Show-Me-Select Heifers Topping $3,500

Spring Calvers Paid Strong Prices for Bred Heifers

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Strong interest in fall 2022 Show-Me-Select Heifer sales was reflected in high numbers of sold heifers and strong prices. (Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri's Daniel Mallory)

Final numbers are out for the University of Missouri's Show-Me-Select (SMS) replacement heifer fall sales, revealing especially strong numbers as spring calvers looked to add females to their herds.

A total of 851 heifers sold across six fall 2022 auctions in Missouri. This was a significantly lower number than buyers saw for fall 2021 when 1,035 replacements were marketed.

The 2022 fall sales started with three in November, based at Kirksville Livestock LLC, Kirksville; Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage; and Kingsville Regional Stockyards, Kingsville. Three December sales followed, from SEMO Livestock Sales, Fruitland; Farmington Regional Stockyards, Farmington; and the final one, Dec. 10, F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra.

Average prices across the six sales ranged from a low of $2,080 to $2,638 a head, for an overall average of $2,638 per head. The highest prices came at the final sale, at $3,800 per head. Here total sales totaled $682,050.

Comparing this to average prices for 2021 fall auctions, a strong upward trend was seen for these top-notch replacements. For fall 2021, average prices ranged from $1,790 to $2,259, for an overall average of $2,112 per head. Max prices hit $3,500 in one sale that year, a sale where just 58 heifers sold, at SEMO Livestock Sales in Fruitland.

Erin Larimore with the University of Missouri Extension says in reporting on the sales that they saw the greatest value in females bred via artificial insemination (AI), bringing a premium of around $360 per head over natural-bred heifers. She explained that AI breeding allows access to top genetics, which buyers equate to top performance and more precise calving dates.

"All heifers attending the sale were home-raised with extreme amounts of data and information backing them," she said. "Years of selective breeding, utilizing industry-leading technology, carcass and feedlot performance and top management create the attraction."

MU Extension livestock specialist and sale coordinator Daniel Mallory noted that both longtime participants in the Show-Me-Select program and repeat buyers know the consistent quality the program delivers, and they are willing to bid to get them. He added the northeast region of Missouri was not as hard hit as other areas by the 2022 drought, and that this likely helped keep confidence higher that producers could move forward adding heifers.

Top lot seller was Greg Drebes of Prairie View Farms. He said in the UM report that the SMS program helped make him a better producer because it helped him make his heifers more productive.

"Show-Me-Select has allowed our customers to purchase heifers to calve in the time they want and not have to worry about the heifers that don't breed," he said. "This allows producers to remove the poor reproductive females from their herds. I believe it has been a very important part of making our state cattle producers more profitable."

To participate in SMS sales, heifers are in a development program taking nearly a year to complete. They receive exams prior to breeding, including pelvic measurements, reproductive tract scoring, and weight records. They may be bred by AI or NS. Service sires meet specific calving-ease expected progeny difference requirements based on breed. All heifers are preg checked by a veterinarian within 90 days of breeding to determine the expected calving date.

To learn more about the SMS program, see….

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Victoria Myers