Spring sales of Show-Me-Select replacement heifers are set in four auction barns across the state in April, May, and June.
Spring sales offer bred replacement heifers for fall-calving herds, says Dave Patterson, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist. All heifers sold meet strict standards taught in MU Extension’s Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program. Only owners enrolled in the yearlong program sell in the marketing program. Approved heifers carry SMS trademark ear tags.
Sale times, locations and coordinators:
-Farmington Livestock Auction, April 19, 7 p.m. Kendra Graham, Farmington, 573-756-4539.
-Fruitland Livestock Auctions, May 3, 7 p.m. Erin Larimore, Jackson, 573-243-3581.
-Joplin Regional Stockyards, May 17, 7 p.m. Eldon Cole, Mount Vernon, 417-466-3102.
-Palmyra, F&T Livestock Market, June 1, 6 p.m. Daniel Mallory, New London, 573-985-3911.
The sales are run by farmers enrolled in the Show-Me-Select program. Sale coordinators are MU Extension livestock specialists.
All heifers are checked upon arrival at the auction by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Heifers are guaranteed by the consignors to be pregnant. About 90 percent of all heifers enrolled in SMS have been exposed to artificial insemination. This allows access to top genetics in a breed.
Catalogs printed the day of sale by local extension offices show data. Specialists say that buyers bid for genetic potential and breeder reputations.
Many buyers find it easier to buy bred heifers than to breed replacements within their farm herd. Coordinators know that repeat buyers make a sale. After buying once, return bidders know the value they get from SMS sales.
In 20 years of the heifer program, standards have risen. Some herds DNA-test all females. This year, any bull bought after Feb. 1 must have genomic-enhanced expected progeny differences (GE-EPDs). No bull can be advertised as Show-Me-Select without the GE-EPD.
Unlike most auctions, buyers coming early view the heifers in backlot pens before sales. Most consignors bring handouts or answer questions about their heifers.
The catalog gives expected calving dates. With timed AI, dates become more precise. Timed AI allows shorter calving seasons. That cuts labor.
Herd owners wanting to raise SMS heifers sign-up before breeding season, spring or fall. Contact can be made through local MU Extension centers.