Weekly Update: 27/05/16

New Ultrasound Scanning Machines to Capture Lamb Muscle Depth and Backfat

  • Today (Friday 27th May) Sheep Ireland scanning technicians are on the UCD farm at Lyons Estate to complete training on how to use a set of new Ultrasound scanning machines. These machines will be visiting our LambPlus flocks throughout the summer to record muscle and fat data. This data is very valuable to the €uro-Star evaluations and collecting it annually will remain a focus of the LambPlus programme.
  • We have no choice but to replace our older machines as they are simply too old and are no longer serviceable. The new machines will be a major improvement and will hopefully contribute to capturing more accurate data, due mainly to far greater scan image quality.scanning

Capturing Lamb Carcase Data

  • In 2016 we will be placing a major focus on capturing more carcase data from our sheep processors around the country. All of our processors are more than willing to provide this data so it’s just a case of coming up with the mechanism to incorporate this data into the Sheep Ireland database that doesn’t require too much effort on each side.
  • In 2016 we will use our CPT flocks to carry out some correlation work on the accuracy of the Ultrasound scanning’s ability to accurately predict the final carcase data. All of our CPT lambs are EID tagged at birth and this will facilitate easier, more reliable data capture at processor level.

Plans for Ultrasound Scanning 2016

  • The deadline for LambPlus breeders to notify us of their intention to carry out ultrasound scanning in 2016 was Sunday 22nd May. We received texts from a large number of flocks and have started arranging flock visits already. The first ram sale taking place this summer will be a sale of Suffolk rams in Blessington on 2 nd July. This sale will be closely followed by the Vendeen premier sale in mid-July. Flocks attending these sales will be prioritised for scanning in the next 2 weeks. Sales catalogues for these sales are prepared weeks in advance, hence the urgency to get these flocks scanned as soon as possible.

Important Requirements for Scanning this Year

  • We will be insisting that LambPlus breeders carrying out scanning this year present all performance recorded lambs to our scanning technicians when visited (males & female lambs). While we will not be insisting that all lambs are scanned, we will weigh and score all lambs for a number of health traits. Our plans to launch a new €uro-Star health index in 2017 is completely dependent on our ability to collect data from our LambPlus flocks. Collecting a weight on all lambs will also help to maximise each LambPlus breeder’s Data Quality Index (DQI) score. The DQI will appear on all €uro-Star sales catalogues this summer.