Ultrasound Flow Chart
Click here for Flow Chart.
  1. Submit Weaning Weights to Obtain Barnsheet.
  2. Steps for Image Collection
    1. Determine Age at Scanning.
    2. Select a Field Technician.
    3. Prepare for Scanning.
    4. Collect Scan Weights.
    5. Assign Contemporary Groups.
    6. Determine Test Type.
    7. Determine Diet.
  3. Field technician submits ultrasound images to authorized lab.
  4. Authorized lab reports interpretive data to the American Angus Association (AAA).
  5. AAA returns ultrasound reports/summaries to breeder.

Reminder: Natural service or AI calves must have a weaning weight reported meeting all contemporary group criteria for Angus's weekly genetic evaluation in order for ultrasound data to be utilized in the calculation for carcass EPDs. This means at least two calves of the same sex from the same weaning contemporary group must be place in a correct ultrasound contemporary group for the ultrasound data to be utilized.

Submit Weaning Weights to Obtain Barnsheet

Weaning weights must be submitted prior to ultrasound scanning. Weaning weights must be taken when an individual calf is between 120 and 280 days old. Submit a calving and weaning report to the Performance Programs department when a group of your calves are near an average age of 205 days old. Click here for more information on submitting performance data.

Establishing proper contemporary groups is essential in providing accurate and predictable performance records necessary to generate EPDs. A contemporary group is a set of two or more calves of the same sex and similar age that have been managed under similar practices. Contemporary groups should include as many animals as can be accurately compared. For more information on contemporary groups click here.

The Performance Programs department will process the calving and weaning information as part of the Association's database. Ultrasound barnsheets are included with the weaning reports and summaries once the data has been processed. Barnsheets must be completed by the breeder and given to the technician at time of scanning to be included with the scans when they are sent to an Authorized Lab for processing.


The preprinted barnsheet that is included with the weaning reports/summaries includes the herd ID, tattoo, sex, birth date, registration number of calf (if available), dam's tag, and dam's registration number. Every animal scanned must be on the barnsheet. If an animal does not appear on the barnsheet, the breeder must provide this information to the field technician for inclusion on the barnsheet at time of scanning.

Barnsheets may also be created and printed through AAA Login. To preview your barnsheet, enter the beginning and ending birth dates, specify animal sex, and sort order of animals. Printing instructions are located above the search criteria.

If you do not have a barnsheet, contact the Performance Programs department at 816-383-5100. To view a sample barnsheet, Click here.

Steps for Image Collection

Determine Age at Scanning

In order to process ultrasound data, animals must be scanned within the proper age window.

Ultrasound Age Windows for Angus Bulls and Heifers

Bulls:     320-440 days
Heifers:     320-460 days

Select a Field Technician

An ultrasound image that is to be interpreted by an authorized processing lab must be collected by a certified Field Technician. Click here to get a list of field technicians. The technicians listed have been certified by the Ultrasound Guidelines Council (UGC) and have met the technical requirements with respect to the collection of ultrasound images.

Scanning fees are determined by the ultrasound field technician. The field technician will invoice the breeder directly for the scanning fees. There is no charge for processing ultrasound data at the Association.

Prepare for Scanning

  • It is suggested that all animals be scanned in a squeeze chute, with side panel doors, to ensure image quality and ease of scanning.
  • Cattle must be dry in the region of scanning and out of direct/bright sunlight to allow the field technician to see the images on the monitor.
  • Provide a grounded 110-volt outlet.
  • Cattle must be clipped and cleaned in the region of scanning with no more than 1/2 inch of hair in scanning area.
  • If the outside temperature is too cold, supplemental heat must be provided for equipment and oil.

Collect Scan Weights

The breeder must collect individual weights within seven days of when the animals are scanned. Weights are to be taken in the morning prior to any feeding. The animals should not have access to overnight feed prior to weight collection. It is preferred that animals be held off both feed and water overnight. This weight is to be used in the prediction of empty-body weight so gut fill should be minimized. The weights are to be recorded on the barnsheets and given to the technician for submission to the authorized lab along with the ultrasound images.

Assign Contemporary Groups

Each contemporary group should encompass same sex calves, managed and treated alike, from the same weaning contemporary group, to be considered a proper contemporary group for ultrasound. All animals within a contemporary group are to be scanned on the same day or over no more than three consecutive days. An example would be: If ten animals from the same weaning contemporary group are scanned on the same day, they will be in the same contemporary group for ultrasound.

Yearling bulls and heifers that are sent to a central test can be included in national cattle evaluation procedures for carcass EPDs. To be evaluated, the test animals must be in a proper ultrasound contemporary group. The above paragraph explains contemporary grouping. An example of a proper contemporary group would be: Two or more bulls from the same weaning contemporary group, taken to a central bull test, will have carcass EPDs generated relative to their weaning group. In contrast, if just one bull is sent to a bull test, that bull will be evaluated as a contemporary group of one. If two bulls from separate weaning contemporary groups are sent to a bull test, those two bulls will be evaluated as separate contemporary groups of one. It is important to note that the bull's own scan record will not be used to calculate EPDs if the bull is a single animal in a contemporary group. Thus, if any parent of this bull has interims, then the bull will have no carcass EPDs.

Many breeders will scan their yearling animals at the same time other yearling traits are being measured. If the scan weight is to be used as a yearling weight, the breeder is responsible for submitting the weight as a yearling weight to the Association. The scan weight will not automatically be used as a yearling weight.

Determine Test Type

Test type describes the management of the animals.

R=Ranch Test (bulls)
C=Central Test (bull test)
D=Developing heifers

Determine Diet

The diet code describes how the animals were fed.

  1. Unknown
  2. 0% concentrate (no grain, on pasture, some hay)
  3. Less than (<=) 50% concentrate (Example: whole corn silage, or supplemented with hay)
  4. Greater than (>) 50% concentrate (Example: full feed, show feed, bull test)

Field Technician Submits Ultrasound Images to Authorized Lab

Ultrasound scans collected by a field technician on each animal include the following:

  1. Rump fat thickness
  2. Rib fat thickness
  3. Ribeye area
  4. Percent intramuscular fat (marbling)

After ultrasound images have been collected, it is the responsibility of the field technician to submit the images to an authorized lab for interpretation, along with a completed barnsheet. The average processing time for images to be interpreted and the data submitted to the Association is seven working days, assuming no errors are found. The interpretive data from the scans are then sent to the Association for adjustments, EPD calculations and summaries that are provided to the breeders.

AAA Returns Ultrasound Reports/Summaries

Once the ultrasound data have been received by the Association, the breeder will be contacted by a AAA representative if errors are present. (Example: missing weaning weights, or animals not found in the system). If no errors are present, the data is processed and posted on AAA Login the next business day. Ultrasound summaries are mailed to the breeder. The data can also be emailed if the field technician has included such information as forwarding instructions to the authorized lab.

The breeder will receive ultrasound summaries for Herd ID Order and Sire Order along with average progeny ratios for both sires and dams.

Individual ultrasound measurements are adjusted to 365 days for bulls and 390 days for heifers, and those measures are used as part of the EPD calculations.

Authorized Labs

International Livestock Image Analysis (ILIA) Cup Lab
Harrison, AR

Ames, IA

UltraInsights Processing Lab, Inc.
Pierce, CO

NOTE: If you have any questions, contact the Association at 816-383-5100 or

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