Australian Livestock Scanning Services Group

The results and recommendations from 23 years of on-property R&D with commercial sheep and cattle producers. We specialise in precision scanning for pregnancy, twinning, and ageing of foetus in sheep and cattle and in helping to raise lamb survival and cow fertility in stud and commercial breeding enterprises.

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7. The benefits and pitfalls of scanning

The benefits

The identification of empty, single and twin bearing ewes and the correct management of these ewes and their progeny will result in higher productivity as a result of:

  1. Improved cash flow (sale of dry ewes).
  2. Paternity identification in AI & ET programs.
  3. Improved lamb survival, particularly in the late-lambing single-bearing ewes.
  4. Enabling the selection of the most fertile ewes.
  5. Reduced ewe death rates.
  6. Identification of problems contributing to low lamb marking performance.

Better quality lambs:

  1. Heavier weaners because there will be fewer, "tail end" lambs.
  2. More efficient use of pasture and supplementary feed leading to reduced feeding costs and improved drought management.

Improved overall flock management:

  1. The separation of early and late lambing single-bearing ewes which improves lamb survival and enables the earlier born single lambs to be marked before the later born lambs are ready to be marked.
  2. The separation of ewes, pregnant to AI/ET from those pregnant to a backup ram.

Improved quality of the wool produced:

  1. Higher S/P ratios in lambs born as twins.
  2. Higher secondary follicle population, lower mean fibre diameter, and lower CV of fibre diameter, and increased staple trength in twin bearing and rearing ewes.
  3. Reduced moisture and dust penetration in the fleeces of twin bearing ewes.

The pitfalls

Scanning will not pay if it is not accurate because it will increase the death rate among twin-bearing ewes and twin born lambs and among later-lambing, single-bearing ewes and their lambs. The consequences of these errors are serious (see: Handling, Accuracy)