COLUMBIA, Mo. – Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifers averaged $2,427 with a top price of $3,500 at the spring sale at Fruitland (Mo.) Livestock Auction, Saturday, May 7.

“This sale was quality over quantity,” said Erin Larimore, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, Jackson.

Half of the 121 heifers were registered stock. Of those, 111 carried fetal sexed calves. The spring sale sells replacements that will calve this fall starting Sept. 1.

All have projected calving dates, Larimore said. Those bred AI have more precise dates.

“We had a serious buyer crowd that was able to shop for top genetics and a wealth of information,” she said. “This just adds to the integrity of the program and of the southeast Show-Me-Select sale.”

Most of the 14 consignors are longtime participants in the 17 years of the sale. They build reputations with repeat buyers.

Top individual heifer price of $3,500 and top average price of $2,920 went to Turner Farms, Belgrade, Mo. They sold five registered Angus, all rated Tier II and AI-bred.

Second-high average of $2,875 went to Willis Koenig, Perryville. He consigned four Angus crosses.

Three consignors entered large numbers of heifers:

Masters Farms, Cape Girardeau, sold 22 black and black white-face heifers, all AI-bred. They averaged $2,814.

Glen Birk Farms, Jackson, sold 22 Angus, of which 12 were registered, for an average of $2,323.

McClure Farms, Perryville, sold 23 Angus, with more than half registered, for an average of $2,257.

“The sale was helped by a volume buyer who came expecting to buy maybe 25 head,” Larimore said. “He liked what he saw.” Brian Williams bought 36. He farms at Excello, Mo., between Macon and Moberly.

“It always helps a sale when a buyer takes home a potload,” said David Patterson, MU Extension beef specialist. Patterson started the SMS heifer program based on his research at the MU Thompson Farm, Spickard.

“Usually it is repeat buyers who help boost prices,” he said.

All consignors are enrolled in the MU Extension educational program. Preparing for the sale starts before the heifers are bred. Strict protocols on EPDs (expected progeny differences) guide selection of herd sires.

Most are bred by timed artificial insemination. That allows grouping calving in a brief time frame. That cuts labor and adds uniformity to calf crops.

Advances were made in breeding protocols since the first sale. Now, many heifers are Tier II, which are out of proven sires and bred to proven sires.

“The southeast region pioneered the concept of Tier II in the SMS program with a focus on genetic merit,” Patterson said. “The results speak for themselves.”

The heifer program isn’t just about genetics, but also preparing heifers for breeding. Veterinarians give breeding exams before breeding season. Heifers are checked at least three times before the sale.

On arrival at the sale barn, all entries are checked for fitness by graders from the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Heifers are sold guaranteed pregnant. Ultrasound checks can determine sex of the fetus.

A sale catalog gives details on heifers, sires and more. “Buyers get quality heifers but also background data,” Patterson said. “Information adds value.”

Two sales remain this spring:

Joplin Regional Stockyards, 7 p.m. May 20. Contact Eldon Cole, 417-466-3102.

Palmyra, F&T Livestock Market, 6 p.m. June 4. Contact Daniel Mallory, 573-985-3911.

People interested in joining the SMS program learn more at the sales, Patterson said. Local MU Extension specialists can sign up producers.

Or go to the SMS web page at