ABOVE average auction prices for cattle and especially weaners gave farmers a bit of a leeway to reinvest in their farming operations and livestock production.
Namibian farmers have been under extreme financial pressure and some heavily indebted as a result of the harsh drought of the past eight years and good auction prices have brought some relief and new hope.
According to the Namibia Farmers Union, livestock production and price overview in 2020 saw a drastic drop in livestock marketing and an increase in producer prices.
In comparison to 2019, the number of cattle, sheep, and goats marketed in 2020 dropped as much as 47%, 50.2%, and 40%, respectively.
The majority of the livestock that was sold in 2019, when farmers had to sell large portions of their animals to protect themselves against financial ruin.
The sharp reduction of livestock on farms created concern that the supply to market might be impacted negatively.
The total weighted cattle prices rose by 19.2% more in 2020 than in 2019, whereas sheep producer prices increased by 18.0% during the same period.
According to the NAU statement, the improvement in the total weighted cattle price was mainly a result of an increase in weaner prices. On average, weaner price as a percentage of slaughter prices stood higher at 76.7% in 2020 than the same 2019 figure at 55.7%.
This means that raising weaners was a better deal than producing oxen in 2020.