AI-bred heifers get premium bids in Kingsville Show-Me-Select sale

  • Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Average price for bred heifers was $1,767 in the third Show-Me-Select fall sale. It was the biggest of six sales so far. Ten consignors offered 231 head at Kingsville (Mo.) Livestock Auction, Nov. 30.

AI-bred heifers averaged $1,805, compared to $1,667 for bull-bred heifers. “That $138 bonus shows buyers know value in artificial insemination,” said David Hoffman, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, Harrisonville. “Also, they like early-bred heifers.”

With fixed-time AI (FTAI) all heifers can be bred in one morning. Bulls spread their work over months. Also, AI breeding offers top genetics in a breed. FTAI brings more uniform calf crops. That saves time at calving and adds value to feeder calves.

Sale consignors also learn value from FTAI in their own herds. This year there were 167 AI entries and only 64 bull-bred heifers.

“Show-Me-Select heifers are ‘high-information’ heifers,” says Jordan Thomas, MU Extension beef specialist. “Buyers know information is worth something.” Each sale offers a catalog printed on sale day with data on each heifer. Sales are learning events for buyers and sellers.

All heifers sold are from beef farmers enrolled in the MU Extension educational program. Most have been enrolled for years with their own herds improving with SMS data.

The SMS protocols emphasize management starting before breeding. The plan carries through to pregnancy checks just before the sales.

With calving-ease management and DNA, death losses in calving season drop. With FTAI, calving time is shortened. Owners spend fewer nights checking during calving.

Over time, Show-Me-Select calves improve with stacked genetics. Those Tier 2 heifers bring bigger premiums as well.

Repeat buyers pay more, sale organizers have learned. But Hoffman noted that more new buyers appeared this year to bid. “They’ve heard of added value for the program,” he said.

Three fall sales remain: Fruitland, Dec. 7; Farmington, Dec. 13; and Palmyra, Dec. 14. Sale information is available from MU Extension centers in Cape Girardeau, St. Francois and Ralls counties and at agebb.missouri.edu/select.

Writer: Duane Dailey

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