ARC Master Dairyman Award winners announced

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

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. The ceremony was also livestreamed. 

This prestigious competition, which celebrates outstanding performance by South Africa’s top dairy producers, is recognised by key stakeholders as a highlight of the country’s agricultural calendar. Winners are awarded in various categories to acknowledge outstanding achievers in breeding genetically superior animals, using performance recording and applying 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 Dairy Management Consulting, and Prof Norman Maiwashe, general manager of Animal Production at the ARC. Prof Maiwashe emphasised the importance of public and private partnerships and highlighted the successful collaboration between the ARC and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) as well as between the ARC and private role-players in the industry. 

Read more about the 2023 ARC National Beef Performers Awards.

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 producers. “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 producers but also about the scientists and the support organisations behind the producers. 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 DALRRD, Nedbank, Nova Feeds, Agri-Expo, AFGRI, Meadow Feeds, Semex South Africa and World Wide Sires South Africa.

Agri-Expo hosted the event on behalf of the National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme of the ARC. Click here to view the live stream.

The ARC’s National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme plays a critical role in the dairy industry by providing genetic improvement services, accredited by the International Committee for Animal Recording. 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 or 082 775 7703. – Press release, Agri-Expo

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