FRUITLAND, Mo. – In the fourth of six Show-Me-Select fall sales, replacement heifers brought an average price of $2,010 on 76 head.

The heifers bred to calve next spring came from herd owners enrolled in the University of Missouri heifer development program. The heifers have improved genetics and management.

Top prices of $2,500 went to three consignors. Those were Crooks Farm, Leeton, for two head; Glen Birk, Jackson, one head; and Turner Farms, Belgrade, for one head.

“We had the strongest genetic lineups ever,” said Erin Larimore, Jackson, MU Extension livestock specialist and sale coordinator.

The spring-calving heifers sold at Fruitland Livestock Auction.

Most buyers had bought before, Larimore said. Four out-of-state buyers took home heifers, including two top-selling heifers. All were from Illinois.

The sales, which have run for 19 years, built a reputation for quality.

“Prices for the Show-Me heifers have been amazing, considering recent declines in beef prices,” said Dave Patterson, MU Extension reproduction specialist.

Initially, the top SMS attraction was calving ease. In time other improved genetic traits were added. A catalog handed out on sale day shows genetic data and background.

“One-third of the heifers rank Tier II,” Larimore said. Those are out of proven bulls and bred to top proven bulls.

Success in improved calving ease helped build the sale quality. Assistance at calving has been cut.

In addition, those bred by timed artificial insemination, all on one day, offer short calving seasons and uniform calf crops. Buyers prefer uniform lots of calves.

In this sale, Tier II AI-bred heifers brought an average premium of $167 over Tier I bull-bred heifers.

All of the top-selling $2,500 heifers were Tier II AI.

Heifers are pregnancy checked twice, often by ultrasound. All are guaranteed pregnant.

All are checked on arrival for requirements and condition by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Those not meeting standards are sent home.

Herd owners wanting to improve quality beef in their herd can sign up through their regional MU Extension livestock specialist.

Two more sales will be held: Farmington, Friday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Kendra Graham, 573-756-4539; and Palmyra, Saturday, Dec. 9, 12:30 p.m., Daniel Mallory, 573-985-3911. For details, contact the MU Extension regional specialists listed. They are the sale coordinators.

Show-Me-Select fall-calving heifers will be sold next spring.