Show-Me-Select heifer prices stay strong in Farmington sale

FARMINGTON, Mo. – Prices stayed strong this year for beef heifers at the Show-Me Select Replacement Heifer sale, Farmington Auction Market, April 15.

The 168 heifers for fall-calving herds average $2,070. Prices ranged from $1,800 to $2,500.

The top price went for a registered Angus from Turner Farms, Belgrade. Kevin Owens, Fredericktown, bought it.

Consignors with the highest average were Dean and Dallas Wilson, Dittmer. Their 12 head of Angus cross heifers averaged $2,317.

“Heifers sold well considering how unstable cattle markets are now,” said Kendra Graham, Farmington, sale manager. She is regional livestock specialist with University of Missouri Extension. Local beef producers organized the sale.

“Prices held up good,” said David Patterson, MU Extension reproduction specialist, Columbia. “It’s a strong start for four Show-Me-Select spring sales.”

The sale was not only first of the year, but also for this region. Local producers joined to start the sale in the east-central Ozarks. Other sales are across the state.

Heifers are consigned by farmers in the yearlong MU Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer educational program. The SMS program started to improve calving ease, which cuts death loss both in newborn calves and first-calf heifers.

Now MU protocols for genetics and management go far beyond that. Producers learn that steermates to SMS heifers have added value from price premiums at packing plants.

The extension program was started by Patterson based on research in the beef herd at the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard.

Protocols have improved the use of artificial insemination. AI allows use of the best sires in a breed. Other traits, besides calving ease, are added.

In this sale, 62 percent were AI bred and 38 percent bull bred.

When planning the new sale, local breeders worked together in selecting sires for calves to offer.

“We had a lot of like genetics in this sale,” Graham said. “Buyers had the opportunity to put together a good set of uniform heifers bred to the same AI sire.”

Some buyers took advantage of that option by buying large numbers of heifers. They sold old cows and bought young stock with better genetics. The top three buyers brought, respectively, 21, 28 and 35 heifers.

Graham said 95 percent of the heifers stayed in the region. One bidder was from out of state.

Experience at other sales show that over time, some buyers come back to buy from the same herds. “Repeat buyers help make a strong sale,” Patterson said.

Graham added, “I’m excited about expanding the Show-Me-Select program.” After the sale, three herd owners asked about joining.
Remaining sale places, dates, times and managers are:

*Fruitland (Mo.) Livestock Sales, May 7, 1 p.m., Erin Larimore, Jackson, 573-243-3581.

*Joplin Regional Stockyards, May 20, 7 p.m., Eldon Cole, Mount Vernon, 417-466-3102.

*F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra, June 4, 6 p.m., Daniel Mallory, New London, 573-985-3911.

Details on Show-Me-Select are on the MU Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board at agebb.missouri.edu/select. Persons interested in SMS can sign up through their regional extension livestock specialist.

Only heifers wearing ear tags showing the black-and-gold trademark can be sold as Show-Me-Select.