WINDHOEK – With the market situation seemingly favourable currently, prices for weaners are the highest in years and the industry trusts that this trend will continue into the weaner auction season, says Agra’s General Manager of Auctions, Titus Koen.
He launched the Weaner Auction Season 2018 recently. “The Agra Weaner season and weaner auction is a special event on the Agra Auctions calendar and we are thus excited to be hosting the seventh Agra Weaner Competition in 2018.” This championship is hosted yearly from July to September and give producers, who market their weaners through Agra, the opportunity to enter cattle in groups of 15 for the competition. Last year, after three consecutive years of drought, conditions were very favourable for the industry, resulting in a successful weaner season with record numbers and record prices.
Producers significantly benefited from the high market prices in 2017 and 15 940 cattle were sold, compared to 5 977 cattle sold in 2016. The average calf prices for 2016 was N$3 900 compared to 2017’s N$6 800, which represents a growth of 74 percent. In 2015, 14 572 cattle were sold. Agra has been hosting the weaner competitions for many years to complement the weaner auction. However, this competition was only conducted at auction level. In 2011, to make the competition attractive and draw national interest, regional winners as well as a national champion were crowned.
In 2014, the event could not be hosted due to market conditions. That had a direct influence on the auctions countrywide, but in 2015, it returned successfully for the fourth time, the 3rd year the heifer category was included in the competition. The 2016 weaner season will be remembered as one of the toughest to date. Farmers were in the middle of a crippling drought and at the beginning of July; the export regulations to South Africa were made much stricter, making it nearly impossible to export livestock there, affecting the weaner auctions. The South was affected most by the export regulations – four auctions had to be cancelled.
Agra had to decide whether to continue with the competition or cancel it (as some other auction houses did) because of the effect of the market on the buying power? After consultations with sponsors and colleagues, they decided to continue with the competition. For the 2018 championships, prices of more than N$400 000 will be awarded. Eighteen weaner calf auctions will be conducted this year, starting with the first two auctions on the same day in Gobabis, Kamanjab and Kalkrand on July 13.
Agra places emphasis on the following important aspects for weaners
Capacity to produce meat
Farming practices (branding, dehorning, mass uniformity)
As per the previous years, Agra will again award prizes to winners in the categories of
Heifers with breeding potential.
The broad farming community from both the communal and the commercial areas can participate in these auctions.