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CT Scanning

CT Scanning

SRUC’s new mobile Computer Tomography (CT) Scanner is available at various locations around the country throughout the summer months to scan lambs from pedigree breeders. Scanning using CT has been described as the gold standard for identifying superior carcase characteristics compared to using ultrasound scanning, leading to much faster rates of genetic gain. Texel members have observed the greatest influence in genetic progress in these carcase traits since the introduction of the mobile scanner in 2009.

What is Computer Tomography (CT) Scanning?

Computer Tomography (CT) Scanning is a medical imaging technique that is commonly used within Human medicine but was introduced for sheep breeders around 20 years ago. The process uses low dose x-rays that rotate around the animal to produce cross-sectional images of the carcase. Due to the quantity and quality of images taken this allows the total estimates of carcase composition and tissue distribution to be produced.

What do you get from the service?

Those who take advantage of the service are provided with data for each individual animal along with their CT images
*These images can be using as an excellent marketing technique*

The CT scan results can predict:

  • carcass tissue weights and %
  • killing out %
  • muscle to bone ratio
  • muscle to fat ratio
  • gigot shape

For those wanting to buy in animals that have been CT Scanned there are currently three traits can be selected for and with the introduction of Combined Breed Analysis three more CT traits will be introduced. Further information on these can be found here.

The incorporation of CT data into your genetic evaluations can greatly enhance the accuracy of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for growth and carcase traits. In addition, the use of CT data can be used to help identify elite animals within your flock, which can contribute to your breeding and management decisions.

The Texel Sheep Society will be looking for ram lambs in 2018 that have been CT Scanned to use within the next phases of our Industry leading Research and Development Projects.

When can I get my lambs CT Scanned?

The scanning dates for 2018 at various locations across the country: Edinburgh, Stoneleigh Park, Aberyswyth and Thorganby are below.

SRUC are considering offering a CT scanning service at a site further south eg Exeter and one further north eg Thainstone.  If you would be interested in bringing lambs to one of these sites please let SRUC know asap (Contact details below), with information on what time of year would suit your lambs and roughly the sort of numbers you would bring.  If there is enough interest they can look into making arrangements for this.

Scan Date Scan site Target Breed
30th April – 1st May Edinburgh Charollais / Hampshire Down
9th – 10th May Stoneleigh Charollais / Hampshire Down
4th – 6th  June Edinburgh Suffolk
4th – 5th July Stoneleigh Texel / Suffolk / Charollais ++
9th – 10th July Edinburgh Texel / Suffolk / Charollais ++
13th   – 15th  August Edinburgh Texel / Beltex
21st August Aberystwyth (TBC) Texel / Suffolk
22nd – 23rd August Aberystwyth (TBC) Innovis lambs
10th – 11th  September Thorganby or Edinburgh (TBC) Meatlinc
24th  September Edinburgh Texel / Suffolk

Please note these dates are to fit in with breed specific closing dates for data to be sent to us or for other breeds, Signet but SRUC are happy to scan any eligible breed on any of the dates if required and notified in advance.

How much does CT Scanning Cost?

To use the CT scanning service the following charges apply for 2018
Edinburgh: £65 per lamb
Stoneleigh Park/Aberyswyth/Carmarthen/Thorganby: £94 per lamb

The society subsidise each birth notified ram lamb that is CT scanned in addition to the subsidies that are available from the levy boards.

Texel Sheep Society 2018 Subsidies
Scottish member: £10/lamb
English member: £19.50/lamb
Welsh member: £26.50/lamb

You will be invoiced by the society for your CT Scanning Services. The additional subsidy can reduce the CT charges to below £23.50 per lamb.

Levy Board 2018 Subsidies can be found on the SRUC website. Click Here

Words from Breeders

“CT scanning has helped me to accurately identify my best rams for meat yield. This has helped inform my breeding decisions and accelerate the genetic gains made within my flock helping me deliver what the market wants – a Texel that produces fast growing, premium quality, well fleshed lambs” Paul Philips, Kimbolton Texels

What can I do next?

To book your lambs in: Contact Kirsty McLean at SRUC
Senior Technician and Manager
SRUC-BioSS
CT Scanner Unit , Pentland Building, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Mid-Lothian EH26 0PH
Tel: 0131 535 3250
Kirsty.mclean@sruc .ac.uk
SRUC CT Scanning Service

Further information on CT scanning can be found here:

Texel Sheep Society CT Scanning Booklet
CT Scanning poster SBRT 2011
Research Paper, the use of CT within sheep production and breeding

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