Agra’s hugely popular annual weaner competition will commence on July 15 after the competition was launched last week in Windhoek with nine sponsors coming on board to ensure competitive buyers from Namibia and its neighbouring countries attending the 2016 auctions countrywide.
Agra established the weaner competitions to reward producers on their well-bred weaner calves.
Titus Koen, Agra’s General Manager for Livestock says: “For many years, Agra hosted the weaner competitions to complement the weaner auction. However, this competition was only done on auction level. It was in 2011 when we decided to make the competition attractive, to draw national interest. In the same year, the competition rewarded regional winners and a national champion.” He continued, “In 2014, the event could not be hosted due market related situations that had a direct influence on the auctions countrywide and in 2015 we hosted the national competition again. 2015 became the 4th successful year in hosting the weaner championships and also the 3rd year the heifer category was included in the competition.”
Koen expressed his gratitude towards various sponsors who made contributions towards the national competition. “Their involvement contributes to the development of agriculture, by supporting a championship competition that provides an ideal opportunity to both reward exemplary producers for their efforts and to educate the farming community at large on prevailing market requirements,” he noted. The main sponsors are Bank Windhoek, Feedmaster, Sanlam and Santam. The co-sponsors are Bayer, Marsh, MSD, Indongo Toyota and Henco Engineering. This year’s sponsorship amount to more than N$400,000, which will be used for various category winners at the auctions.
Agra will host 16 weaner auctions countrywide, from Grootfontein in the north to Karasburg in the south. The first weaner auction is scheduled for 15 July at Loskop (Kamanjab) and the last auction will take place on 01 September at Helmeringhausen in the south. To participate in the weaner competition, producers need to put together lots of twelve (12) weaner calves with the ideal weight of 220 – 260 kg. The categories in which the animals compete are feedlot potential, veld potential and heifers with breeding potential. Within these categories judges will look at fertility, growth ability and capacity to produce meat and farming practices (de-horning, branding etc.).
Koen reflected on the 2015 weaner auction season, when Agra sold 14 572 at the 15 weaner calf auctions. The broad farming community, ranging from small-scale resettled farmers to established commercial farmers, from both the communal and the commercial farming areas, will participate in the auctions. In addition, competitive buyers from Namibia and its neighbouring countries are expected to attend. A very high number of animals was marketed at Agra’s weaner auctions as well as commercial auctions last year due to drought, and the same trend is expected this year despite producers living in fear of the expected new South African import regulations in July.
Last year, 15 weaner calf auctions wat Agra weaner calf auctions. In total, Agra sold 124 000 cattle.
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 these regions while the southern regions also broke the record of average number of cattle sold by achieving an average of 727 cattle sold per auction.
The Mariental auction achieved a record of 1 397 cattle sold and the Otjiwarongo weaner auction sold the most weaners for the season with a total of 2 454 cattle, followed by Grootfontein, where 2019 heads of cattle were sold.
The competition places emphasis on fertility, growth ability, capacity to produce meat and farming practices. Prizes will be awarded to participants for feedlot potential, feld potential and heifers with breeding potential.