Ultrasound is an invaluable tool for any genetic improvement programme, and offers massive cost savings over CT scanning. We are working with organisations both within the UK and abroad on ultrasound scanning for meat quality.
"We measured 26,479 lambs this fall.... About 7-9 people are working with the measurement from 10th of September until 27th of October in the west side of Iceland. The ultrasound machine worked precisely as we hoped for. The people using it this autumn had nothing but good compliment about it. The picture was very clear and a huge improvement from our oldest machine. So I can say everything was as it should!
Best regards from Iceland,
Skrifstofustjóri Búnaðarsamtaka Vesturlands"
In November 2012, the Swiss Sheep Society demonstrated the Signet method of fat and muscle depth measurement to its members and guests in Huttwil.
Signet Breeding Services provide genetic evaluations to livestock farmers to help them identify sheep with superior breeding potential. Signet Breeding Services scan approximately 50,000 sheep each year and have developed a highly consistent method.
THE SIGNET SCANNING METHOD
This method involves scanning lambs at 21 weeks of age.
- Part the wool at the third lumbar vertebra at 90 degrees to the background.
- Liquid paraffin oil is applied to the skin, chosen by Signet as the most cost-effective method for providing contact for the transducer.
- Place the transducer in contact with the skin in order to achieve a clear image of the third lumbar transverse process, the eye muscle, and the fat layers .
- Freeze the image and take linear measurements of the muscle and fat depths using the measurement function on the ultrasound machine, setting your measurement points using the cursor. The Signet method is to take 4 measurements – 3 fat, 1 muscle. The muscle depth measurement is taken at the point at which the muscle is deepest. The three fat measurements are taken at:
- The point at which the muscle is deepest
- 1cm to the right of this
- 1cm to the right of the 2nd reading
Combined with the live weight measurement at scanning, these results are then used by Signet to give each lamb an Estimated Breeding Value score (more information on EBVs can be found on the Signet website). The importance of taking weight into account is that on two animals with the same fat depth measurement, the smaller animal is “fatter.”
SCANNING FOR PREGNANCY
A huge advantage with a Vet Image Solutions S6vBW or the slightly smaller A6v machine is that it allows for interchangeable probes. By connecting a convex probe to the ultrasound machine, the ultrasound can also be used as a pregnancy scanner.
Pregnancy scanning maximises ewe/lamb survivability, pasture/paddock use and feed budgeting (UK Department of Agriculture).
- Early confirmation of pregnancy – from 26 days, but with optimal scan time being 45 days for a yes/no diagnosis, and 80 days to know if the pregnancy is a single or twin.
- Early warning of complications in the pregnancy.
If you are interested in learning more about these scanners, please contact us.