There are close to forty cattle breeds from which farmers can choose in South Africa. These South African beef breeds differ in terms of size, build, adaptability to different climatic and production environments, resistance to certain pests and diseases, reproduction, parenting abilities, as well as meat quality and carcass yields.
South African beef breeds are varied throughout the country.
On top of this, there may also be a huge variation between individual animals within specific breeds, due to production conditions or the genetic and physical make-up of an animal.
For the best results, farmers should choose a beef breed or the breeds, if they will farm with more than one, that will thrive under their production environment and system, and buy the best genetics they can afford of these breeds.
By Glenneis Kriel
Afrikaner cattle originated from wild cattle on the Asian steppes. Afrikaner cattle are produced throughout South Africa, as well as in some of our neighbouring countries...more
Angus Beef is internationally known as Aberdeen Angus, and was one of the first cattle breeds exclusively bred for beef production....more
Ankole cattle are part of the larger beef production industry of South Africa. This breed can be traced back to the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians...more
Beefmaster cattle are a large breed of cattle known for its beef production in South Africa. According to Beefmaster SA, Tony Brink is seen as the pioneer of the breed in the country....more
Bonsmara cattle are used for beef production in South Africa. The Bonsmara Breeders Society boasted over 130 000 registered cattle in 2019....more
The Boran cattle breed developed more than a thousand years ago, from the native short-horned cattle of the Borana people of southern Ethiopia....more
The Brahman is the first cattle breed to have been developed in the United States, and is now part of beef production of South Africa....more
The Braunvieh, named after the brown colour of its coats, is one of the oldest and purest cattle breeds and part of beef production in South Africa...more
The Charolais, one of the oldest of several French cattle breeds, is thought to have originated in the Jura mountains of Eastern France....more
Drakensberger cattle developed out of the black indigenous cattle of South Africa, and is now part of the country's beef production....more
Hereford cattle are a large breed of South Africa's beef production. The origin of the Hereford breed is uncertain...more
The Limousin cattle breed take their name from their region of origin, Limousin, in Southern France....more
Nguni cattle are a popular meat breed, part of beef production in South Africa. Their name derives from the local tribes who historically farmed them, collectively known as the Nguni people....more
The Santa Gertrudis cattle breed, part of beef production in South Africa, was bred by Robert Kleberg Jr of King Ranch in the United States. ...more
Shorthorn cattle are part of beef production in South Africa and developed from Teeswater and Durham cattle in North East England....more
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
The Simmentaler breed is part of the beef production industry of SA and seems to have developed around the Middle Ages...more
The Sussex cattle breed is one of the oldest and purest breeds of English cattle, and is now a large part of the beef production industry in South Africa....more
The Tuli is a “fertile, profitable, range cattle”, as per the Tuli Cattle Breeders Society of South Africa logo. The Tuli forms part of the Sanga group, which according to DNA tests have existed for over 2000 years....more
The word Wagyu means “Japanese cow” and, as the name suggests, refers to a couple of cattle breeds that originate in Japan....more