BIF 2017: The Show-Me-Select Replacement Heifer Program

David Patterson
University of Missouri

What are the challenges facing the beef industry?

  • Reluctance to adopt new technology
  • Aging producer population
  • Rising input costs
  • Declining markets
  • Increasing global competition
  • Perceived lack of incentives

However, we have several opportunities, including on-the-shelf technology not being used (that works!), increasing domestic and global demand for high-quality beef, and marketing incentives that will add value.

In the U.S., we have 69% of beef farms as secondary income, 50% using a defined breeding season, and 10 to 15% using artificial insemination (AI).

Since 1996, the Show-Me-Select program has contributed great than $120 million to the Missouri economy. Over 32,000 heifers have sold through the program. Many more have stayed on the farm.

In 1998, heifers averaged $767 in Show-Me-Select sales. In 2014, they averaged $2,944. In 2015 heifers averaged  $2,242. Base-line heifers sold through the program sell for $200 more than national averages.

The Extension and Land Grant System were founded to use and apply research based knowledge in agriculture production. The Show-Me-Select Heifer program has been a great resource to obtain funding and achieve successful research projects.

CSS certified semen has a large impact on pregnancy rates in a timed AI protocol. Herds that did not use CSS semen had lower pregnancy rates.

Through the program, they have seen increased use of ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis. This allows to tell which pregnancies are AI bred and which are natural service.

Carrying an AI pregnancy added $184 premium to heifers. Having the sire identified (Tier II heifer) added $68. Having a Tier II heifer (sired by high accuracy AI sire) and carrying an AI pregnancy adds about $400.

"Take a breath and don't stop doing these things when the market drops," Patterson said. These practices added equity into your cowherd.

In 2015, a new designation was added for heifers, Show-Me-Plus. A Show-Me-Plus heifer is a heifer with a genomic prediction. We predict that this adds a $200 premium to heifers in the sale.

From the Thompson Research Center herd, steers who graded Prime earned $169 more dollars than steers that qualified for CAB, and 286 more dollars than steers that graded Choice.

In 2010, 68% of the heifers in the Show-Me-Select program were artificially inseminated at least one time. In 2016, 91% of the heifers were AI'ed at least one time. This rate of adoption is much higher than industry average.

The heifers are managed with a health program. Further, all heifers are evaluated for a Reproductive Tract Score. A Reproductive Tract Score measures whether or not heifers are pre-pubertal. Heifers with a RTS of 1 only get bred 6% of the time. Heifers with a RTS of 2 have a 29% AI pregnancy rate. Heifers with RTS of 3, 4, and 5 have AI pregnancy rates of 48, 51, and 52%, respectively.

Heifers on an MGA protocal that were non-cycling had an AI pregnancy rate of 35%. Heifers on a 14-Day CIDR protocol that were non-cycling had an AI pregnancy rate of 47%.

Patterson made the point that the beef industry needs more and better reproductive data. Open vs pregnant is not enough. Reproductive tract scores and precise pregnancy dates from ultrasound aid in evaluating reproductive success.


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