This article compares herd productivity, levels of investment and socio-economic characteristics of communal and private livestock farmers sampled in the southern region of Botswana during 1999/2000. The object is to determine whether land tenure and other socio-economic variables might contribute to differences in investment and herd productivity. Descriptive statistics show that levels of investment and herd productivity are higher on private farms than on open-access communal grazing. Private farmers are also better educated, more liquid, and have larger herd sizes, but do not differ from their communal counterparts in terms of age, gender, race or household size. Levels of investment in fixed improvements and operating inputs are negatively correlated with herd mortality, and positively correlated with calving and off-take rates, and with liquidity and private ownership of land. While these findings appear to support Botswana’s agricultural policy of privatising some communal grazing land to individual farm households or to small, organized groups of farmers, it is clear that land tenure is not the only variable of policy interest. A more rigorous analysis of the data is required to untange the causes of observed differences in herd productivity and investment.