Show-Me-Select heifer sales command high prices
Palmyra sale brings highest prices of four spring events
The fourth and final spring Show-Me-Select heifer sale, run by the University of Missouri, topped the average price of all at $1,928.
“Buyers were light, but bidders came to buy heifers,” said Daniel Mallory, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist based in New London.
The Palmyra sale sold 120 heifers from 12 consignors. They went to 16 buyers.
The top price was $2,550 at F&T Livestock Market on June 3. That was for a single black-baldy heifer from Richards Farm in Keytesville. She was a Tier Two, AI-bred.
Price averages for the other sales: Farmington, $1,813; Fruitland, $1,764; Joplin, $1,714. Tops at the first two sales were $2,500 per head. The top at Joplin was $3,200. Those were for a new class of SMS heifers called Show-Me-Plus. Those heifers were tested with a genomic prediction panel.
Increasingly, bigger premiums are paid for heifers with advanced genetics. The Tier Two heifers bred AI now bring a $400 average premium over Tier One heifers bred to bulls.
Mallory noted that many new buyers came from northern Missouri and Iowa. Consignors were mostly longtime members of the MU Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program.
“That shows the quality of the program,” Mallory said. “Farmers see the added value built for the past 21 years.”
All who consign take part in a yearlong education program from the University of Missouri, Columbia. The program teaches management as well as genetics. Producers learn the value of ultrasound pregnancy checks soon after breeding season. Pre-breeding exams help cull heifers that may not work as replacements.
Growing popularity goes to timed artificial insemination. That allows picking from the top proven sires in a breed. With timed AI, all cows are bred in one day. That brings a uniform calf crop in age and size. Those sell for more to feedlot buyers.
The spring sales offer heifers bred to calve in the fall.
Weather affected sale attendance more than usual this year. The southeastern Missouri sale met heavy flooding in the area. The southwestern Missouri sale conflicted with an F1 tornado.
Weather hit the Palmyra sale. Many potential bidders stayed home to plant soybeans or finish delayed haying. Wet weather early delayed farm work. With a good day, many stayed home to work.
Fall sales will have bred heifers for next spring’s calving.
The idea of Show-Me-Select was brought to Missouri by David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist. The work with heifers built on earlier MU work on production testing of bulls.
Only heifers enrolled in the program can wear the trademark SMS logo ear tag.
Heifers are checked on arrival at the sale barn by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This assures they meet standards.
Fall sale dates will be at agebb.missouri.edu/select. Sale summaries are posted now.
Producers can enroll their herds through their regional MU Extension livestock specialist.