The Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale is a marketing program conducted by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s animal science team and the Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association. This sale has become known for top quality and top genetics in the consignments offered and is one of the top replacement heifer sales in the southeastern United Sates. It has also added to the positive reputation of beef cattle in Alabama and the Southeast.
The idea for the Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale was initiated by Extension agents in 1998, with the first sale being was held in August 1999 at the Alabama Livestock Auction in Uniontown, Alabama. The sale has two primary goals. The first, provide high-quality, bred replacement heifers in large numbers to beef cattle producers. The second, add value to commercial heifers in order to lower the difference in profitability between marketing replacement heifers and their feeder steer counterparts.
Over the years, beef heifers consigned to the program have been primarily Angus, Sim-Angus, Brangus, and F1 Brahman crosses. This collection of different breeds has provided buyers with the opportunity to purchase heifers that best fit their respective breeding programs. Heifers are sorted based on quality, size, and expected calving dates then offered in uniform lots of three to five heifers.
Since 1998, the Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale has marketed 6,446 heifers for over $9.1 million in sales returning into the local economy. Bred heifers have been the primary focus of the sale, along with a select group of ready to breed open heifers offered each year. Bred heifers have averaged $1,503 per head over the 22 year span. Open heifers have averaged $923 per head.
After adjusting for development costs and adding a monetary value for time, analysis of sale data from the past 10 years indicates the price received for heifers surpassed the price received for feeder steers in six of those 10 years. Additionally, buyers were willing to pay more for heifers if they were going to calve earlier in the calving season. Heifers calving later in the calving season were purchased for $77.60 per month less than heifers calving in September and October. Heifers bred by artificial insemination to low calving weight Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) bulls were purchased for $175 more when compared to heifers bred to herd bulls.
Over the past 10 years the calculated average profit of developing and breeding these commercial heifers was $780 per heifer. The lowest calculated profit was $200 per head for these heifers, while during 2014-2015 average profits were $1,400 per head over costs.
The success of this program over the years surpasses the initial goals of the commercial beef consignors in central and west Alabama. Producers have adopted Extension best management practices when developing these heifers. These practices have helped create a stream of income comparable to income generated from feeder steers. Additionally, the sale has developed many repeat buyers, indicating buyer satisfaction and functionality of the heifers purchased.
The 23rd Annual Herdbuilder Replacement Female Sale will be Friday August 27, 2021 at Alabama Livestock Auction in Uniontown, Alabama. Producers that are interested in receiving consignment information can contact Kevan Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-534-2539.