Heifer Prices

Buyers Paying More in Spring Replacement Sales

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Interest in quality replacement heifers continues to grow, even as the industry reports overall contraction in herd size. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo by Becky Mills)

Spring heifer sales are wrapping up for Missouri's Show-Me-Select consignors. Prices on bred replacement heifers in the month of May were up compared to 2020, as were the number of head available at the sales. Buyers seemed eager to get back into the swing of the sale this year.

University of Missouri Extension's Anita Ellis noted the May 21 sale at South Central Regional Stockyards in Vienna had a full house and what she described as "lively bidding."

"It was a great sale," said Ellis. "Between all of the hard work of the sale barn staff and the consignors themselves, it ran like a well-oiled machine."

Reports from five sales, taking place between May 7, 2021, and May 21, 2021, showed premiums for artificially inseminated (AI) replacements compared to natural service bred heifers.

Average price per head, across all heifers, ranged from a high of $2,067 during the May 7 sale at SEMO Livestock Sales in Fruitland to a low of $1,751 during the May 21 sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage. The number of heifers available at the Fruitland sale totaled 108, while the number available in Carthage was 256.

Comparing this data to 2020 sales in the month of May, last year's prices for all Show-Me-Select heifers sold ranged from a high of $1,815 during the May 30, 2020, sale at F&T Livestock Market in Palmyra to a low of $1,687 per head during the May 15 sale at Joplin Regional Stockyards in Carthage. There were just four May sales in 2020, compared to five this year.

What types of bred replacements were producers paying a premium for? The best of the best appeared to be Tier II AI-bred heifers. These averaged between $2,327 per head at the SEMO Livestock Sales offering in Fruitland where there were 18 of these heifers available to $1,900 per head at the Joplin Regional Stockyards sale in Carthage where there were just eight available. To qualify for Tier II AI in the program, accuracy of the heifer's approved sire must meet minimum accuracies at the time of sale for calving ease direct, calving ease maternal, weaning weight, carcass weight and marbling.

Natural service heifer prices averaged from $2,008 per head at the 2021 Kingsville Regional Stockyards sale in Kingsville to $1,624 per head at the Joplin Regional Stockyards sale in Carthage. In 2020, the range was slightly lower at $1,794 to $1,600.

The Show-Me-Select program includes a number of eligibility requirements. To enroll in the program, producers work through their regional Extension livestock coordinator. Heifers must be owned by Missouri residents at least 60 days prior to breeding. There are vaccination requirements, prebreeding evaluations, breeding protocols and preg checks. Eligible sires must be registered with their respective national breed registry and have complete EPD information. If used in an AI program, sires must have a minimum accuracy value and meet calving ease EPD requirements. All natural service sires must have GE-EPDS.

For more information on the program, and to see a list of coming sales for 2021, go to https://extension.missouri.edu/….

Victoria Myers can be reached at vicki.myers@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @myersPF

Victoria Myers