SRUC

CT (computer tomography) is a medical imaging technique which produces images of body cross-sections, using low dose X-rays, without harming the animal. The detailed images produced allow very accurate estimation of body composition and tissue distribution.

The Animal and Veterinary Science Research Group provides CT scanning services to livestock breeders, to other research organisations and for veterinary diagnosis. A modern CT scanning unit and a team of specialist staff are available in Edinburgh and at other locations across the UK with a mobile service, for use in a wide range of applications by researchers and external organisations.

We run a CT scanning service for sheep. Scanning using CT is a more accurate method for identifying characteristics which cannot be measured by ultrasound and allows you, among other things, to better identify the best animals in a flock for breeding.

A modern CT scanning unit and a team of specialist staff are available in Edinburgh and at other locations across the UK with a mobile service, for use in a wide range of applications by researchers and external organisations

Uses of CT Equipment

Our CT equipment has been put to a diverse range of uses. It has been used most intensively to predict carcass tissue yields in sheep to accelerate improvements in carcass quality.

This service has been used both by members of sire referencing schemes and by other elite sheep producers operating under Signet who require a better estimate of carcass composition than provided by conventional ultrasound.

The scanner has been used for a range of studies on agricultural and zoo species and for studies on wood structure and strength. It has also been successful in aiding the diagnoses of ailments in companion animals when conventional veterinary techniques have provided equivocal conclusions.

Benefits of CT Scanning (Sheep)

CT scanning allows you to more accurately identify the best animals in a flock for breeding. It assists delivery of rams to the commercial sector that will make a real difference to product quality and profitability.

Used in partnership with ultrasound scanning, in a 2-stage selection program, CT offers the opportunity to accelerate the rates of response to selection, for improved carcass quality, in a cost effective way.

Example: Charollais tup Logie Durno Earl of Dunbar (bred by W & C Ingram) - CT scanning of the whole body found this tup to be in the top 5% of the breed for total lean meat yield. This position had not been possible with on-farm ultrasound scan results taken from the loin only.

CT can provide additional information on characteristics that cannot be measured by ultrasound e.g. muscle shape, muscularity, muscle volume, bone density, internal fat, pelvic dimensions. CT scanning can benefit your breed, improve your product quality and ultimately increase your profits - all vital to ensure business success post CAP reforms.

Your CT scan results predict:

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

These data are sent to you for each individual animal along with their CT images. The results are also included in the Signet Sheepbreeder calculations of estimated breeding values (EBVs).

CT scanning dates 2021

Dear all,
We hope you are all well and surviving in these crazy times.  We are very much hoping to offer CT scanning dates at various sites this year, but please contact us if you have other requirements and we will do our best to fit you in.  We are no longer able to use the facilities at Rugby Farmers Mart, Stoneleigh but have a new site at Stratford-upon-Avon livestock market and we look forward to seeing our usual Stoneleigh flocks there.

Social distancing will always be in place. Breeders will be asked to drop off their lambs at the scanner and return to their vehicles until the lambs have been scanned and are fit to return home.

All dates are subject to Covid restrictions and guidelines at the time.

3–7 May 2021 – Edinburgh
27–28 May 2021 – Stratford-upon-Avon livestock market
21–25 June 2021 – Edinburgh
1–3 July 2021 - Stratford-upon-Avon livestock market
6 and 7 July 2021 – Edinburgh
19 –23 July 2021 – Edinburgh
16–20 August 2021 – Edinburgh
25 and 26 August 2021 – Aberystwyth
13–17 September 2021 – Edinburgh
22 and 23 September 2021 - Tiverton

Charges for 2021

Edinburgh – £72/lamb
Mobile sites – £98/lamb

Subsidy for 2021 with requirements for eligibility

AHDB – (£55 per lamb)

  • Funding is only available for ram lambs
  • Each lamb must be fully performance recorded (with an 8 week and scan weight held on file) and with known parents
  • Breeders must send a minimum of 5 ram lambs per flock (with a selection of sires represented); funding is limited to a strict maximum of 8 lambs per flock
  • Funding in 2021 will be restricted to the following breeds; Beltex, Blue Texel, Charollais, Hampshire Down, Meatlinc, Shropshire, Southdown, Suffolk and Texel
  • Breeders must be based in England

QMS – To be confirmed

HCC – (50% of per lamb cost)

  • Minimum of 5 lambs per flock
  • A maximum of 20 lambs per business/flock
  • Male lambs only
  • Breeders must be based in Wales

Notes

  • Ideally a selection of sires should be represented in the group of lambs you bring for CT scanning
  • Lambs MUST be off food for a minimum of 4 hours before scanning
  • Ideally lambs should be back-fat scanned before they come for CT
  • Lambs should be around 40kg weight at CT
  • Female lambs can be CT scanned but will not be eligible for subsidy
  • Lambs withdrawn within 10 days of the scan date will be charged at the full unsubsidised rate

Backfat and CT scanning sheep at SRUC

Related content

Beef & Sheep research projects

The current projects that we have underway.
Read more

Meet the team

Discover the remarkable people who make up the Beef and Sheep Research Centre team.
Read more