Scanning service gives sheep breeders unique insight

Sheep breeders will now be able to see inside their living lambs and accurately measure muscle, fat and bone with the help of a mobile scanning service.

The SAC‘s Mobile CT Scanning Service is one of the latest techniques available to forward thinking pedigree breeders looking to assess genetic merit and will offer them a unique insight into their livestock.

For generations shepherds have relied on their eyes, hands and experience to judge which sheep are best to breed from, but this non-invasive technology will enable a more in-depth assessment of individual animals.

Since the agricultural revolution began, livestock breeders have improved their flocks and herds by breeding from the best and selecting the traits demanded by the market.

The emphasis may now be on lean meat and good growth rates, but only 55% of carcasses meet industry targets for leanness, which offers a real challenge to the industry.

The scanner will be based at Nottingham University in May, when lambs from the Charollais Sheep Society will be scanned.

There are also plans for a monthly return from June through to September to scan lambs from pedigree Suffolk, Texel, Meatlinc and Beltex flocks with a date also planned for Aberystwyth later in the year.