A standing-room-only crowd bid $1,953 average on 287 Show-Me-Select bred heifers at Kingsville Livestock Auction.
The 93 lots of spring-calving heifers came from 17 consignors enrolled in a University of Missouri Extension educational program to improve beef herds.
The top-selling lot went for $2,550 average for four Simmental crossbred commercial heifers bred to calve March 2. They were consigned by Crooks Farm of Leeton, Mo. They sold 49 head, the largest consignment, for an average of $2,219.
The second-highest price of $2,500 went to two lots. One from Crooks Farms included four Simmental heifers. The other, from Springhaven Farms, Ken and Correlia Anderson, Belton, Mo., was a pen of two registered Angus heifers.
Crooks Farms, owned by Alvin and Doug Crooks and Howard Early, has sold heifers in all 14 sales at Kingsville. The Andersons, longtime registered breeders, were first-time consignors. Their sale average was $2,194.
Those highest-selling heifers were bred by fixed-time artificial insemination (AI) to proven sires.
Average premium for AI-bred heifers in this sale was $259 above prices for natural-service, bull-bred heifers. In the past, AI premiums run about $100 across the state.
In the sale, 62 percent were bred AI while 38 percent were bull-bred.
Consignors with sale averages above $2,000 were Jonathan Renfro, Richmond, Mo., $2,190; John Wheeler, Marionville, Mo., $2,058; Jerry Gordon, Windsor, Mo., $2,041; and Mark Nuelle, Higginsville, Mo., $2,012.
Buyer James Grainger, Centerview, Mo., bought 67 heifers, the most of all.
AI breeding allows use of best sires in a breed. When bred by appointment, all females in a herd can be bred the same day. That results in uniform calf crops. It also reduces labor, reducing length of calving season for cow-herd owners.
By using ultrasound to confirm pregnancies within 90 days after insemination, calving dates can be given buyers.