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This year’s Agricultural Research Council (ARC) annual National Master Dairyman Awards ceremony was presented on Wednesday 21 October 2020 as a virtual event by Agri-Expo, on behalf of the National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme of the ARC. The prestigious competition celebrates South Africa’s top commercial and smallholder achievers in the industry and is recognised by key stakeholders as a highlight on the country’s agricultural calendar.

The awards ceremony was opened by Dr Shadrack Moephuli, ARC President and CEO. 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. 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 resistance forage cultivars has become a priority,” Dr Moephuli 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, using performance recording and performance testing as tools. Winners are awarded in various categories.

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), Swellendam, Western Cape with 376 days

Dr Andrew Magadlela, ARC Group Executive: Animal Sciences, in his vote of thanks acknowledged all the strategic partners of the event, including Mr Mooketsa Ramasodi, Deputy Director General (DDG): Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety and 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 awards ceremony can still be viewed at www.livestock.org.za/arcmasterdairymanawards.

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 objective of the scheme is 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.

The finalists in the various categories were:

ARC Regional Finalists for Small Scale Dairyman of the Year 2020

  • Loyiso Consultants Projects, Kokstad, KwaZulu Natal
  • 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

Issued on behalf of the National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme of the ARC by

Isabeau Botha
Corporate Communication Manager