ARC National Herd with the Best Somatic Cell Count 2020: Dr Andrew Magadlela (ARC group executive: animal sciences), Etienne Zeeman (Swellendam, Western Cape), and Joel Mamabolo (director: animal production, DALRRD) at the 2019 awards function. (Photograph: Landbouweekblad)

Agri-Expo presented this year’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) National Master Dairyman Awards ceremony on 21 October as a virtual event, on behalf of the ARC National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme. The prestigious competition celebrates South Africa’s top commercial and smallholder achievers in the industry. Key stakeholders recognise it as a highlight on the country’s agricultural calendar.

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Dr Shadrack Moephuli, ARC president and CEO, opened the awards ceremony. He stressed the importance of continued investment in research and development to ensure the most technologically advanced animal improvement tools for efficient selection and breeding in an era of increased agricultural risks.

ARC Special Award for Innovative Development by a Dairy Producer of the Year 2020: Mmaphuti Setati (deputy director: animal improvement, DALRRD), Jeanet Rikhotso (Fort Hare Dairy Trust, Alice, Eastern Cape), and Riaan van der Walt (Meadow Feeds) at the 2019 awards function. (Photograph: Landbouweekblad)

Dr Moephuli acknowledged the resilience and innovation of dairy farmers in the face of daily challenges such as diminished demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. “Drought forced farmers to look at alternative production systems and the breeding of drought-resistant forage cultivars has become a priority,” he said.

According to Dr Jakkie du Toit, research team manager of the ARC Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme, the purpose of the Master Dairyman competition is to acknowledge the country’s most outstanding achievers in breeding genetically superior animals, as well as using performance recording and testing as tools. Winners are awarded in various categories.

ARC National Master Dairyman of the Year 2020: Breyton Milford (Agri-Expo operations manager), Johannes Loubser (PE Loubser, Durbanville, Western Cape), and Dr Jakkie du Toit (research team manager of the ARC Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme). (Photograph: Agri-Expo)

Meet the winners of the National Master Dairyman Awards

The winners of this year’s ARC National Master Dairyman Awards are:

  • ARC National Master Dairyman of the Year 2020: PE Loubser (Johannes Loubser), Durbanville, Western Cape.
  • ARC National Small-scale Dairyman of the Year 2020: MJ Zim (the late Jan Zim), between Harrismith and Kestell, Free State.
  • ARC Special Award for Innovative Development by a Dairy Producer of the Year 2020: Fort Hare Dairy Trust, Alice, Eastern Cape.
  • ARC National Herd with the Best Somatic Cell Count 2020: E Zeeman (Etienne Zeeman), Swellendam, Western Cape, with 155 000 cells/ml.
  • ARC National Herd with the Best Inter-calving Period 2020: Tweekop Boerdery (Pieter Steenkamp and Dirk van Papendorp), Heidelberg, Western Cape, with 376 days.
ARC National Herd with the Best Inter-Calving Period 2020: Pieter Steenkamp, Dirk van Papendorp, and Arno Steenkamp (Tweekop Boerdery, Swellendam, Western Cape). (Photograph: Landbouweekblad)
ARC National Small-Scale Dairyman of the Year 2020: Dr Andrew Magadlela (ARC group executive: animal sciences), the late Jan Zim and Nompe Ida Zim (MJ Zim, Kestell, Free State), and Prof Norman Maiwashe (ARC general manager: animal production) at the 2019 awards function. (Photograph: Landbouweekblad)

Meet the finalists of the National Master Dairyman Awards

ARC regional finalists for Small-Scale Dairyman of the Year 2020

  • Loyiso Consultants Projects, Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, and MJ Zim, Kestell, Free State.

ARC regional finalists for Master Dairyman of the Year 2020

  • JK Basson Familie Trust, Darling, Western Cape.
  • Rhodes Food Group, Simondium, Western Cape.
  • PE Loubser, Durbanville, Western Cape.
  • Sieberhagen & Son, Cradock, Eastern Cape.
  • Robertson Broers, Karatara, Western Cape.
  • Foundation Jersey Farm, Weenen, KwaZulu-Natal.
  • JF Theron, Barrydale, Western Cape.
  • J & H Sieberhagen, Cradock, Eastern Cape.
  • JJ Nel Familie Trust, Ladismith, Western Cape.
  • HJ Rall, Barrydale, Western Cape.
  • RB Redelinghuys Jnr, Heidelberg, Gauteng.
  • Keyser Boerdery, Heidelberg, Western Cape.
  • Fredskraal Holsteins, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape.
  • E Zeeman, Swellendam, Western Cape.
  • Tweekop Boerdery, Heidelberg, Western Cape.
  • Drie Susters, Durbanville, Western Cape.
  • Fort Hare Dairy Trust, Alice, Eastern Cape.

Acknowledgements

During the ceremony Dr Andrew Magadlela, ARC group executive: animal sciences, acknowledged all the strategic partners of the event. These partners included Mooketsa Ramasodi, deputy director-general: agricultural production, health and food safety, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Nova Feeds, Meadow Feeds, Afgri Feeds, Allflex, Warwick Estate, OK Foods, Darling Creamery, and Vredenheim Wines.

The ARC’s National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme plays a critical role in the dairy industry through the provision of genetic improvement services, accredited by the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR).

The scheme aims to enhance the sustainability and profitability of production, ultimately contributing to food security, job creation, and human capital development.

For more information, contact Dr Jakkie du Toit at dtoitj@arc.agric.za or 021 809 3515. – Press release, ARC National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme