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Tender for Ultrasound Scanning Equipment

Signet Breeding Services is a department within AHDB currently providing performance recording sheep and beef cattle within the UK. Signet scans around 50,000 sheep each year and a smaller number of beef cattle.

Equipment is required for two services (sheep and beef scanning) for which two different probes may be needed and for which there are two different "reporting" procedures.

A few further details on our scanning technique are provided below, but for the full specification and the ability to bid for this service please go to "Contracts Finder"

The contracts finder reference URL:

In all instances, potential suppliers must email the AHDB Procurement Team. 

If you are interested in receiving further documentation, please email [email protected]

Closing date for submissions: By 9am on Monday 10th February 2020


Signet Scanning Services 

The ultrasound scanning of sheep and cattle requires the use of a real-time ultrasound imaging system which must be portable and be able to withstand "on-farm" conditions. Images must be taken externally using non-evasive techniques, ideally without the need for clipping the fleece or coat of the animal.

Liquid paraffin is applied to the skin of the animal over the 3rd lumbar vertebra so that contact can be made with the probe in a position 90º to the backbone to obtain an image in the loin area of the animal (loin chop in sheep; sirloin in cattle).

The probes need to make direct contact with the skin without the use of a stand-off. Once an acceptable image is available on screen, the image must be frozen to enable measurements to be taken with the use of the imaging system's screen callipers.

In the case of sheep, the four text measurements (three fat, one muscle) will be required to be downloaded directly onto a laptop using a USB data transfer connection. Additional data will be entered directly onto the laptop such as date, ID, weight, gender, management group as part of a specialised AHDB designed software package.

In the case of beef, the nine measurements (four fat, one muscle at the 3rd lumbar and four fat at the last rib) will be manually recorded onto paper (other data will also be recorded such as date, ID, weight, gender, management group). Electronic collection into a laptop software package will not be necessary for beef cattle.

The solution proposed must be of a model which would be fully serviceable and repairable in the UK for the period of the contract and therefore obsolete models will not be considered an acceptable proposal.


About the author

Samuel Boon

Samuel Boon

I am the Manager of Signet Breeding Services, within the AHDB.

Enthusiast on all things genetics to do with sheep and cattle and currently also supporting Bridget Lloyd in running the @RamCompare progeny test with ~18,000 lambs/annum.

I am also involved with the:-

  • Relaunch of Terminal Sire Breeding Programmes (Sheep)
  • AHDB lead for the Welsh Sheep Breeding Project run by HCC - working with Innovis, HCC and Janet Roden
  • Database design and development for this website
  • National Sheep Breeds Survey
  • Development of Carcase Trait EBVs in Beef Cattle
  • Formerly involved with the delivery of the Welsh Sheep Strategy, Northern Upland Sheep Strategy, Suckler Cow Project, Highlands and Islands Sheep Strategy

I can be followed on Twitter @SamBoonBreeding