As 2018 came to a close, five fall sales across Missouri proved two things are true in today's bred heifer market: first, average prices have fallen since 2017; second, in a competitive bidding environment averages don't really matter.
The December 7, 2018, sale at Farmington Livestock Auction, saw 74 Show-Me-Select bred heifers go for an average per head price of $2,334. Tier II AI heifers rung the bell hard at an average price of $2,730 per head. In both cases, averages exceeded 2017 levels, which were respectively $1,790 and $1,731.
Kendra Graham, livestock field specialist with the University of Missouri and coordinator for the auction, attributed some of the upturn in price to competition at the sale, coupled with high quality heifers. Buyer turnout was high, and there was an added source of bidding through an online auction forum, which brought sales on three lots.
"We had a set of buyers that had picked heifers they really wanted," Graham said. "One buyer, in particular, was starting a new herd and he was willing to pay for that level of quality he wanted. Price was not as much of an issue. He wanted AI-bred animals."
The December 1, 2018, sale at Fruitland Livestock Auction also showed increased prices compared to 2017. Average per head price was $2,099, compared to $2,010 in 2017. Tier II AI prices averaged $2,223, compared to $2,080.
Three other sales rounded out the fall auction season for Show-Me-Select, and in those cases prices reflected an overall downturn in the market. The Kirksville Livestock sale, held November 16, 2018, brought an average per head price of $1,717, compared to $1,872 in 2017. The same day at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, the average sale price was $1,586, compared to $1,867 in 2017. At Kingsville Livestock Auction, the sale held November 24, 2018, reported an average price of $1,832, compared to $1,968 in 2017. And the sale at F & T Livestock Market, held December 8, 2018, brought an average price of $1,880, compared to $2,118 in 2017.
Even though prices trended down on the whole, Bryan Evans, a new consignor out of Vandalia, was one of many who saw dividends from his participation in the program. His heifers took the top price of $2,880 per head at the F & T Livestock Market sale. His home-raised black and red Angus crossbreeds were Tier II heifers, which means they were out of Show-Me-Select cows and bred to top proven sires.
Show-Me-Select bred heifers are all out of Missouri herds, with both AI and natural service heifers available. All heifers go through prebreeding reproductive evaluations, have identification, pelvic area and reproductive tract scoring, are vaccinated, weaned, and on sale day will weigh a minimum of 800 pounds and be at a body condition score of 5 to 8. They are confirmed bred 30 days prior to the sale.
For more information on the Show-Me-Select program, or to see the next set of sale dates starting April 2019, go to http://agebb.missouri.edu/…
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