The idea of Show-Me-Select already draws attention of herd owners in other states. "They want what we already have," Patterson said.
MU animal scientists developed the heifer program over the last 15 years. Improvements are made each year. Research on breeding protocols is still underway at the MU Thompson Farm in Grundy County.
The newest timed artificial insemination (TAI) protocol, 14-day CIDR-PG, is already used across the state and nation.
"Veterinarians like the new protocol," Patterson said. "It fits with needed pre-breeding exams and vaccinations."
Timed AI allows breeding all cows in a herd on one day. That shortens the calving season. More important, AI allows use of top sires in whatever breed the farmer owns.
Rapid genetic improvement is possible with AI, Patterson said. SMS management improves calving success also in bull-bred herds.
The program covers more than breeding. It includes nutrition, health and better marketing. Formation of an SMS group may result in restarting a regional heifer sale.
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," Patterson warned. "First we must get the heifers."
Shafer said other meetings could be held in the region if there is interest. Shafer covers an area from Unionville to Moberly. Her counties are Putnam, Sullivan, Macon and Randolph.
Patterson said enrollment cutoff for SMS was Feb. 1. That deadline was moved to March 1 in the north-central area. "If you pay the $25 herd fee, you become a participant for this year." Per-head fees come later.
After the meeting in Gordo's Restaurant, several producers signed the forms. Producers were from Sullivan, Putnam, Adair, Linn and Daviess counties. Schafer said about half the attendees were previous SMS members.
"With the number of high-quality cattle in this area, there should be Show-Me-Select heifers in this region," Patterson said. The sales and other business are run by an organization of participating herd owners.
Source: University of Missouri Extension