MU Extension introduces DNA testing for heifer program

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The University of Missouri Extension’s Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program now offers a DNA option for participants, known as Show-Me-Plus.

Jamie Courter, MU Extension state beef genetics specialist, explained that the program aims to educate producers and buyers of Show-Me-Select heifers on the benefits of having DNA information. “For Show-Me-Plus, if the heifer is registered, she would likely have genomically enhanced EPDs (expected progeny differences) through a breed association. If she’s a commercial heifer, then she’s undergone some sort of commercial genomic test,” said Courter.

She emphasized the advantage of this approach, stating, “This means you know more about the genetics of that female, beyond just her appearance and current body condition score. For producers participating in Show-Me-Plus, and for buyers having access to that genomic information, it reduces the risk associated with the purchase, offering insights into how the heifer will perform throughout her life.”

Thiago Martins, MU Extension’s new state beef reproductive specialist, is collaborating with Courter to support MU Extension livestock specialists in their interactions with producers. Martins highlighted the importance of reproductive biotechnologies in improving heifers’ reproductive performance, leading to earlier conception and, consequently, heavier calves. “The use of artificial insemination (AI) allows producers to introduce superior genetics into their herd, resulting in a better calf crop,” Martins explained.

Courter mentioned that the goal of the Show-Me-Select (SMS) program is to develop high-quality replacement heifers that will excel in buyers’ breeding programs. She stressed the commitment to educating Missouri producers on the most effective development methods for these heifers.

Both Courter and Martins plan to visit farms and collaborate with livestock specialists to encourage more producers to join the program. Courter expressed her enthusiasm for the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer program’s positive impact on Missouri’s livestock industry since its inception.

Regional spring sales dates have been announced:

  • 7 p.m., Friday, May 3, at SEMO Livestock Sales, LLC, Fruitland. Contact Darrell Aufdenberg at 573-270-6755 or [email protected].
  • 7 p.m., Friday, May 10, at Farmington Regional Stockyards, LLC, Farmington. Contact Kendra Graham at 573-756-4539 or [email protected].
  • 7 p.m., Friday, May 17, at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Inc., Carthage. Contact Patrick Davis at 417-276-3313 or [email protected].
  • 11 a.m., Saturday, May 18, at Kingsville Livestock Auction, Kingsville. Contact David Hoffman at 816-380-8460 or [email protected].
  • 4 p.m., Saturday, May 18, at South Central Regional Stockyards, Vienna. Contact Chrisee Brandl at 573-642-0755 or [email protected].
  • 6 p.m., Saturday, June 1, at F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra. Contact Daniel Mallory at 573-985-3911 or [email protected].

For more information on the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program or to enroll heifers, visit this link or contact the regional extension livestock coordinator for your area.

The deadline to register for the fall breeding season is September 1.

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