Bred heifer prices continue to edge up in many areas, based on recent reports from a series of spring sales across Missouri. The University of Missouri's Show-Me-Select program, known for bringing top-of-the-line bred replacement heifers to the marketplace, recently wrapped up four auctions where average cost of a bred heifer came in at $1,800. This was an increase over last spring's average of $1,673. This average includes all heifers in the sale, across all classifications.
Looking at the trend in more detail, the June 1 auction at F and T Livestock Market in Palmyra, reported 87 bred heifers sold for an average price of $1,857 each. High lot sold for $2,100 per head, low lot for $1,500. By comparison, the spring 2018 Palmyra sale brought an average of $1,598 per head—$259 less.
The sale at Farmington Regional Stockyards in east-central Missouri, April 19, reported 116 bred heifers sold for an average price of $1,737 per head. The high lot sold for an average of $2,300, low lot for $1,300. Prices for this sale in 2018, averaged $1,555 per head—a $182 difference year to year.
SEMO Livestock Sales hosted the May 3rd auction at Jackson. Bred heifers sold numbered 117, bringing an average price of $1,891 per head. High lot sold for $3,900, low lot for $1,400. Last year's sale brought an average of $1,787 per head—$104 less.
The May 17th sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards brought the largest number of heifers, at 240. Here the average sales price was $1,717 per head. High lot sold for $2,250, low lot for $1,100. A year ago, the average at this sale was $1,752 per head. That means for this sale, the upward price trend reversed, declining by $35. That could have been the result of about a 30% increase in number of bred heifers offered for sale this year. In 2018, the auction brought together 191 bred heifers.
Looking across the four sales, it was apparent buyers were willing to pay premiums for AI-bred heifers over those bred by natural service (NS). Prices for AI-bred heifers across the auctions averaged $1,868, versus $1,728 for NS-bred heifers.
A series of six, fall Show-Me-Select sales begins in November. Early speculation is that bred heifer prices in the upcoming fall sales could well exceed the spring numbers. Last year 1,057 head were sold across the fall auctions, at an average of $1,908 per head.
Kendra Graham, livestock field specialist, University of Missouri Extension, says enrollment numbers in the program are lower this season. Fewer available bred heifers could well drive prices higher, given the strong demand for Show-Me-Select animals.
Sales typically include lots of Angus, AngusX, Red Angus, SimAngus, and Charolais Cross. The University of Missouri Extension uses the program to help improve the overall quality of the state's cattle industry, and as a means of expanding working relationships among farmers, veterinarians and livestock specialists.
The Missouri Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program has been bringing quality replacement heifers to market for over 20 years. Its popularity makes it evident producers are willing to pay a premium to bring high quality genetics into their herds. Missouri ranks second in the nation for total number of beef cows with more than 2 million across the state. Since 1996, Show-Me-Select sales have sold over 30,000 cattle.
For details on the program and a list of upcoming sale dates and locations, go to: www.agebb.missouri.edu/select
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