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Ultrasound Scanning Sheep

o t t n a w u ‘If you want to o y f breed for muscle, l c s u m r o f d toto ee you need d e e measure muscle’ n u yo c s u m e r u s a e


www.texel.co.uk

Why Ultrasound Scan your Texel Sheep? Ultrasound scanning enables breeders to assess the carcase quality of their sheep by measuring muscle and fat depth in the live animal. Unlike growth rate, it isn’t easy to identify animals with superior muscling across the loin. Ultrasound images enable breeders to select animals with superior loins and avoid those with a high level of carcase fat. Research indicates that selective breeding for muscle depth across the loin will enhance muscle yield throughout the carcase.

New Ultrasound Scanning Kit Signet’s ultrasound scanning service has recently been enhanced through investment in the latest scanning software, the SonoScape scanner produced by Vet Image Solutions of Bromley. The new machine has sharper and clearer images, enabling muscle and fat layers to be defined more clearly.

What is involved? The scanning technique involves parting the wool at the third lumbar vertebra at 90 degrees to the backbone and then applying liquid paraffin oil to assist acoustic contact. A single measurement is taken of muscle depth at the deepest point and three measures of fat depth are taken at 1cm intervals. Each image is frozen on the screen and the measurements recorded are submitted for inclusion in breeding evaluations.


Frequently asked questions How old do lambs need to be? Texel lambs are scanned at approximately 21 weeks of age. When scanning lambs it is important to ensure that there is sufficient variation between lambs in muscle and fat depth measurements. This usually requires lambs to be at least 45kg and in reasonable body condition. Where lambs are growing more slowly it is perfectly acceptable to scan them at an older age to ensure that variation can be detected

How do you deal with differences in management? Where lambs have been managed differently – for example a show team and a commercially managed group - appropriate management codes are allocated to the animals to identify which lambs have been treated in the same way.

What facilities are required? The handling should take place undercover. Mains power is necessary at the scanning point. A head restraining yoke is provided by the scanning technician that allows the animal to stand naturally. Ultrasound measurements can be affected by the stance of the sheep. Stressed sheep may not stand in a consistent way and cause the results to be biased.


www.texel.co.uk

Should I scan all my lambs? Ideally all eligible lambs (male and females) should be presented for scanning as the analysis involves comparisons with contemporaries. Only animals in poor health should be excluded. A weight on the scanning day must also be recorded.

How is the data used? The scanning data is analysed using a statistical procedure known as BLUP. BLUP evaluations produce Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) that highlight animals with superior genetic merit for a range of traits including muscling. EBVs are reported back to breeders, submitted into sale catalogues and published on the internet. www.basco.org

Should I use raw data or EBVs? As with any raw data, muscle and fat depth measurements are affected by non-genetic factors, such as age at scanning and flock nutrition. To make the best breeding decisions it is important that breeders select animals on the basis of muscle and fat depth EBVs, rather than on the raw data alone.


Ultrasound scanning services can benefit a flock in a number of ways..... Helping the selection of males

• Promoting rams at sales

• Highlighting superior stock rams– influencing semen sales

• Identifying young rams that should be retained for use at home

Authentication of performance • Providing customers with assurance about the quality of measurements taken in the flock

Increasing Accuracy Values

• Enabling superior animals to be identified

• Enabling faster rates of genetic progress

Testing new breeding lines • Enhancing the evaluation of untested or imported breeding lines – enabling the best genetics to get better EBVs more quickly


www.texel.co.uk

Price Details All scanning technicians are required to pass AHDB accreditation tests for accuracy and repeatability. Scanning is provided by both Signet employees and freelance technicians. Scanning charges are typically ÂŁ1.75+VAT per head, with a minimum visit fee of ÂŁ175+VAT.

Contact Details Signet Technicians - covering England and Wales Payment is due to AHDB Stewart Nellist Tel: 01285 642816 Mobile: 07817 259783 Email: stewart.nellist@eblex.ahdb.org.uk West Midlands, South West, Mid and South Wales

Robert Paton Tel: 01234 870914 Mobile: 07814 236056 Email: robert.paton@eblex.ahdb.org.uk East Midlands, Eastern, South East

Andrew Steele Tel: 01964 650025 Mobile: 07875 676977 Email: andrew.steele@eblex.ahdb.org.uk Northern, North Wales


Other AHDB Accredited Scanning Providers Payment for scanning is made directly to the provider. Charges may vary between providers. Willie Wilson Tel: 01292 570629 Mobile: 07740 611545 Scotland

AI Services Northern Ireland Tel: 028 908 33123 Northern Ireland

David Cain Mobile: 07624 473679 Isle of Man

Collecting measurements of key commercial traits, combined with accurate EBV’s will improve production efficiencies at the flock and industry level


‘If bre Texel Sheep Society National Agricultural Centre Stoneleigh Park Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 2LG

t: 024 7669 6629

f: 024 7669 6472 e: office@texel.co.uk www.texel.co.uk

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Ultrascound Scanning Texel Sheep  

Ultrasound Scanning Texel Sheep.

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