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Cattle producers are paying premium for Show-Me-Select heifers and counting on genetic returns.

June 8, 2020

3 Min Read
A close up of an ear tag on a heifer
IDENTIFIER: An ear tag signals a heifer in the Show-Me-Select program, which hosts its own sales during the spring and early summer for replacement heifers. MU Extension

Cattle producers looking for proven genetics showed up at sale barns across Missouri in large numbers and paid top dollar for heifers raised using the Show-Me-Select protocol.

Show-Me-Select spring sales offer cattle buyers a chance to add advanced genetics to their operations. A sale-day catalog gives information using expected progeny differences, or EPDs, along with expected calving dates. The SMS protocols set minimum EPDs for sires used.

In addition, each SMS heifer sold receives intensive prebreeding management, giving buyers a sense of security in their purchase.

Sales in the southwest

One of the first sales in May was the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards. According to Eldon Cole, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, the 215 heifers averaged $1,687.

“The sale started off hot with four of the first six lots topping the $2,000 mark,” Cole says. The top price of $2,200 was paid for two red Angus heifers consigned by Kunkel Farms, Neosho. Later in the sale, the $2,200 mark was reached on four black baldy, AI-bred heifers from John Wheeler, Marionville. Wheeler has sold in 32 sales at Joplin Regional Stockyards dating back to 2003.

The top-average-price consignors were Kunkel Farms, six head, $1,933; Marvin Phipps, Cassville, 26 head, $1,906; John Wheeler, 51 head, $1,865; Kathy Wheeler, Marionville, 35 head, $1,719; Aspen Ridge, Carthage, 14 head, $1,696; and Meadowlyn Farms, Cassville, five head, $1,640.

Even though the sale was held under unusual circumstances with the COVID-19 situation, sellers for the most part were pleasantly surprised with the turnout and the strength of the market, Cole notes.

Online bidding ramps up

Only a week later, there was a bred-heifer sale at Vienna’s South Central Regional Stockyards. It was actually the first Show-Me Select sale in central Missouri since 2003, according to MU Extension livestock specialist Anita Ellis, who coordinates the sales for central Missouri.

Sale receipts topped $251,575, and at this sale, online bidding was a popular option. “We had about a 75% increase in producer participation in this area in just one year,” Ellis says.

The 145 heifers averaged $1,735. As usual, heifers carrying AI pregnancies brought a nice premium, averaging $1,805, compared to an average of $1,703 for heifers carrying natural service pregnancies.

Ellis said many of the 17 consignors were “ecstatic with the result of their hard work developing such quality heifers for this sale.” The top-selling lot of two registered Limousin heifers from Little’s Limousin sold for $2,200. Other top consignors were Mike Hagenhoff and Kurt Strope, each with four heifers averaging $1,900.

Above market average

The Northeast Missouri Show-Me-Select Bred Heifer Sale at Palmyra’s F&T Livestock Auction at the end of May saw sales receipts topping $250,000. MU Extension livestock specialist Daniel Mallory reports the 138 heifers averaged $1,815.

The top-selling lot included an AI heifer sold by Terry Mudd of Twin Hill Stock Farm for $2,500. Top consignors for the evening were JB Ranch, with two head for $2,000, and Harold Trump, with six head averaging $1,925.

The AI-bred heifers averaged $1,836, compared to $1,794 for bull-bred heifers. With AI, breeders have access to top genetics in the breed.

“We had an excellent set of heifers, with quality running deep throughout the sale,” Mallory adds. “Producers were pleased with the outcome of the sale, especially considering the current state of the cattle market.”

Jordan Thomas, MU Extension state beef reproduction specialist, encourages producers still seeking fall-calving heifers to attend the remaining Show-Me-Select spring sale June 12 in Farmington.

“This is a program that continues to be a nationally recognized source of high-quality, high-information replacements,” Thomas says.

For more details on the MU Extension Show-Me-Select educational program, contact your nearest field specialist in livestock.

See information on Show-Me-Select heifers and sales, held spring and fall, at agebb.missouri.edu/select. You also can follow the SMS sales for central Missouri at facebook.com/SMSCentralMO.

Source: University of Missouri Extension, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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