Heifers veer from $1,717 average price in spring’s third Show-Me Select sale

  • Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2019

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Bidders were selective at the 40th Show-Me-Select replacement heifer sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards on Friday, May 17.

Bidders knew what they wanted and bid for quality in those areas.

Average price on 240 head from the beef quality program hit $1,717 per head. But that average doesn’t tell the story, said sale coordinator Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist.

The top average price of $2,250 went to a lot of five. Those were from John Wheeler, Marionville, for his famed black-whiteface AI-bred heifers. Wheeler has sold in 30 sales.

Cole recalled in recent sales that red heifers with known genetics drew strong bids. Not this time. Bidders went for black heifers or black baldies.

After the sale, Cole did the math. The top five consignors sold 125 heifers averaging $1,998. Those were black. The low nine consignors sold 115 head averaging $1,413. Those were red with some other colors.

That’s a $585 spread, Cole found out.

All heifers in Show-Me-Select sales are from farmers enrolled in the MU Extension heifer program. Only heifers that meet strict rules on management and genetics get the black-and-gold trademark ear tags.

Now, more heifers are bred by fixed-time artificial insemination. That gives small farms access to the best sires in a breed.

Over time, AI gained in superior calving genetics and top carcass quality.

In this sale the AI-bred heifers averaged $1,820, compared to bull bred heifers at $1,620. That’s a $200 premium.

Dave Patterson, MU Extension reproduction specialist who developed the SMS program, says repeat buyers at a sale help boost average prices. Those buyers know added value received.

After the sale Patterson said he sensed among buyers uncertainty about future beef prices. Volatile beef prices were on a down trend last week. Unexpected news on tariffs and export trade hit the markets.

Unlike most commercial heifer auctions, SMS sales offer catalogs made day of sale providing genetic information. DNA tells a story on quality.

Sale coordinators say bidders buy data with the heifers.

The Show-Me-Select program adds value to heifers retained in the herd or sold as replacements. Most stay in the home herds.

Only Missouri producers consign to the sales. Bidders from any state are welcome. Participants can join by contacting regional extension livestock specialists.

The last of four spring sales of fall-calving heifers is 6 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra.

All heifers sold in the spring sales will calve this fall. This fall, the spring-calving heifers will be sold. There are fewer spring-calving herds.

Heifers are sold guaranteed pregnant. All are checked upon arrival at the sales by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Heifer research and development protocols are from MU Thompson Farm, Spickard. That’s part of the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, Columbia.

SMS program details are at extension2.missouri.edu/programs/show-me-select-replacement-heifer-program.

Writer: Duane Dailey

Media Contact

Eldon Cole
417-466-3102

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