Heifers in first 2010 Show-Me-Select sale average $1,328

Tier Two heifers bring $1,467

FRUITLAND, Mo. – Bidding was fast in the first two-thirds of the sale of Show-Me-Select Replacement heifers at the Fruitland (Mo.) Livestock Auction on Saturday, May 1.

Early in the sale, the bred heifers were selling for $1,500 to $1,850 per head. The final average for 188 head was $1,328.

This auction provided a test for the new Tier Two brand of Show-Me-Select heifers. These are offspring of previous Show-Me-Select heifers bred to proven sires with higher accuracy than required originally.

“We had 33 Tier Two heifers that sold in lots made up of more than half Tier Two,” said Roger Eakins, MU Extension regional livestock specialist, Jackson, Mo. “Those heifers averaged $1,467, a $141 premium.”

Before the sale, Eakins announced that 88 of the heifers offered for sale were bred by artificial insemination. AI allows the use of high-performance tested sires in any breed. In past SMS sales, buyers gave $100 premiums for AI bred heifers. This spring, they paid $132 more per head than average.

“When the big out-of-state buyers filled their trucks, the bidding slowed,” said David Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef reproduction specialist.

The top-selling lot went for $1,850 for a single Registered Angus heifer consigned by Turner Farms of Belgrade, Mo. The heifer was artificially inseminated to calve on Sept. 27. The Turners consigned five heifers.

Late in the sale, when heifers were being bid at $1,100, auctioneer Ken Carney stopped his chant to lecture: “Boys, I’ve been selling bred heifers in this ring for $900. They had no records, no guarantee, nothing!”

The Masters Farm of Cape Girardeau sold seven lots with the high average overall of $1,470 on 20 head. Their top six Angus crossbred heifers averaged $1,750, the second highest price in the sale. All were artificially inseminated.

Eakins said an example of Tier Two breeding came from consignor Gary Tharp, Naylor, Mo. His group of six Tier Two natural bred heifers averaged $1,500 per head. He’d bought their dams, as SMS heifers, from Masters Farm in 2008. The offspring were developed and consigned back in the 2010 SMS sale.

One buyer recognized the value of Tier Two and purchased five lots of them, a total of 14 heifers, for an average of $1,500 per head, Eakins said. The dams were all SMS heifers consigned by Masters Farm and SEMO Farm in the 2008 sale.

Two buyers of the largest numbers of heifers were from out of state. Kevin Elrich of Grand Chain, Ill., bought 28 head. Brad Reddick of Bardwell, Ky., bought 20 head.

Robert Arndt of Littleton, Colo., bought two head, including the top lot. “This is the first time we’ve sold heifers to Colorado,” Patterson said. “Usually the out-of-state buyers are from adjoining states.”

From the auction block, Patterson said that six states are working to copy the Show-Me-Select program. However, Missouri remains the only one with a statewide educational program. Six sales of spring-calving heifers will be held across Missouri this fall.

The next spring sale of fall-calving heifers will be May 21 at the Joplin Regional Stockyards at Carthage, Mo.

Heifers in the program are enrolled in a yearlong heifer development program overseen by MU Extension specialists. All are scored for reproductive tract development and measured for pelvic size before the breeding season.

Heifer development helps assure that heifers will become pregnant and then deliver a live calf. All are bred to sires with proven calving-ease EPDs (expected progeny differences).

Post-calving surveys sent to buyers show greatest satisfaction for reduced death loss and known calving dates, Eakins said.

The heifers are pregnancy-checked at least twice before the sale, with the last check within 30 days of the auction. All heifers are checked for soundness, condition and frame score upon arrival for the sale by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Those not meeting standards are sent home.

A catalog with genetic information on each heifer is distributed on sale day.

“Demand for the developed heifers is expected to increase as the U.S. cow herd decreases,” Patterson said. “With high prices being paid for old cows, a lot of cows are going to market.

“Increasing prices for fed cattle should increase demand for replacement heifers. There are just not many out there.”

Herd owners interested in raising replacement heifers can enroll with regional livestock specialists through their local county extension center.

For more information about the Show-Me-Select program, see