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Reproductive performance in cow-calf operations is one of, if not the most important factor affecting profitability in a herd. Several economic studies have suggested that reproductive traits are 5 to 10 times more important than growth traits and 5 to 20 times more important than carcass traits in determining the net profitability in an operation. Therefore, achieving high levels of reproductive efficiency should be the top or one of the top goals of any cow-calf operation.
Ultrasound technology is by no means a new technology. Its use in live animals was first described in 1950 by J.J. Wild. He described its use as nondestructive and humane and as a tool that could be used in live animals to quantify muscle and fat tissue. Since that time, ultrasound technology has continued to advance and more recently has seen increased application and use in the livestock industry. Currently, research and application of ultrasound technology in the livestock industry is continuing. Potential areas of application in the livestock industry include: carcass trait measurements on live animals, use in veterinary medicine and reproductive management.