What a sale!” said sale coordinator Erin Larimore about the $2,099 average price for replacement heifers at the Show-Me-Select sale in Fruitland, Mo., December 1.
The fourth of six fall sales kept the upward trend in prices. Two sales remain for heifers raised with protocols from the University of Missouri Extension animal scientists.
Larimore, a livestock specialist, Jackson, Mo., said quality continues to improve. Almost half the heifers rated Tier II in their breeding. Those are Show-Me-Select out of Show-Me-Select mother cows bred to high-accuracy sires. The offering was small, 64 head, but the crowd was big. The fall sale offers heifers bred to calve from January to April.
The top sale price average per head for a consignment was $2,700 for registered Angus heifers. They were from Turner Farms, Belgrade. Heifers consigned by Glen Birk Farms, Jackson, averaged $2,356. Those were six lots of registered or commercial heifers. Masters Farm, Cape Girardeau, sold six lots at an average of $2,259 per head. Five of those lots were with advanced Tier II genetics.
The auction was at the SEMO Livestock Sales. The first sale in Fruitland was 21 years ago. Top prices went to longtime consignors. With time, consignors build reputations from satisfied customers. “The repeat buyers make a sale,” said Dave Patterson, MU Extension beef reproduction specialist. He brought the idea of improved breeding to Missouri 22 years ago. Previous sales were at Joplin, average $1,586; Kirksville, $1,716; and Kingsville, $1,832.
Future sales are at Farmington and Palmyra.
The MU protocols improve management and genetics in beef cow herds. Initially, the main trait attracting buyers was calving ease. That cut death losses in first-calf heifers.
Now all heifers have pelvic measurements before breeding to cut heifers’ need for assistance at calving.
In addition, more heifers are bred by artificial insemination (AI). That allows the use of top sires in a breed. Even small herds gain access to top genetics.
With fixed-time AI, all are bred on one day. That shortens the calving season next spring. Producers prefer less labor at calving. With timed AI, not all calve on the same day, but most deliver in a two-week window.
All Show-Me-Select heifers wear a black-and-gold trademarked ear tag. Tier II heifers have white ear tags. No heifers can be sold under that name without that certification. Heifers are sold guaranteed pregnant. Entries are inspected on arrival at the sale to assure they meet standards. Graders are from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
At the sales, many consignors told of problems this year. Weather affected pasture growth. The heat affected breeding and conception rates.
The two remaining sale dates, times, places and coordinators are December 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.
Missouri herds only are eligible for the SMS program. However, buyers can come from anywhere. So far, SMS heifers have gone to 19 states.
Producers can sign up for the SMS yearlong educational program through regional MU Extension livestock specialists. Local centers have information.
The MU Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board has details at agebb.missouri.edu/select.
Research for heifer development came from the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard. That is part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.