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To investigate the use of X-ray CT in the prediction of carcass conformation in live animals - LS0202

Hill sheep play a major role in maintaining the rural economy of upland areas and are the second most important genetic contributors to total slaughter lamb carcasses. Traditionally they have been selected for their ability survive and produce lambs in harsh environments. This has lead to the development of smaller and hardier breeds, which produce carcasses of small size and moderate conformation which do not meet the main market requirements. It is against this background that ADAS Redesdale is doing a long term experiment which aims through genetic selection to improve the carcass quality (weight and conformation) of hill sheep. Within this project good progress has been made towards increasing carcass weights but progress towards improving carcass conformation is being hampered by inadequate live animal measures of conformation. Developing a more accurate predictor of conformation in live animals is fundamental to the success of this and other breed improvement projects. X-ray computer tomography (CT) is potentially a technique which will allow accurate measures of conformation in live animals but as yet unproved in this respect in the UK. The aims of this proposal is to use CT scanning to predict conformation in live Scottish Blackface sheep and to use this information with the established breed improvement programme at ADAS Redesdale. In addition CT scans are available for use in commercial breed improvement programmes. Information gained will be of use in improving selection indices for carcass comformation in hill sheep thereby increasing their value, and hence help ensure financial viablity of hill sheep farmers and the continuation of livestock farming in LFAs.
Project Documents
• Final Report : To investigate the use of X-ray CT scanning in the prediction of carcass conformation in hill sheep and to use this information in a breed improvement programme   (180k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1997

To: 2002

Cost: £199,606
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Animal Production              
Livestock Farming              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study