The first year of the Sunflower Supreme Replacement Heifer program was a success.
By: Jaymelynn Farney, beef systems specialist, Kansas State University Extension
The Sunflower Supreme Replacement Heifer program has completed the first year for spring calving heifers. The first year of the program, focused in southeast Kansas, had 33 producers from 13 counties join. They enrolled 1,000 head of heifers after the pre-breeding exam and 750 of these heifers were certified in October and November. The heifers that were not certified were heifers that were retained on the operation, marketed prior to certification, or had something disqualifying the heifer from being certified.
At the inaugural sale hosted by the Parsons Livestock Market in Parsons, Kan., 439 spring-bred heifers were marketed on November 14th, 2014. The heifers averaged $2,588 and the total sales equaled $1,136,275. The range of values was between $2,250 and $3,300. Of the Sunflower Supreme branded heifers marketed in the special sale, 371 black and black baldy heifers averaged $2,588 and 68 non-black heifers averaged $2,575.
When comparing average values of heifers that were from the same ranch, in which both artificial insemination (AI) and natural service were used there was a $224 advantage to AI bred heifers ($2,698 vs. $2,474). This same advantage was observed when certified Sunflower Supreme heifers were marketed at the special cow sale in Manhattan, Kan., in December where AI bred heifers averaged $300 more than those that were bull bred.
Fall-calving heifers in southeast Kansas are working through the guidelines for the program and are being exposed to breeding right now. For producers interested in enrolling in the Sunflower Supreme program for spring-calving operations the deadline for enrollment is February 1. If interested visit with your local agriculture agent for information about the program and signing up. You can also find information about the program at www.sunflowersupreme.org or by contacting Jaymelynn Farney at 620-421-4826 ext. 17. Updated guidelines for the program will be posted online by the middle of January, so please look through some of the minor changes associated with the 2015 program.