News & Media

Sheep open day to showcase X-ray research technology

Released on

Released on:
Monday, 12. March 2018 - 14:45

A new X-ray machine used in sheep research to improve on-farm productivity will be on display later this month at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Katanning Research Facility open day on 22 March.

The machine is being used by researchers at Murdoch University and the department to better understand how differences in the body composition of sheep affect how efficiently they use feed.

Murdoch research officer Sarah Blumer will demonstrate to attendees the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) machine.

“The DEXA is being used as part of a project to develop optimum condition score targets for maternal type ewes, and will help us to understand how sheep use the energy provided to them,” Ms Blumer said. 

“The national project is led by Murdoch University, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia and based at Katanning.

“Sheep with the same feed intake will apportion this energy to fat and lean tissue differently, and we want to better understand how this affects feed efficiency and the reasons behind this.

“Being able to objectively quantify the proportions of fat and lean tissue by using this scanning technology allows us to improve our understanding of how to select sheep that are more efficient and resilient.”

Attendees at the 22 March event will also learn about how to maximise profits by using the latest drenching recommendations for autumn.

Department veterinary officer Danny Roberts said prime lambs grazing green pastures during the winter growing season (April to October) should not be allowed to accumulate high scour worm burdens.

“Accumulating high scour worm burdens will not only decrease the live weight and carcase at slaughter but will also directly decrease the dollar value received,” he said.

“To avoid losing money on prime lambs at slaughter, preparing low scour worm burden paddocks is essential.”

The ‘Farmer wants a life’ open day is being delivered by the department in partnership with the Sheep Alliance of WA.

It will be held on Thursday 22 March 2018, from 10am to 4.30pm, at the department’s Katanning Research Facility, on Nyabing Road. To register, please email Julia Smith

More information is available from the department website

Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, DPIRD media liaison  +61 (0)8 9368 3937