Eldon Cole said, frankly speaking, he did not expect it. The Extension livestock specialist for the University of Missouri was talking about the Show-Me-Select Heifer sale that took place November 20 at Joplin Regional Stockyards, bringing an average of nearly $2,500 per head.
"I figured we'd be lucky to average $2,000," Cole said of the sale that moved 293 head of bred heifers, all from herds enrolled in the state's replacement heifer improvement program.
A breakdown by breeding category showed buyers are still paying for quality, and prefer heifers bred by artificial insemination (AI). Tier one AI heifers brought on average $2,592; Tier one bull-bred heifers brought an average of $2,318. Tier two AI heifers had an even stronger showing, bringing on average $2,871 per head. Tier two heifers are out of proven sires and bred to proven sires.
There were 20 consignors in this first Show-Me-Select sale of the fall season, all together they earned $725,850.
Gilmore Farms, from Aurora, saw the peak price for the sale at $3,200 each on five heifers. They produce Angus-Hereford crossbred heifers. The Red Angus heifers from Circle S. Chicks of Stark City, brought the second highest average price of $2,838 per head.
The Show-Me-Select sale draws a lot of repeat buyers each year. David Patterson, Extension specialist and founder of the program, reported that of the 39 buyers at this sale, 21 had purchased through the program before. Buyers came from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
All heifers in the sale are guaranteed pregnant, and have been inspected for soundness prior to the sale.
Going back to the Show-Me-Select spring sales, this most recent report shows prices trending down. For comparison, the May 2 Show-Me-Select sale at Fruitland Livestock Auction, placed 213 heifers. Average per head price overall was $2,743, $266 more than the most recent fall sale. Tier I AI heifers averaged $2,758 at the spring sale, $166 more than in the fall sale; and Tier II AI heifers averaged $2,877 at the spring sale, just $6 more than in the fall sale.
Cole said that while there is a downward trend in prices, it could be worse.
"The market has been pretty brutal the last two months on all classes of cattle," he said. "The cow-calf and replacement heifer trend is not down as dramatically as feeders and finished cattle however."
He anticipated prices for the next three Show-Me-Select sales would be higher than those set at the November 20th sale in Joplin.
"Show-Me-Select sales here in Missouri have a pattern you can almost take the bank and predict. Our sale [at Joplin] is always the first one and quite frequently brings the lowest prices. The other [fall] sales traditionally will out-sell our heifers. Part of it is geography of the state and the conservatism of buyers in the southern areas here. The other thing is that this sale is almost all commercial heifers, but when you look at Fruitland, for example, you will see more purebred consignors and you would expect those animals to attract a higher dollar value."
The three remaining Show-Me-Select sales this year include: Kingsville Livestock Auction (November 28), Fruitland Livestock Sales (December 5) and F&T Livestock Market at Palmyra (December 12).
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