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Fall-calving heifers average $1,401 per head in Show-Me-Select auction at Fruitland, Mo.


Heifers that will calve this fall sold for an average of $1,401 at a Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer auction May 2.

"With the present economy and uncertainty in the beef business, it was an excellent sale," said Roger Eakins, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist in Jackson, Mo. "It shows that buyers will pay for breeding stock with data behind them."

Cooperating beef farmers organized the sale at the Fruitland Livestock Auction. The consignors of the 126 replacements were enrolled in a beef-education program conducted by MU Extension.

The heifers met requirements on health and body condition and were bred to proven sires that met standards set by the sale committee.

The 71 lots from 19 consignors sold for a total of $176,500. About 90 percent of the heifers were Angus or Angus crossbreds. Consignments ranged from two to 20 head.

The highest consignment average of $1,556 was on seven lots from Masters Farm, Cape Girardeau, Mo. The second-highest average of $1,506 was on five lots from Eggers Stock Farm, Jackson, Mo.

The prices were higher than in a sale last fall when southeast Missouri was in a drought. Rain on sale day helped fill the auction barn seats, spectators said.

In this sale, 36 heifers qualified as "Tier Two" replacements, Eakins said. Those heifers were out of AI (artificial insemination) matings and most were bred to AI sires with proven-accuracy EPDs (Expected Progeny Differences).

"AI-bred heifers consistently sell for premium prices," Eakins told the auction crowd. In this sale, the AI-bred heifers averaged $128 above those bred by natural service.

With AI, breeders have access to top sires in a breed with higher-accuracy genetics. "Accuracy is defined as a measure of reliability of the genetic merit of a bull," said David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist, Columbia, Mo.

All Show-Me-Select heifers were checked for pregnancy at least twice, with the last exam within 30 days of the sale, Eakins said. "They are guaranteed bred for 30 days after the sale." They are also sold with a guarantee the calves will be free of genetic defects at birth.

Graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture checked the heifers on arrival at the sale barn. Heifers not meeting requirements for body condition or other standards were sent home.

Patterson started Show-Me-Select as a pilot program in two areas of Missouri in 1996. It has since spread statewide.

In his warm-up talk, auctioneer Ken Carney told potential bidders that old cows continue to sell for high prices. "Now is the time to upgrade your herds."

The next Show-Me-Select sale, with 219 heifers consigned, will be at 7 p.m., May 15, at Joplin Regional Stockyards, Carthage, Mo. Eldon Cole, MU Extension specialist in Mount Vernon, Mo., has details at 417-466-3102.

Beef producers interested in enrolling for the 2010 spring sale have until Aug. 15 of this year to sign up, Eakins said. Breeders across the state can enroll by contacting their regional MU Extension livestock specialist.

Only heifers enrolled in the program and that wear the black-and-gold ear tag may be called "Show-Me-Select" heifers.

More details are at http://agebb.missouri.edu/select/.

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