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Scans growing in popularity

Brad Scott says now is the time to organise your sheep preg-test scanning. Picture: JOHN RUSSELLBRAD Scott reckons sheep farmers who leave it to the last moment to organise pregnancy scans for their sheep are like Christmas shoppers who leave their gift buying to the last minute.
Nanjing Night Net

And that’s because there’s a fair chance they are going to be disappointed.

“After all, you wouldn’t leave it to a day or two before the event to hire a shearing team,” said Mr Scott, the principal of Scott’s Scanning Service at Burrumbuttock.

“There’s a few of us who do scanning around the district but between now and August things get very busy.

“And you do not want to be scanning a ewe to see if she is carrying twins, after 100 days of her gestation period, using the ultrasound method we operate, because it is just too hard to be accurate.

“So the time to book in with anybody who is doing your pregnancy scanning for your flock is now.”

Although scanning for sheep has been available in this district for about 20 years and is growing in popularity, Mr Scott, who also runs a mixed farming operation at Burrumbuttock, estimated only about two thirds of farmers were using the system.

“There are two options available to farmers, ‘wet/dry’ and ‘twinning’ and they decide which best suits their needs,” he said.

“The first is the most simple and straight-forward operation as its purpose is to test whether a ewe is in lamb or empty.

“The other tells farmers whether the ewe is carrying twins or not, but involves a more detailed use of the equipment and longer scan of the screen we use.

“At the moment I would say that 70per cent of the work I do is wet/dry but I would expect in the future — possibly within about five years — the reverse will be true.

“The ones which carry twins are the ones you keep breeding from and in this way you gradually build up the fertility of the flocks.

“It can also be used to monitor the performance of your rams.”

Mr Scott operates from a mobile structure, sitting on a seat positioned low to the ground and operates the ultrasound instrument, which also involves the use of water on the part of the sheep being scanned, its belly, and interprets the image that projects onto a small screen in front of him.

Bungowannah farmer Michael Dunn said pregnancy scanning was very important to his operation because of its value as a management tool.

“It determines how I manage my sheep for the next six months,” he said.

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