University of Missouri Extension
Story source: Anita Ellis, 573-642-0755
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Beef producers in central Missouri organized a startup sale of Show-Me-Select replacement heifers for the spring of 2020.
The sale will be in Vienna, Mo., at South Central Regional Stockyards. The sale markets heifers produced by farmers in the University of Missouri Extension heifer development program.
The new sale serves producers and buyers in mid-Missouri and the upper Ozarks, said Anita Ellis, MU Extension livestock specialist, Fulton.
Producers already enrolled in the program asked for a sale closer to home, Ellis said.
In 2019, spring sales were held in Farmington, Fruitland, Joplin and Palmyra. The Vienna sale will be May 22, 2020, at 6 p.m. This year, all spring sales were held in evenings. That allows buyers who are part-time farmers to attend. Attendance went up.
“SMS sales get much publicity, but the education program runs year-round,” said Dave Patterson, MU Extension reproduction specialist.
Over time, the value of replacements rose as buyers learned value gained by heifer development and better genetics. “Repeat buyers make a sale,” Patterson said. “They know what they are getting.”
“Herds engaged in sales must sign up by breeding time,” Ellis said. “Already we have eight consignors for next year’s sale. Another five are possible.” Undecided farmers will know at breeding season.
Genetics plays a big part of premium heifer prices. Most noted is calving ease, which cuts death losses. But better carcass quality gains attention. That adds premium prices at the packing plant.
Heifer development includes pre-breeding exams by veterinarians. They cull heifers not ready for breeding or calving. Before each sale, heifers are pregnancy checked. All are sold guaranteed pregnant.
The educational part of Show-Me-Select is run by MU Extension specialists. Sales are run by board members enrolled in the program.
“Everyone seems enthusiastic about the coming sale,” Ellis said. “Farmers are happy to be involved this far in advance. They have time to learn.”
Ellis added, “The sale barn operators are eager for this sale as an educational event.” They hope to draw more quality heifers to the area.
Unlike most sale barn auctions, these sales offer catalogs of information on consignment lots. Genomics and expected calving dates are told.
MU Extension specialists from other regions told Ellis of the need for barn-owner involvement in planning and hosting sales.
In a first meeting at the barn for area farmers, MU livestock specialist Zac Erwin, Kirksville, said they must see the sale as a quality event promoting beef. They must sell quality and stand behind their guarantees.
Spring sales offer replacements for fall-calving herds. Fall sales sell spring-calving heifers.
Fall calving, more common in southern Missouri, benefits from shorter and milder winters. Northern Missouri farmers mostly prefer spring calving.
Producers enroll in Show-Me-Select by contacting their local MU Extension center to reach their livestock specialist.
Buyers track sales across Missouri at agebb.missouri.edu/select.
Research is underway by MU economists to document the value added by the Show-Me-Select program.