Upturn in bred heifer prices brings smiles to sellers, buyers at Palmyra
- Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019
PALMYRA, Mo. – Before the last Show-Me-Select heifer sale this fall, quiet talk told of lackluster prices at five prior sales across the state.
Talk perked when results of the Dec. 14 sale were tallied: 229 heifers averaged $2,017.
That prompted whoops and brief applause at F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra.
Some previous sale averages as low as $1,651 seemed too low for bred replacement heifers with known data.
After the Saturday sale the crowd lingered to talk. The news brought smiles for consignors and buyers.
When sought for a quote, sale manager Daniel Mallory, a University of Missouri Extension field specialist in livestock, could only say: “Unbelievable.”
Later, he could add, “We had a great crowd. The consignors brought excellent quality.” Records showed repeat buyers bought 73 percent of the heifers.
Dave Patterson, MU beef specialist and founder of Show-Me-Select, always says, “Repeat buyers make a sale. They know what they’re getting.”
When he arrived at the sale barn, Patterson noted the large number of pickup trucks with livestock trailers. That meant buyers came to buy a load of heifers.
As the auction started, the F&T Livestock sale arena was packed. There were bidders to buy and herd owners coming to learn. Bidders soon made themselves known. By the ninth lot sold, heifers started regularly topping $2,000 per head. The first heifer had sold for $1,500.
At the end, heifers from Keithley-Jackson Farm, Frankford, Mo., averaged $2,621. That topped the 17 consignor averages. Ed Jackson, manager, has sold in every Palmyra sale for 23 years. He was in from the start.
He typifies many longtime consignors. Get in and stay in. Also, he follows the MU Extension protocols on heifer management and breeding.
He raises crossbred heifers, with Angus sires bred to Hereford-Angus crossbred cows. A walk through the barn before the sale shows many black baldies.
Over time, longtime sellers gain reputations for their cattle. Their buyers come back for more.
Reputations for heifers from northeastern Missouri include their body condition scores. They are raised in corn country, many with homegrown feed.
Another factor in the successful sale was bidders from across the river in Illinois. The sale sheet shows 12 Illinois buyers took home 67 heifers.
No other state has a heifer development program similar to Show-Me Select. Dave Patterson tells of buyers from 22 states across the country since the start more than two decades ago.
Plans are underway in two Missouri regions to add the Show-Me-Select program and sales. Cow herd owners in the central Ozarks and northwestern Missouri are set to take action.
Interested breeders can make contact to join through their local MU Extension center. Only heifers from enrolled owners are let into the sales. Only Show-Me-Select heifers wear the black-and-gold ear tag.
Writer: Duane Dailey
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