A busy week saw not only the completion of ultrasound scanning for all of our lambs to measure backfat and muscle depth but also ten Ram lambs were selected to go to the mobile CT scanner for a full body scan.
This is completed to provide vital information on the quality of the carcass and the use of the CT scanner is the only way to know how the animal would kill out without actually killing it (a bit of a problem for passing on its genetics!).
Each lamb is sedated and when relaxed is loaded into a harness where it is then scanned in the same manner as human beings are.
The resulting images can then be analysed to provide information on muscle/bone/fat rations, spinal length, muscle and gigot measurements and an overall killing out % calculated.
Once all of the data has been analysed it is used to enhance the accuracy of the data used to create Estimated Breeding Values (EBV’s) and the overall performance recording index.
The data gathered is so valuable that new EBV’s are expected to be created for spinal length and lean meat yield based on the area of lean meat in the carcass. These two traits are of significant interest to processors as it is estimated that there is around £15 per animal additional lean meat yield on top performing animals.
By completing CT scanning you can clearly identify which animals have these superior carcass traits – something that is impossible to do by the human eye. This enables farmers to make informed breeding decisions to ensure that their lambs can be produced to the right specification reducing waste and carbon dioxide production.
Feel free to make contact to discuss how the use of performance recorded Rams could help you achieve better grades and reduce the risk of your production system.