Nov 16, 2023


The annual Agricultural Research Council (ARC) National Master Dairyman Awards ceremony was presented on Thursday 16 November 2023 at Groot Phesantekraal Estate in Cape Town as well as livestreamed.

This prestigious competition, which celebrates outstanding performance by South Africa’s top dairy farmers, is recognised by key stakeholders as a highlight of the country’s agricultural calendar. Winners are awarded in various categories to acknowledge the country’s most outstanding achievers in breeding genetically superior animals, using performance recording and performance testing as tools.

The programme included a panel discussion on sustainability, moderated by Breyton Milford, General Manager of Agri-Expo. The participants included Joyene Isaacs, Chairperson of the ARC, Chris Fourie, Managing Director of DMC, and Prof. Norman Maiwashe, General Manager: Animal Production, ARC. Prof. Maiwashe emphasized the importance of public and private partnerships and highlighted the successful collaboration between the ARC and the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) as well as between the ARC and private role-players in the industry.

Isaacs proposed that vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector can be countered through collaboration, especially by embracing the energy of the youth to build a future generation of farmers. “Transformation is about achieving a relationship that is different from what it was before,” Isaacs said. “The ARC Master Dairyman Awards is not only about recognising the winning farmers, but also about the scientists and the support organisations behind the farmers. In partnership, we can achieve more.”

The winners of the 2023 ARC National Master Dairyman Awards are:

  • ARC National Master Dairyman of the Year 2023: RFG Foods, Simondium
  • ARC National Medium-Scale Dairyman of the Year 2023: JJ Nel Familie Trust, Ladismith, Western Cape
  • ARC National Small-Scale Dairyman of the Year 2023: Gugulomuzi Ngcobo, Donnybrook, KwaZulu-Natal
  • ARC National Herd with the Best Somatic Cell Count 2023: E Zeeman (Etienne Zeeman), Swellendam, Western Cape, with 163 000 cells/ml
  • ARC National Herd with the Best Intercalving Period 2023: Tweekop Boerdery (Pieter Steenkamp and Dirk van Papendorp), Heidelberg, Western Cape, with an intercalving period of only 380 days

The event was made possible in collaboration with partners including the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Nedbank, Nova Feeds, Agri-Expo, AFGRI, Meadow Feeds, Semex South Africa and World Wide Sires South Africa.

The event was hosted by Agri-Expo on behalf of the National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme of the ARC, and the livestream can be viewed at https://www.agriexpo.co.za/arc-masterdairyman-awards/.

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 Hendrik de Waal at DWaalH@arc.agric.za or 082 775 7703.

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