Show-Me-Select heifer sale at Fruitland, Mo., averages $2,644.
By: Duane Dailey, University of Missouri
Beef herd owners paid an average of $2,644 per head, a new record, for Show-Me-Select replacement heifers at Fruitland Livestock Auction, May 3.
The top lot of four heifers averaged $3,200. The 136 bred heifers topped sales back to 1997.
All had superior genetics and management. They are from the University of Missouri Extension heifer development program. Increasingly, top-selling lots are bred by artificial insemination.
"People realize they can pay more for proven AI genetics," said David Patterson, MU beef specialist. Patterson developed the MU heifer program starting in 1996. It brought attention to calving-ease genetics, but now includes much more.
"Quality and genetics on the heifers in this sale were the best we have had," said Roger Eakins, Show-Me-Select coordinator for southeastern Missouri. "Producers realize most risk has been eliminated and heifers add value to their herd."
Originally, 250 heifers were consigned, said Eakins, extension regional livestock specialist, Jackson, Mo. Some sold early when offered good prices. Others kept heifers to expand their herd.
The next sale will be 7 p.m., May 16, at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Mo. The sale offers 265 crossbred and purebred heifers.
"About 90 percent are black or black-whiteface heifers," said Eldon Cole, MU Extension livestock specialist, Mount Vernon, Mo.
"I'm getting more calls about this sale than ever before," Cole said. "They all ask the same thing: How much will they bring?"
Cole, manager of that sale, can be reached at 417-466-3102.
The heifer sales come at a time when the U.S. cow herd is at the lowest level in six decades. However, signs point to herd expansion as supplies of beef boost prices.
The sale flyer is on the MU AgEBB website.
There are only two spring sales, both in southern Missouri, selling fall-calving heifers. Sales will be held across the state this fall selling replacements for spring-calving herds.
The farmer-consignors organize the sales. Any herd owners interested in improving their herds can enroll in the yearlong extension educational program.
The program is based on research at the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard, Mo. It is part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Research there developed protocols for fixed-time artificial insemination. That system is now used around the world.
The plan includes more than proven genetics. All heifers are checked before breeding to assure they can conceive and then deliver a live calf.
Buyers find calving season takes less work with Show-Me-Select heifers. More live calves are born in a shorter time with timed breeding.
Show-Me-Select heifers carry a black-and-gold ear tag with the trademark logo.
Heifers in the sales are sold guaranteed to be pregnant. They are pregnancy checked twice before being sold.
All consignments are checked by graders from USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture on arrival at the sale barn.