Bids grow stronger in third sale of Show-Me-Select heifers

Beef Heifers

With a strong start on bidding, the first lot of heifers averaged $2,250 at the Kingsville Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer sale, November 24.

Big bidding set the stage for higher prices early in the sale of 237 head of bred heifers. Final average was $1,832.

The sale at the Kingsville Livestock Auction topped the two previous averages at Joplin and Kirksville. Three fall sales remain.

That opening lot of two black Simmental crossbred heifers was consigned by Crooks Farm, Leeton, Mo. Buyer was Luke Utterback, Pleasant Hill. Crooks Farm, operated by Alvin and Doug Crooks and Howard Early, had the highest average price of $1,970 on their consignment. They consigned in all sales for 20 years.  The second-high average on a consignment came from Bob and Alex Nuelle, Higginsville. Their average was $1,961. They are 19-year producers.  The third-high average of $1,933 came from a two-year producer, Randy Steckly, Garden City. He offers black baldies of Angus-Hereford cross and SimAngus crosses. Data in the catalog show strengths.

All heifers sold are from herd owners enrolled in University of Missouri Extension programs to improve management and genetics. Calving ease became a top advantage sought by buyers. Much more has been added.

The Show-Me-Select program was started by Dave Patterson, MU beef reproduction specialist, Columbia.  At all sales this fall, buyers have shown concern about shortages of pasture and hay following the 2018 drought.  Repeat buyers coming back for heifers from longtime consignors make a sale, Patterson said. Reputations help sale prices. Buyers get heifers known to make quality beef.

First-time consignors often take time to attract repeat buyers.  Genetics grow stronger in herds following the MU breeding protocols.  The SMS sales provide sale-day catalogs showing data on EPDs (expected progeny differences).  Increasingly, more heifers are bred with fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI). That’s when heifers are bred on the same day. This cuts time in calving seasons. Not all are born on the same day.  Buyers like the short time needed to check calf births.

Calving ease is a combination of genetics and management. Calving ease EPDs are set by rules of the SMS board of directors. Those are beef farmers who run the sales.  Before breeding season, veterinarians rate reproductive tracts of heifers. The vets also measure pelvic sizes to assure safe calving. Farmers and vets like fewer heifers needing help at birth. More calves are born live.

Out-of-state buyers helped boost sales. Rozanne Holloway, Auburn, Kan., bought 43 head. Fellow Kansan Trevor Hart of Lane bought 11 head.

Missouri’s big volume buyer was John Wetzel, Town, and Country purchasing 27 head.

Dates, times, places and local MU Extension coordinators for remaining sales:

• Dec. 1, 11 a.m., SEMO Livestock Sales, Fruitland; Erin Larimore, 573-243-3581.

• Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Farmington Livestock Sales; Kendra Graham, 573-756-4539.

• Dec. 8, 12:30 p.m., F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra; Daniel Mallory, 573-985-3911.