Hypor has signed a cooperation agreement with ultrasound technology company, Biotronics, in the research testing of the new BioQStation to improve the speed and animal safety of ultrasound scanning. The BioQStation Concept, introduced by Biotronics at the 2016 World Pork Expo, is a new product under development that integrates the BioSoft Toolbox II with BioQscan autoprocessing technology and the BioPigLift into a station for pig immobilization, weighing, scanning and auto processing for backfat depth, loin muscle, and intramuscular fat (IMF).
The BioSoft Toolbox II is an ultrasound image capturing and processing software for live animals that Hypor has utilized for multiple swine breeding herds. Per the agreement with Biotronics, Hypor is also now using the new BioPigLift—a crate with a lift apron to immobilize the pig for ultrasound scanning. This technology is used in addition to the BioQscan Pork Carcass Grading system, autoprocessing and other features for the pork packing plant.
The new technology is an improvement to the traditional use of real-time ultrasound technology used by genetic companies that can be cumbersome, time consuming, and in some cases, dangerous to both the ultrasound operator and the pig depending on facilities and scanning protocol.
By utilizing the new BioQStation™ , Hypor will greatly improve both the speed and safety of pig scanning. For example: the only physical manipulations with the animal will be getting the pig into and out of the crate. Once the pig is in the crate, a mechanized apron safely lifts the pig off the floor of the crate.
When the pig loses all foot traction, it becomes virtually immobilized. At this moment, the operator applies an ultrasonic couplant (i.e. vegetable oil or gel) to the skin of the pig in the region to be scanned, and lowers the transducer fixture—a mechanism holding the ultrasound probe—into position to begin the scanning process.
The transducer fixture is suspended by a properly sized counter-balance to ensure that the device is essentially weightless. This also allows the transducer fixture to be moved longitudinally so that the probe can be located precisely over the anatomically correct location for scanning.
The cooperation agreement with Biotronics allows Hypor to utilize better ultrasound technology and image analysis tools for significant improvements in body composition and quality measurements to improve genetic progress.