Show-Me-Select sales hit $2,200 per head for top heifers

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Joplin sale tops figures for Kirksville event on same day

Beef herd owners from four other states took home replacement heifers from the Show-Me-Select sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Nov. 17.

The 315 heifers future mama cows averaged $1,867, with top prices at $2,200 per head. This compared to a sale of half that size the same day at the Kirksville Livestock Yard. There, 147 bred heifers sold at an average price was $1,872, where the top priced heifers sold of $2,100 and $2,025.

According to Eldon Cole, livestock specialist for the University of Missouri Extension, top sale price often goes to only one lot. This time in Joplin, three lots totaling 19 head from three consignors took sale top bids.

Top-price lots were from John Wheeler, Marionville; DJV Ranch, Edwards; and Marvin Phipps, Cassville.

Buyers came from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa, but mostly from southwestern Missouri. The Iowa buyer bid online.

In Kirksville, third-high individual lots at $2,000 per head were sold by Kevin and Beth Strange, Edina, for seven head, and Randy Baker, La Plata, five head. All top sellers were bred through fixed-time artificial insemination.

Bennett Angus Farm, Browning, was second-high consignor, with an average of $1,918 for registered Angus heifers.

Randy Miller of Galaxy Beef consigned 32 head for an average $1,878 for Angus and Red Angus. He was third-high consignor.

Overall, 92 of 147 head sold in Kirksville were bred through artificial insemination, which allows owners to use top proven sires in a breed. This was only the third Show-Me-Select sale in the northeast Missouri town. According to David Patterson, Extension beef specialist, some bidders have not yet learned the value of calving ease and short calving seasons, traits perpetuated through artificial insemination.

The Joplin sale was the 37th Show-Me-Heifer sale this year. Cole, who acted as sale coordinator, said the spring and fall sales are organized by farmer members. All heifers are from Missouri herd owners taking part in the MU Extension heifer program.

At Joplin, the premium bonus for Tier II artificially inseminated heifers was $266 over sale average and a bonus of $377 over heifers bred by bulls.

The most recent class addition is Show-Me Plus, the heifers from herds with genomic tests. Those are for known breeds or commercial heifers. Different tests are used for each breed. Most top-selling heifers were Show-Me Plus.

Over time, consignors build reputations. For example, John Wheeler, after 27 sales and more than 1,200 heifers, is known for quality black-baldies. Those are Angus-Hereford cross heifers. The result is black heifers with white or mottled faces. Crossbreeding gives a genetic edge called heterosis.

The sale catalog gives an expected calving date for the heifers. Those bred by fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI), all bred in one day, can have a specific birth date. Although that date can vary, as different cows can have different gestation days. Now, ultrasound pregnancy checks give more accurate calving dates.

The two sales Friday night were first of six fall sales. Coming sales: Kingsville, Nov. 25; Fruitland, Dec. 2; Farmington, Dec. 8; and Palmyra, Dec. 9. The fall heifers will calve next spring, from February to April.

Herd owners wanting to boost quality and prices can join the SMS heifer program by contacting their county MU Extension center. For more information, visit

Many veterinarians promote the extension program for their clients. It reduces midnight calls in winter to pull a calf.

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