2 April 1999

CT scan might benefit carcass composition

IMPROVING carcass composition through selecting better animals for breeding could be easier using computer tomography (CT) scanning.

Speaking at the conference, SAC Edinburghs Mark Young said that recent studies showed the technique could be 95%, 91% and 80% accurate for measuring fat, muscle and bone, respectively, when compared with dissection results.

"This shows that a commercial scanning service for sheep breeders would allow very accurate predictions of carcass tissue weights.

"The technique could be used as a second-stage selection. Following initial selection using ultrasonic scanning and indexes, elite animals could be CT scanned, increasing the economic gains available from better breeding," he said.