Beef/boeuf sur patte production in South Africa has a rich heritage, with cattle being used in the past and even today for different reasons in various cultures throughout the country. Production takes place almost across South Africa, with different breeds being suited to different climatic conditions and areas.
There is also a large variety of livestock farmers, ranging from subsistence to large commercial producers and breeders.
• The Afrikaner, also known as the Africander, is a breed of taurine-indicine (“Sanga”) cattle indigenous to South Africa.
• The Bonsmara is a breed of cattle known for its high quality beef and resistance to local diseases.
• The Drakensberger is a breed of cattle indigenous to South Africa, where it developed over several centuries.
• The Nguni cattle breed is special to Southern Africa. The cattle breed is medium-sized and adapted to grazing on the highveld.
• Sanga cattle is the collective name for indigenous cattle of sub-Saharan Africa. They are sometimes identified as a subspecies with the scientific name Bos taurus africanus. These cattle originated in East Africa, probably the western shores of Lake Victoria, and have spread up the river Nile, with depictions on Ancient Egyptian murals.
• Tulim is a recently developed beef cattle breed, a composite of Tuli and Limousin cattle. Their origin and major distribution is in South Africa.
• The Limousin breed originated in France and is believed to be as old as the European continent itself. Today this unique breed has very special meat characteristics and can make its mark with great success in any cattle farm.
• The Charolais is a French breed of taurine beef cattle. It originates in, and is named for, the Charolais area surrounding Charolles, in the département of Saône-et-Loire, in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of eastern France. Charolais are raised for meat; they may be crossed with other breeds, including Angus and Hereford cattle.
• Angus Beef is internationally known as Aberdeen Angus, and was one of the first cattle breeds exclusively bred for beef production. South African producers prefer the Red over the Black Angus cattle, which is reflected by the fact that more than seventy percent of the Angus cattle listed on SA Studbook are red. In the rest of the world, however, more than ninety percent of the listed Angus cattle are black. The United States and Australia are of the few countries where Red and Black Angus cattle are listed separately.
• The Brahman breed was introduced to the South African beef cattle scene in 1957. The conditions in Africa and the extensive condition on farms suit this breed very well. Brahmans in Southern Africa have become an economic and highly profitable breed.
• The word Wagyu means “Japanese cow” and, as the name suggests, refers to a couple of cattle breeds that originated in Japan.