Organisers of the National Master Dairyman Awards last night honoured the late Jan Zim and Nompe Ida Zim, two Free State dairyman, with its prestigious ARC National Small-scale Dairyman of the Year award.
This award to the MJ Zim dairy operation from Kestell in the Free State was presented during a glitzy online ceremony.
Walking away with the top award at the annual Agricultural Research Council event was Johannes Loubser of the P.E. Loubser herd in Durbanville in the Western Cape. He scooped the ARC National Master Dairyman of the Year award.
The awards ceremony is hosted annually by Agri-Expo on behalf of the National Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme of the ARC.
The competition celebrates South Africa’s top commercial and smallholder achievers in the industry. It is recognised as a highlight on Mzansi’s agricultural calendar.
Alternative production systems
Last night’s 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.
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,” he said.
According to Dr Jakkie du Toit, research team manager of the ARC Milk Recording and Improvement Scheme, the Master Dairyman competition acknowledges the country’s top achievers in breeding genetically superior animals, using performance recording and performance testing as tools. Winners are awarded in various categories.
Many other dairy stars
Other top winners include the Fort Hare Dairy Trust in Alice in the Eastern Cape who won the ARC Special Award for innovative development by a dairy producer.
Etienne Zeeman from Swellendam in the Western Cape won the ARC National Herd award with the best somatic cell count of 155 000 cells/ml. Pieter Steenkamp and Dirk van Papendorp, also from Swellendam, won the ARC National Herd with the best intercalving period of 376 days at their Tweekop Boerdery.
In his vote of thanks, Dr Andrew Magadlela, ARC group executive: animal sciences, acknowledged the event’s strategic partners, including Mooketsa Ramasodi, deputy director-general: agricultural production, health and food safety and the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development. He also acknowledged Nova Feeds, Meadow Feeds, Afgri Feeds, Allflex, Warwick Estate, OK Foods, Darling Creamery and Vredenheim Wines.