MasterScan – which offers ultrasound scanning services – was established last year by Melvin Masterson – a UCD Animal Science graduate and pedigree cattle breeder.
The 23-year-old – who hails from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford - has a keen interest in animal breeding and fertility.
“Ultrasound scanning of cows always fascinated me. I love working with animals so an office job was never for me.” Melvin told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
“I have always liked the idea of working for myself and the flexibility it brings with part-time farming.”
MasterScan specialises in both arm-free and conventional methods and offers a pre-breeding scan and a regular pregnancy scan.
One of the company’s unique selling points is its arm-free scanning service which is completed using an Easi-Scan bovine ultrasound scanner.
It gives a high-quality ultrasound image, which increases diagnostic accuracy at any stage of the bovine reproductive cycle.
“Arm-free scanning has proven to be much less stressful on cows with no forcing after scanning when compared to conventional arming of the cow.”
“This method is ideal to identify and age pregnancies up to 120 days post-breeding. It is 100% accurate when used correctly.”
How does it work?
The ultrasound probe is placed into the introducer which is about 1-inch in diameter; this introducer is then inserted into the rectum of the cow to gain a view of the reproductive tract. A diagnosis can then be made and given to the farmer.
“The introducer allows a crush full of cows to be scanned compared to scanning one by one when arming.”
“This new method is also much safer for the scanning technician. Cows can also be scanned during milking on rotary parlours.” Melvin said.
“Any clients who have tried the arm-free method do not go back to conventional.”
Melvin said that the ideal time to scan is 30-120 days gestation for the most accurate ageing of the foetus. “Both arm-free and arming methods are 100% accurate when used correctly.”
“Traditional methods will always play a role for pre-breeding, foetal sexing and late scanning.” He added.
The benefits of scanning cows
A pre-breeding scan allows you to identify your problematic cows; these can be treated prior to the commencement of the breeding season, therefore helping to tighten the calving pattern and reduce the empty rate.
Pregnancy scanning helps to identify cull cows and cows which would be carried consuming extra feeding had they not been scanned.
“It also gives the farmer accurate dates which aid with sire identification of calves and feeding during the dry period,” Melvin explained.
“It is a no brainer to scan cows. The return on investment is enormous for both pre-breeding and pregnancy scanning.”
Looking forward, Melvin hopes to continue to develop his new business by growing his client base.
“I take great interest and pride in my work. All equipment and clothing are thoroughly washed and disinfected between herds to ensure no spread of disease.” He concluded.