Scanning lambs to cut back on fat
IMPROVEMENT among terminal sire breeds, with the aim of producing prime lambs carrying less fat and more lean meat, will be achieved twice as fast when data from whole-body scanning is used in performance recording.
David Croston, MLCs sheep strategy manager, told farmers that around 800 rams from the Charolais, Texel and Suffolk sire reference schemes would be computer tomography (CT) scanned this year. Cost is about £80/ram.
"As well as providing more accurate measurements of lean and fat weights, the CT scanner will measure new traits – such as muscle shape, muscularity and muscle and fat distribution.
"The advantages of these traits will be passed on to commercial producers who use performance recorded rams and whose prime lamb progeny will show an increase in the rate of improvement in carcass quality," said Mr Croston.
The MLC believes CT scanning, in terms of more accurate sire selection based on growth indices, could increase lamb producers income by £34.5m over the next 20 years. *