Every spring, multiple bred heifer sales through the University of Missouri's Show-Me-Select (SMS) program provide a good gauge of where prices stand for high-quality beef replacements. Over four sales, held April through June, averages reflected what the industry already knows—prices are down, yet there are still premiums to be found from genetic quality and AI-breeding programs.
Across sales at Farmington Livestock Auction, Farmington; Fruitland Livestock Sales, Fruitland; Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage; and F&T Livestock Market, Palmyra the average price for a bred heifer this year is $1,805. Last year that average was $2,258, for a difference of $453. That cuts across all tiers of heifers sold at the auctions, including natural service and artificially inseminated (AI) females.
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Outside of the new Show-Me-Plus heifers (a program helping producers market advanced genomics) the highest price category of SMS heifers sold is consistently Tier 2, AI. These heifers are out of proven sires, and bred to proven sires. Across the four sales, average for a Tier 2, AI bred heifer this year was $2,023. Last year, across four comparable sales based on time and location, the average was $2,399—a difference of $376.
The low-end of SMS sales prices tends to be Tier 1, natural service heifers. This spring, average for that category across the four sales was $1,719; last year it was $2,125—a difference of $406. In most SMS sales, this is the largest category of available bred heifers.
For producers to consign heifers in a SMS sale, they participate in a yearlong educational program from the University of Missouri and meet stringent criteria. Prior to the sale, heifers are checked twice by veterinarians and are sold guaranteed-pregnant. On sale day they are checked by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
Program eligibility requirements for SMS heifers include ownership of the heifers a minimum of 60 days prior to breeding, prebreeding evaluations (minimum pelvic area of 180 cm2), vaccinations, parasite control, removal of horns/scurs, minimum weight of 800 pounds by sale day with a body condition score of 5 to 8 and minimum projected frame score of medium. Eligible sires must have a known ID, be in their respective national breed registry and have complete EPD information. For more details on SMS requirements go to: http://agebb.missouri.edu/…
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