Bred heifer buyers think short grass, bid $1,598 average at Palmyra sale

Cattle in ring at sale

Hot, dry weather with short grass growth slowed bidders at the spring sale of Show-Me-Select replacement heifers in northeastern Missouri, Saturday, June 2 with 134 calving-ease bred heifers averaging $1,598 in the final of four spring sales in the state.  The heifers will calve this fall.

“It was a tough but successful sale,” said Daniel Mallory, coordinator and regional University of Missouri Extension specialist, New London. “Many farmers have depleted hay supplies. Short rainfall set the tone.” Observers noted that short grass this spring affected the finish on some heifers. However, there were more registered buyers and more actual buyers, Mallory said. SMS sales continue to gain fame.

The top consignments came from longtime producers with the top average price per consignor was $1,723 to MU Greenley Center, Novelty. The center’s top price was $1,800. As with all consignors, the center uses protocols from research at MU Thompson Farm, Spickard.  Second high consignor average of $1,705 went to James Penn family, Edina. Their top individual price hit $1,725.  Third high average price per consignor was $1,700 to Prairie View Farms. That’s Greg Drebes, Monroe City, who’s consigned for 22 years.

Dave Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist, said it’s repeat buyers who improve prices. Consignors in the longest have the most past buyers.  Greenley Center and Prairie View had heifers rated Tier Two. Those have stacked genetics. The heifers are out of top proven bulls, bred to proven bulls. They also used fixed–time artificial insemination. All are bred on the same day, giving a short calving season.

Patterson started the program in Missouri. All heifers consigned are from herd owners enrolled in the SMS education program. Both genetics and heifer management of heifers improved. Heifer care starts before breeding.  Calving ease and shortened calving season are major attractions.  In this sale, 54 percent of the heifers were bred by artificial insemination. That allows for use of the top proven sires in a breed.

In the Palmyra sale, most heifers are black or black baldies. Some had Red Angus sires.  Zac Erwin, MU Extension specialist, Kirksville, said spring calving still dominates in northern Missouri. Those sales will be this fall.  While bidders were slow, they will be pleased with calf prices next spring, Erwin said. “Those fall calves next spring might bring what buyers paid for these heifers.”  It’s not the market but the feed supply that reflects bidder worries, Erwin said. “Low hay supply, low hay yield and little rain doesn’t make anyone excited to own anything bred right now.”

The auction is at F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra. Champion auctioneer Brian Curless cries the sale.  New breeders can join the SMS program by contacting their regional MU Extension livestock specialist.