Missouri beef replacement heifers are wanted by out-of-state herd owners. That demand will grow, Dave Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef specialist, told area producers.
Higher demand will come when droughts end, Patterson added. Herd owners will need high-quality replacements then.
Missouri producers must start breeding for that quality now. Growing replacements takes time.
Patterson spoke in Milan, Jan. 31, at a meeting called by Gentrie Shafer, MU Extension livestock specialist. She helps area producers improve quality beef production.
That includes the Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program.
Missouri herd owners hold "huge potential" for supplying replacements for drought-thinned cow herds across the country.
The program helps producers successfully start young cows. With better management and breeding, hundreds of Missouri herd owners have profited.
A part of that program has been 119 bred-heifer sales that returned more than $30 million to owners.
"Sales are a small part of the benefits," Patterson said. Producers boost profits with lower death losses of calves-and heifers. They use less labor by cutting calving assistance.
Some farmers arrived at the night meeting after putting cows into calving pens. At the time, temperatures were dropping below zero and north winds blew. They were interested in trouble-free calving.
"In surveys, buyers say the main thing they want is calving ease," Patterson said. They also like genetics that boost rapid gains and bring quality premiums from feedlots and packers.