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COLUMBIA — Consignments were down but bidding was up at the Show-Me-Select bred heifer sale Nov. 22 in Kirksville.

The average on 110 replacement heifers was $1,811, with a top of $2,350.

“The fifth sale at Kirksville had the biggest crowd yet,” Zac Erwin, sale manager and local University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist, said. “We’re gaining traction in building a buyer base.”

All heifers sold are from beef farmers enrolled in the MU heifer development program.

The program became known for developing heifers with calving ease, fewer death losses and proven genetics.

The highest average consignment price of $1,912 on 16 head of Angus went to Jeff and Marge Lindquist, Greentop.

All but four head of that bunch went to one buyer from Illinois.

The top price per heifer of $2,350 went to Rick Bennett of Bennett Angus, of Browning.

Those two registered heifers also went to an Illinois buyer.

Bennett has consigned to every SMS heifer sale and provides genetic information on them all.

These were AI-bred with known pregnancies of heifer calves.

Veterinarian pregnancy checks can tell the sex of unborn calves.

At SMS sales, buyers get guaranteed bred heifers plus catalog data on each consignment.

The sales are organized by farmer participants in the sale.

The group offered a new perk this year: free trucking for buyers taking home 10 head or more.

“That offer drew attention,” Erwin said. “Over 75 percent of the heifers sold to volume buyers. They took the free trucking.”

Some heifers went 300 miles away, with the free ride covering 100 miles.

“Producers can be proud of the quality of their heifers and prices they brought,” Jordan Thomas, MU Extension beef specialist, said. “Standards of Show-Me-Select are rigorous, building a national reputation. Even though the heifers sell for premium prices over market, they are bargains for what buyers receive.”

Heifers are hard to come by this year, he added.

“There are lower numbers offered in sanctioned sales for a variety of reasons,” Thomas said. “If you need heifers, act now.”

Three sales remain this year.

They are in Dec. 7 in Fruitland; Dec. 13 in Farmington; and Dec. 14 in Palmyra.

David Patterson, retiring to half-time MU beef reproduction specialist, started the replacement program.

Patterson said it takes time for sellers to build reputation and for buyers to learn added value.

“Repeat buyers make a sale,” Patterson added.

The Kirksville sale this year had 80 percent return buyers on the current heifer crop.

Only Missouri heifers can carry the trademark Show-Me-Select ear tags.

Missouri farmers can enroll in the MU Extension heifer program through their area livestock specialist.

Learn more at agebb.missouri.edu/select.

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