1 December 1995

Scanning funds for sheepmeat yield analysis

FUNDING to the tune of £180,000 has been secured over the next three years for a whole body scanner to analyse total sheep meat yield on the hoof.

A secondhand computer tomography (CT) scanner, which provides a 3-D image of the sheeps organs and meat content, will arrive at the Scottish Agricultural College, Edinburgh, within the next three months.

The machine costs about £30,000, with remaining funds allocated to maintenance and research.

The Meat and Livestock Commission and BBSRC are joint sponsors.

Carcass measurements

More accurate carcass measurements will double the rate of genetic progress, enabling progressive producers to pinpoint superior stock rams more efficiently, Yorks pedigree Texel breeder Richard Oates said at FarmTech.

The technique is already widely used in New Zealand, Germany, Norway and Australia. The new technology will allow gigot and shoulder meat content to be assessed as well as eye muscle depth.

Initially the scanner will be used for research, although high index sire reference stock will be scanned next summer. If the analysis is successful, it will be available commercially.

Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland (BIOSS) is working on a possible index for commercial producers.

Scanning records could then carry more weighting in overall ram indexes.