year Sprinter has an updated body that features a higher nose, larger grille louvres, and new options such as Bi-Xenon headlamps. Along with the body update, the V6 BlueTec diesel gets a new base engine partner – the 2.1 L I-4 turbodiesel. This engine is said to get a combined fuel rating of 8.9 L/100 km. Mercedes has also added five new assistance systems to the Sprinter to help drivers avoid accidents. Last, but most interesting, a four-wheel-drive option is now available on these vans. While I have driven one after our event (and it worked very well); one was not available to test this time around. Maybe next year.
The new ProMaster will cover consumers’ needs with a variety of body styles and weight categories (1500, 2500 and 3500) in van, chassis cab and cut-away versions. Unlike the Mercedes and Ford, however, it is a front-wheel-drive powertrain that gives it a lower, flat cargo floor.
The two ProMasters we had for testing were both built with the 3.6 L Pentastar V6 gas engine. However, the ProMaster is also offered with a 3L I4 EcoDiesel, which was not available at the time of testing. That falls into the “too bad” category because we were very curious to see how it stacked up to Ford and Mercedes. Again, maybe next year.
The NV200 is going up against the Ford Transit Connect and the coming ProMaster City. Unlike the others, it has already scored a market by being named the preferred taxi of New York City. Its small front-wheel-drive platform lends itself to fleets and individual business functions and its low pricing is certainly an advantage.
These were our competitors. A very nice field; however, there were a couple of vehicles missing for one reason or another. These were the full-size Nissan NV, the diesel-engine ProMaster and the ProMaster City, a smaller version of the ProMaster meant to do battle with the Transit Connect and NV200.
As for GM, they are offering the NV200 – now relabelled as the Chevrolet City Express for its small van market. This entry would have been redundant. GM still offers its full-size Savana and Express vans. These old-school vans have their market, but I understand why GM didn’t enter them.
March 20, 2015 - Patz Corporation has a new addition to its Vertical Mixer line. The new 400 Series II Single Screw Stationary Vertical Mixer is offered in 140 cubic foot (3.9 m3) or 200 cubic foot (5.7 m3) capacities. It's built heavier to handle the blending of livestock rations and compost materials.
The 400 Series II Vertical Mixer has been redesigned from the ground up. The mixer’s new, rectangular base allows for multiple drive mounting locations, enabling customers to adjust discharge door location simply by moving the motor and turning the machine. The mixer tub now comes standard with a ½-inch thick floor plate, heavy-duty ¼-inch walls, and two adjustable flow restrictors for exceptional mix quality of longer materials. The newly-designed steel cone-top screw includes flighting that is 60% heavier for increased lifespan and durability. Screw wear points are also reinforced with AR-400 steel. A four-piece top safety guard encloses the mixer tub, meeting ASABE safety standards and promoting safer operation of the unit. The 400 Series II Vertical Mixer is also easier to service, thanks to a new, telescoping drive line with sheer bolt protection with easy access for maintenance and service.
A variety of options allow the mixer to be customized for any industry. A choice of three drive packages (one motor, two motor, or one motor without 2 speed gearbox) provide expanded horsepower options, while an optional variable frequency drive kit offers versatile speed control for exceptional mixing and cleanout. Users will also be able to select from 5 knife options, including the patented Patz Raptor™ knife, and increase the capacity of their vertical mixer with optional side extensions.
For more information, visit www.patzcorp.com or your local Patz dealer.
The Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC), an organization has served as an informal information hub since 2003 for the four poultry marketing boards in Ontario – Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission, and Turkey Farmers of Ontario – now plays a leadership role in emergency disease management.
Dr. Tom Baker, a consultant and incident commander at FBCC, says that over the years, the FBCC has made progress in a variety of ways to help the poultry industry: geo-spatial coding of poultry farm locations, disease outbreak simulations, biosecurity practices and more.
As well, the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program provided financial assistance to make the collaboration with the marketing boards official and improve emergency management planning and rapid response/recovery capacity, including the development of an Emergency Management Plan.
Thanks to the funding, the FBCC was able to create a new and secure website to help co-ordinate emergency responses, convey communication and recovery initiatives as well as provide access to maps and other useful resources.
“FBCC aspires to have an emergency-free Ontario poultry industry through industry-led disease incident risk management,” said Baker.
“When notified of a disease incident, FBCC maps the involved area and advises all farmers in the affected zone to institute heightened biosecurity measures. Poultry industry associations and poultry veterinarians are also alerted of the need for heightened biosecurity and provided with a buffered zone map.”
The website will be used as a way to avoid constant e-mailing among staff, agencies, experts, etc. and centralize all the information, including manuals, test results and biosecurity resources.
Added Baker: “Previously, feather boards communicated with their members and stakeholders primarily through their own websites and newsletters. It was long recognized that timeliness, security, and consistency would be enhanced with an integrated secure (or ‘dark’) website. The new website went live in the spring of 2013 and was used successfully in the two-day FBCC Foreign Animal Disease (FAD) Simulation in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), Animal Health Laboratory (University of Guelph) and the Ontario Livestock and Poultry Council (OLPC).”
The goal of the new FBCC website, according to Baker, is to provide:
- efficient and secure internal information exchange with access based on the individual’s response role and information needs
- common timely messaging of disease incident status
- alignment of key messages with those of government
- access to critical information resources, such as the Emergency Response Plan, biosecurity resources, technical fact sheet, etc.
- documentation access
- efficient staff management according to the Incident Command System functional structure used by emergency responders
- entryway to government regulatory processes (for example, movement permit applications)
- timely and common messaging amongst the four feather boards to co-ordinate information sharing with all government, laboratory and industry stakeholders and partners.
- archival information to learn from past incidents
- forum to discuss policy and scientific issues
- access to the website via mobile devices
One of the most notable features of the new FBCC website is that the general public cannot access it in any way; it is securely protected and offers only limited access to individuals within
Baker says that one of the main reasons for this drastic change in access is due to the risk of misinterpreted information getting into the public domain. “In several international disease incidents, media curiosity has been a significant deterrent to effective information exchange amongst responders,” he said. “And in some cases, the biosecurity on site was threatened.”
There are three levels of access for the website:
Level 1 – those who manage content (update messages, assign staff, verify completed tasks, document), such as assigned Incident Command staff and Section Chiefs
Level 2 – staff with Incident Command co-ordination responsibilities
Level 3 – those who view only, in declining order of access:
- designated government liaison and communication staff
- FBCC Board members
- Advisory Group members (view and participate in Forum discussions)
- key stakeholder and partner associations
- individual key enterprises and producers
- guests and media (location map with zones, disease summary)
The FBCC site is also extremely versatile and could be developed into a news source.
“This website could be expanded into a livestock and poultry web portal that would allow other livestock and crop organizations faced with emergency response challenges to have secure access to its customized features.”
However, he is quick to point out that the FBCC site currently only meets the most basic initial emergency response needs, as it is only a skeleton framework for a potentially more comprehensive site. Visitors to the site, Baker adds, have been incredibly useful.
“Users of the site see many new possibilities for enhancements that can serve industry needs throughout the whole emergency management continuum from report of disease suspicion, through to response, movement controls and recovery,” he said.
The goal is to make the FBCC website a “one-stop” website for emergency disease management resources.
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Children’s Progressive Safety Day Thu Jul 06, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Chicken Marketing Summit Sun Jul 16, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Poultry Science Association AGM Mon Jul 17, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, Public Agriculture SummitMon Sep 18, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Public Trust Summit: Tackling TransparencyMon Sep 18, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Harvest Gala 2017 Thu Nov 02, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM