Buyers ignored recent slipping prices in the cattle markets to keep on bidding at the Show-Me-Select Heifer sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Nov. 20.
“I figured we’d be lucky to average $2,000,” says Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, Mount Vernon. “I didn’t expect to see an almost $2,500 average.”
In all, 293 bred heifers sold. All come from herds enrolled in the MU Extension replacement heifer improvement program.
While the overall average was $2,477, the breakdown by breeding categories shows strong demand for quality. Tier one heifers bred by artificial insemination (AI) averaged $2,592, compared with an average of $2,318 for the bull-bred. That bonus is $274 for AI breeding.
With time, new layers of improvements are being added. Heifers labeled “Tier two AI” brought an average of $2,871. Tier two heifers are out of proven sires and bred to proven sires.
Sires used in the Show-Me-Select program must meet higher standards in performance and accuracy.
The first SMS sale of the season returned $725,850 to the 20 consignors.
The sale peak price of $3,200 each on five heifers went to Gilmore Farms, Aurora, which also had the high average of $2,975 per heifer on eight head total. Those were crossbred Angus-Hereford heifers.
Second-highest average of $2,838 went to Circle S Chicks, Dusty and Valene Sturgeon, Stark City, on 40 head. Those were Red Angus heifers
Third-high average of $2,685 went to John and Janet Massey, Aurora, on 10 head. They consigned Angus-Simmentals. Massey, a former MU Extension specialist, has missed only one sale in 20 fall sales.
A close fourth-high average of $2,651 went to John Wheeler, Marionville, on 38 head. Wheeler, another long-term consignor, specializes in black-baldy Angus-Hereford crosses.
Repeat buyers coming back to buy replacements from herds of known quality make a good sale, said Dave Patterson, MU Extension specialist and founder of the SMS program.
This year, 21 of 39 buyers had bought before. They took home 55 percent of the heifers, Cole says. Buyers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas took home Show-Me heifers.
“Lots of heifers are being saved to rebuild cow herds,” Patterson says. “Build with quality. And nothing compares with the consistent quality of the Show-Me-Select heifers.”
The MU Extension program started with an emphasis on improving calving ease, which results in more live heifers and their calves. Much more has been added to the quality of the genetics in the breeding program.
Show-Me-Select is much more than calving-ease genetics. Steer mates to the SMS heifers bring premium prices at market.
All heifers are sold, guaranteed pregnant, after two pregnancy checks before the sale. Missouri Department of Agriculture graders inspect the heifers for soundness on arrival at the sale.
Research at the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard, shows a high percentage of the steers from the SMS protocols now grade USDA prime at the packing plant. Those bring bonus prices.
The AI breeding adds genetics from the best bulls in a breed. Timed breeding of all cows on one day brings a uniform calf crop.
Three sales remain for the spring-calving heifers. Sale times, places and sale managers are:
- Nov. 28, Kingsville Livestock Auction, 11 a.m. David Hoffman, 816-380-3581.
- Dec. 5, Fruitland Livestock Sales, 1 p.m. Erin Larimore, 573-243-3581.
- Dec. 12, F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra, 12:30 p.m. Daniel Mallory, 573-985-3911.
“If you are building a beef herd for the future, add more than numbers,” Patterson says. “Add quality as well as cows.”
Source: University of Missouri Extension