The National Weaner Champion and regional winners of the Agra 2015 Weaner Championships have been announced and awarded at a gala dinner in Windhoek on Thursday, 5 November.
Bertus Calitz, a farmer and Charolais breeder from Gobabis was crowned the 2015 National Champion. Calitz was the winner in the feedlot potential calves category at the Gobabis weaner auction.
The national champion is selected out of all the regional winners in the categories in which the competitions were held: calves with feedlot potential, calves with veld potential and heifers.
Titus Koen, General Manager: Agra Livestock gave an overview of the 2015 weaner auctions as well as the cattle auctions in general. As a result of the drought Agra livestock already experienced very high numbers at auctions from the beginning of the year. “There were some auctions with numbers of 2000 or more, in line with that of our weaner auctions, so we had some good exercise in preparation of the weaner season”, he said and reported that, despite the large numbers of cattle marketed through the year, the weaner auctions still had very high numbers of weaner calves.
A total of 15 weaner calf auctions were hosted where lots of 15 weaner calves each were entered for the competition. A total number of 14 572 heads of cattle were sold at all the weaner calf auctions. For the past financial year, which ended on 31 August, Agra sold 124 000 cattle.
Koen also gave the average numbers of cattle sold in the three regions. In the central region, an average of 924 cattle per auction were sold; in the north the average number of cattle sold per auction was 1 263, the highest ever for this region while the southern region also broke the record of average number of cattle sold by achieving an average of 727 cattle sold per auction.
The Mariental 2015 weaner calf auction achieved a record number of cattle for this auction center by selling 1 397 weaner calves on their auction which was hosted on 6 August 2015.
The auction with the highest number of calves sold for the season was Otjiwarongo, that sold 2 453 heads, a record number for weaner auctions for Agra. The previous highest number of cattle sold in the weaner season was the Grootfontein weaner auction that sold 2 289 heads of cattle in 2011.
Koen mentioned that there was a significant difference visible in the condition of the animals marketed this year. Both Titus Koen and Dawid Krause of Feedmaster, who was one of the judges, as well as Agra board chairman, Ryno van der Merwe commended the producers on the quality of animals they nevertheless produced and marketed through Agra this weaner season.
There are a number of criteria used in the judging process as was explained by Lourens Swart of Feedmaster, who was also a judge. Management practices that are looked at include brand marking; hide damage and dehorning while the animals’ temperaments; mass uniformity; type uniformity; mass suitability as well as growth potential and musculature.
The total value of prizes, contributed by various sponsors, amounted to almost N$500 000. These were awarded to winners of the competitions at the various auction points, the regional winners and the national champion. The awards ceremony was also made possible through the sponsorship of the main sponsors: Feedmaster; FNB; Nictus Holdings; Sanlam and Santam. Co-sponsors were Associated Motor Holdings; Bayer; MSD; Indongo Toyota; Marsh and Henco Engineering. The sponsors were also actively involved throughout the weaner auction season by attending auctions, hosting exhibitions and networking with clients. Some of the sponsor representatives expressed their pride to be associated with the top weaner calf producers in Namibia and already committed to be part of the 2016 weaner championships.