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CT scanner to make quick work of animal yield measurements

State of the art CT scanner to make quick work of animal yield measurements

Sheep and Deer farmers in the South Island can now benefit from faster and more accurate carcass measurements, thanks to a new CT scanner in Mosgiel. The scanner, which uses X-Ray technology to create cross-sectional pictures of the body, is a valuable tool for determining meat yield in livestock.

The new CT scanner is being provided by INNERVISION, a joint venture between Landcorp Farming Ltd and AgResearch. It replaces an older scanner that had been in operation for eighteen years.

CT scanner scientist Neville Jopson said the new scanner was considerably faster than the old machine, scanning a whole carcass in around two minutes compared to as much as two hours previously. The ‘spiral scanning’ feature takes measurements over the entire carcass rather than single slice views at set points, providing a much better understanding of composition.

“This level of detail means even greater accuracy in determining fat and lean in a carcass or meat cut. That’s massively important for people like meat processors who want to accurately calibrate their carcass grading applications.”

“We will be able to process up to 80 animals a day, so the farmers will be pleased we can produce quick results to assist them with identifying desirable meat characteristics for their breeding programme. And the industry will welcome the gold standard level of accuracy,” he said.

The CT scanner will be mainly used to scan farmed sheep and deer. It offers non-invasive indications of meat yield by accurately measuring muscle and fat in the hind leg, loin and shoulder regions. Genetic analysis of those measurements is then used to determine breeding values for New Zealand farmers.

Dr Jopson said genetic progress over the past eighteen years was considerable.

“As a selection support tool, the CT scanner has been of tremendous benefit to fast-tracking genetic selection. The sheep of today produce considerably more saleable meat off much heavier and leaner carcasses than they did two decades ago.

“We’re now looking at what a farmed animal will look like in 10 years’ time. On-going investment in the technology and expertise is forward thinking - for farmers, researchers and the industry. It is an increasingly important tool to help maintain New Zealand’s leading edge status in global protein markets.”

The scanner replaces the current one at AgResearch Invermay in Mosgiel and will be operated by AgResearch staff.


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