University of Georgia researchers recently analyzed data from the Georgia Heifer Evaluation and Reproductive Development Program (HERD). The data involved 839 pregnant replacement heifers sold over a six-year period (2000-2005). The objective was to determine factors affecting sale price.
Heifers begin the program at about 12 months of age, with the breeding period beginning at about 14.5 months. The heifers were bred by artificial insemination (AI) for 30 days, followed by natural service for 35 days, and evaluated for pregnancy by AI six weeks after the end of the AI period. Heifers were sold about 4.5 months after the start of AI.
The average annual sale price ranged from $936 to $1,280, with AI-pregnant heifers bringing a $1,052 average, while those bred natural service bringing $123 less at $929. Registered and commercial heifers sold for the same average price ($1,030), but buyers paid more for heifers with a greater average daily gain, higher frame score, and more docility. Buyers also tended to pay more if they'd purchased heifers in a previous sale (Rossi et al. 2006. Southern Section ASAS. Abstract 127).
--Michigan State University Beef Cattle Research Update - Summer 2006