by Troy Smith for Angus Productions Inc.
Replacement Heifer Program
JOPLIN, Mo. (Aug. 31, 2011) — “Beef is big business in Missouri, contributing $16 billion annually to the state’s economy,” said University of Missouri (MU) animal scientist David Patterson, speaking to a crowd gathered at Joplin Regional Stockyards. A presenter at the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) conference, Patterson said the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program has bolstered the beef industry’s role.
Patterson called Show-Me-Select unique in that it is an educational program coupled with a marketing component. He said efforts to help producers apply technologies and management techniques to replacement female development enterprises have “spilled over,” fostering increased application among breeding herds across the state. That, he added, has contributed to enhanced reproductive efficiency and more effective marketing.
“It’s working,” Patterson stated. “We’re seeing expanded use of estrous synchronization and artificial insemination (AI) in cow herds, more rapid genetic improvement and enhanced management.”
Patterson, who serves as its coordinator and reproductive specialist, along with MU regional extension specialists Eldon Cole, Roger Eakins and Al Kennett explained how a pilot project grew into the first statewide, on-farm beef heifer development and marketing program in the United States. They told how Show-Me-Select has sparked “contagious enthusiasm,” attracting producer participants, large and small, from 103 of Missouri’s 114 counties. Since 1997, 706 operations have enrolled nearly 98,000 heifers.
To illustrate the added value of heifers enrolled in the program, the presenters summarized prices received for Show-Me-Select heifers selling in fall 2010 and spring 2011. Serving as a baseline were heifers carrying natural service-sired pregnancies, which sold for an average price of $1,439 per head. Heifers carrying AI-sired pregnancies averaged $1,526, or $87 over the baseline average.
The presenters explained how “Tier Two” heifers — those sired by sires whose EPDs meet minimum requirements for accuracy — represented additional levels of added value. Tier Two heifers bred by natural service brought $136 over the baseline average, for an average price of $1,575. Tier Two heifers carrying AI-sired pregnancies averaged $1,680, adding $241 to the baseline average.
Patterson said the sale price differentials have provided financial incentives that are spurring a growing appreciation for reproductive management and genetic improvement.
The extension specialists spoke during an evening session of the ARSBC symposium hosted Wednesday evening, Aug. 31, at the Joplin Regional Stockyards. Summaries of other presentations at the ARSBC wil be available online at www.appliedreprostrategies.com. Compiled by Angus Productions Inc. (API; publisher of the Angus Journal and the Angus Beef Bulletin), the site is made possible through sponsorship by the Beef Reproductive Task Force, SEK Genetics, and liveauctions.tv. Coverage will include summaries of the speaker presentations, PowerPoints, proceedings and audio.
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