PALMYRA, MO – A registered Angus heifer sold for $4,100 to take top price in the 16-year history of the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program.
The heifer was sold by Jim and Sharon Schlager, Canton, Mo., and bought by Taylor Lay, Lewistown, Mo.
That helped bring overall average to $2,097 for the 312 SMS bred heifers sold at F&T Livestock Auction, Palmyra, Mo. The northeastern Missouri sale was fourth and final of the fall season for young females raised in mostly commercial cow herds enrolled in the University of Missouri Extension program.
The Schlagers were top consignor on average price at $2,664 for 11 purebred registered Angus.
Keithley/Jackson Farm, Frankford, Mo., took second-highest average of $2,556 on 25 head of Angus-Hereford crossbred heifers.
Largest consignment of 43 head came from Terry Mudd, Twin Hill Stock Farm, Silex, Mo. They averaged $2,012.
“Overall, quality was high and condition was good,” said Daniel Mallory, MU Extension livestock specialist, New London. “Condition was especially good considering the summer drought,” he added. Body condition score on cattle indicates back fat thickness. That fat helps them through the winter and to produce vigorous calves.
Dave Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist and founder of the heifer program, said the four fall sales represented the highest prices in its 16-year history. “We’d have seen higher averages if it wasn’t for the drought.”
The program has taught more people to use available reproductive technologies to improve genetics, Patterson added.
Greg Drebes of Prairie View Farms, Monroe City, Mo., said his heifers, 28 Simmental and Sim-Angus crosses, were in good condition from fall-grown grass. But he remains concerned about water levels in stock ponds.
Drebes heifers averaged $2,307, with a top of $2,700. Drebes, and Ed Jackson, have consigned heifers every sale for 16 years.
Mallory said the sale has a strong mix of long-term consignors and newcomers. Mallory is manager of the sale, which is overseen by a board of producers.
The heifer program teaches management and genetics to improve beef herd quality. Initially, the program emphasized calving-ease genetics and management to cut death loss at calving time. It has grown to much more, adding genetics that boost weaning weights and improve carcass grades.
Repeat buyers come back for calving ease in the first-calf heifers, Mallory said.
Veterinarians check all heifers enrolled in the program before the breeding season to assure reproductive tracts are ready for breeding. Also, pelvic measurements assure the heifer can pass a calf at birth.
Heifers are pregnancy-checked after breeding and again 30 days prior to the sale. All are guaranteed to be pregnant at sale time and for 30 days.
On arrival at the sale barn, all are examined by graders from USDA and Missouri Department of Agriculture to assure compliance with requirements. This year four were sent home for not meeting standards.
“We assure that all meet strict standards,” Mallory said.
Producers can enroll their herds before Feb. 1 by paying a $5 fee. Later a per-head fee will be charged, depending how many entered. MU Extension regional livestock specialists can explain requirements.
Or producers can go to the Show-Me-Select web page at agebb.missouri.edu/select.
Buyers receive catalogs that contain breeding data and EPDs (expected progeny differences) that add value to the heifers.