COLUMBIA, Mo. – The market for spring calvers in the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program proved strong at fall 2022 sales, with top buyers paying in the $3,500 per head range at some sales.
Buyers paid an average of $2,638 for Show-Me-Select heifers on Dec. 2 at the SEMO Livestock Sales auction in Fruitland. The average was an impressive jump from the 2021 average of $2,112, says sale coordinator Erin Larimore of University of Missouri Extension.
The greatest value came from females bred by artificial insemination that brought a $360 premium over their natural-bred counterparts, says Larimore. AI breeding allows access to top genetics, which buyers equate to top performance as well as precise calving dates. Several top-selling lots included Tier II heifers, which allow buyers to capture proven genetics.
“All heifers attending the sale were home-raised with extreme amounts of data and information backing them,” she says. “Years of selective breeding, utilizing industry-leading technology, carcass and feedlot performance and top management create the attraction.”
Top seller was Turner Farms, Belgrade, averaging $3,133 on three Registered Angus heifers. Masters Farms, Cape Girardeau, had the highest-averaging commercial heifers at $2,864 on 17 head. Top bidder was Steve Boyers, Poplar Bluff, paying $3,400 for a pen of two AI-bred heifers from Masters Farms.
Top averages came at the F&T Livestock barn in Palmyra. Now in its 26th year, the sale had a strong offering again in 2022 with 276 head. Sellers there saw an average price of $2,471, with the top lot, owned by Prairie View Farms of Monroe City, selling at a whopping $3,800. Sales totaled $682,050 in the final SMS sale of the year.
“Longtime participants and repeat buyers know the consistent quality that this program delivers and are willing to bid to get them,” says MU Extension livestock specialist and sale coordinator Daniel Mallory. “The northeast region of Missouri was not hit as hard as other regions of the state by the 2022 drought, and that keep confidence higher.”
Longtime SMS participant Greg Drebes of Prairie View Farms sold the top lot of the year. He says the program helped make him become a better producer by making his heifers more productive. “Show-Me-Select has allowed our customers to purchase heifers to calve in the time they want and not have to worry about the heifers that don’t breed,” Drebes says. “This allows producers to remove the poor reproductive females from their herd. I believe it has been a very important part of making our state cattle producers more profitable.”
Across the state, sellers saw similar interest and bumps in bids. Bidders at the Kingsville Regional Stockyards sale paid an average of $2,234, with the top seller at $2,700. This compares to 2021 numbers of $1,882 per head.
Joplin Regional Stockyards at Carthage saw buyers average $2,093 per head on 152 head. This compares to an average of $1,790 in 2021. The top heifer brought $2,700.
At Farmington Regional Stockyards, the average price paid was $2,071 per head on 99 heifers.
Show-Me-Select heifers gained fame for calving ease, which cuts death losses and labor at calving. Spring and fall SMS auctions across the state bring higher bids for calving-ease genetics.
The Show-Me-Select heifer development program takes nearly a year to complete. Heifers usually receive exams four to eight weeks before breeding. These exams include pelvic measurement, reproductive tract score and weight record. Heifers may be bred artificially or by natural service. Service sires must meet specific calving-ease expected progeny difference (EPD) requirements based on breed.
All heifers must be pregnancy tested within 90 days of breeding by a veterinarian to determine expected calving date.
Heifers undergo an extensive health program during the development period. They receive vaccinations at weaning, pre-breeding and pregnancy examination and are treated several times for parasites. MU Extension livestock specialists and Missouri Department of Agriculture graders also screen for blemishes, condition, muscling and structural soundness.
For more information, contact your local MU Extension livestock specialist or visit http://muext.us/sms.
— MU Extension