Beef Production in South Africa

©Glenneis Kriel
Hereford cattle produced near Villiersdorp in the Western Cape.
South Africa has a rich heritage of beef production, with cattle being used in the past and even today to measure people’s wealth and in some cultures to pay a bride price, called lobola.

Production takes place almost across the country, with different breeds being suited to different climatic conditions and areas. There is also a large variety of farmers, ranging from subsistence to large commercial producers and breeders.

Afrikaner Cattle

Thanks to the breed’s ability to tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions and its excellent ability to thrive on even poor quality veld, Afrikaner cattle are produced throughout South Africa, as well as in some of our neighbouring countries...more

Angus Beef

Aberdeen Angus, internationally known as Angus, was one of the first cattle breeds exclusively bred for beef production....more

Bonsmara Beef

Bonsmara has over time become the most produced beef breed in South Africa, accounting for between 50% and 60% of the total commercial beef herd. The Bonsmara Breeders Society boasted over 130 000 registered cattle in 2019....more

Brahman Cattle

The Brahman is the first cattle breed to have been developed in the United States. European breeds struggled to reach their full genetic potential under the harsh climatic and veld conditions of states, such as California, Louisiana and Texas....more

Drakensberger Cattle

Drakensberger cattle developed out of the black indigenous cattle of South Africa. As early as 2 December 1497, Vasco da Gama mentioned the "fat, black ox" that he obtained in a trade....more

Nguni Cattle

Nguni cattle are produced throughout South Africa thanks to their hardiness and ability to thrive on poor quality veld. The fact that it can tolerate high temperatures, bodes that it may play an increasingly important role in future meat production...more

Simbra Cattle

The Simbra is a relatively new breed of cattle, developed in the 1960s, in America, when professional breeders selectively crossed Simmentalers with Brahmans, to produce a “package” of the best of these breeds....more

Simmentaler Cattle

The Simmentaler breed seems to have developed around the Middle Ages, from a cross between German cattle and a smaller indigenous Swiss breed....more

Wagyu Beef

The word Wagyu means “Japanese cow” and, as the name suggests, refers to a couple of cattle breeds that originate in Japan....more