Windy Ridge Ultrasound

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  cup ultrasound services


The cattle industry is evolving toward marketing cattle based on carcass merit. In order to satisfying consumer demands, packing plants are paying premiums for desirable traits and discounting undesirable traits. Feedlots in turn want cattle that will produce the greatest marginal return.

What can you do?

Develop the high quality beef demanded by our consumers.

Ultrasound enables producers to know the carcass merit of their cattle and subsequently, assist them in developing an elite herd who's progeny can be marketed for top dollar.

Ultrasound has been proven to be extremely accurate in evaluating carcass characteristics and developing breed Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs). Today ultrasound measurements must be collected by an Ultrasound Guidelines Council UGC certified field technician and analyzed by a Centralized Ultrasound Processing CUP lab. Because carcass traits are moderately to highly heritable, improvements in herd genetics can be made in a relatively short period of time. CUP Ultrasound provides producers with one more tool by which they can selectively breed for desirable traits.

What cattle should I CUP ultrasound?

As with all traits, the more cattle that are measured, the more accurate and useful the genetic information will be. It is important to provide an accurate contemporary group to allow you to make comparisons WITHIN your herd. Selecting only the best cattle will provide misleading results when ranking animals within your herd and developing EPDs.

The value in ultrasounding replacement heifers has often been overlooked. Having carcass data on all females entering your herd will greatly improve the value and accuracy of their progeny records. In addition, it will allow you to make informed decisions about the carcass merit of females making up your future cattle herd.

Several commercial cow/calf operations are beginning to see the benefit of ultrasounding their replacement heifers. See Show and 4H for more information.

When should I ultrasound my cattle?

Because cattle are typically slaughtered at around a year of age, ultrasound measurements made at this time are most accurate in showing the potential of progeny destined for slaughter. In order to qualify for genetic evaluations (EPDS) cattle must be scanned at the appropriate time. Each cattle breed association has slight differences, but averages are 320 - 440 days. Heifers are often done later to allow genetic differences to show because they are usually not fed as hard as bulls.


Bulls (days)

Heifers (days)


320 - 440

320 - 460


320 - 430

320 - 430


320 - 410

320 - 410


301 - 530

301 - 530


320 - 430

320 - 430


320 - 440

320 - 460


300 - 440

300 - 440

What does CUP ultrasound measure?

Ultrasound measurements are taken between the 12th and 13th ribs (same place they are split and graded in the packing plants).

Percent Intramuscular Fat (%IMF) or Marbling is an important measurement due to grid premiums and incentives for Choice (AAA) and Prime cattle.

Ribeye Area (REA) gives an indication of overall carcass muscling. Recent studies have revealed a significant correlation between carcass rib eye area and average daily gain just prior to slaughter. Meaning that animals with larger REA's had better gains longer into the feeding period.

Fat Depth (backfat, rump fat) greatly influences lean meat yield or amount of saleable meat product. Progeny from cattle with genetics for too little fat may finish too slowly, while progeny from cattle with too much fat will incur yield grade discounts before a desirable carcass is obtained. Furthermore, female and bull reproductive abilities are influenced by fat depth.

What should I do after CUP ultrasounding my cattle?

Upon investing money into ultrasounding your cattle, it is essential to promote this information to your customers and potential customers. With premiums being paid for high quality carcasses, more and more commercial breeders are asking for ultrasound data. The days of selling commodity beef are limited, therefore, it is in your interest to create and market an elite herd of high quality carcass cattle.

Ultrasound data will provide you with more opportunity to market your cattle for top dollar. Learn how the genetic carcass information of your cattle can complement the cattle of your potential customers. Because these carcass traits are moderately to highly heritable, positive changes can be made in a herd in a relatively short period of time.

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