South African Agricultural Animal Husbandry

2019-04-15 Business No comment

Livestock is South Africa's largest agricultural sector with a population of approximately 13.8 million head of cattle and 28.8 million head of sheep. Breeder breeders focus on developing varieties that adapt to different climatic and environmental conditions.

Dairy farming:

Whole dairy products are produced throughout South Africa, with most of the farms located in the Eastern and Northern Free States, the Northwest, the KwaZulu-Natal Central Region, the Eastern and Western Cape Town, Gauteng and the southern part of Mpumalanga. The four major dairy breeds in South Africa are Holstein cows, Jersey, Guernsey and Ayrshire.

The dairy industry is very important to the job market in South Africa. About 4,300 milk producers employ about 60,000 farm workers and indirectly provide employment opportunities for 40,000 people. Milk production in 2003/04 is estimated at 2 billion litres.

Beef farming:

South Africa produces 85% of meat demand, 15% of which comes from Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. Even if public agricultural areas have unexplored reserves, local demand generally exceeds production.

Cattle farms are mainly distributed in the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Northern Cape. Popular beef varieties include the indigenous Afrikaner and Nguni as well as the locally developed Bonsmara and Drakensberger. European and American varieties such as Charolais, Hereford, Angus, Simmentaler, Sussex, Brahman and Santa Gertrudis remain pure or used for cross breeding.

Sheep and goat farming:

South African sheep farming is concentrated in the North and Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga, and Mermelo in Mpumalanga is one of the largest wool producing areas. Fifty percent of the sheep are fine-haired merinos. Other varieties include locally developed Afrino, wool mutton varieties adapted to drought conditions, South African lamb merino lamb, Dohne and Merino long white pigs. South African lamb comes from Dorper, a high-yield and locally developed arid mutton breed – and furry merino wool.

Karakul sheep are farmed in arid areas. There were about 20,173 furs in 2002/03 with a total output value of 33 million. Boer goats produced from indigenous meat account for about 30% of all commercial goats. Angora goats are used in mohair production.

Poultry and pig industry:

Poultry and pig farms in South Africa are more concentrated than a wide range of sheep and cattle farms and are located near metropolitan areas such as Gauteng, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The main pig breeds are South African Changbai, Dabai, Duroc and Pietrain.

South Africa's annual poultry production is 960,000 tons. Broiler production accounts for about 82% of total poultry production, and the rest consists of mature chicken slaughter [eliminated], small-scale and backyard poultry production, ducks, geese, turkeys and other specialized white meat products. Revenue from poultry and egg production in 2002/03 reached Rs 11.3 billion.

South Africa accounts for 67% of world ostrich product sales – leather, meat and feathers. The total value of ostrich feathers and products in 2002/03 was RM2.765 million.

Game farming:

South Africa has more games and a wider variety of game species than most countries. Game agriculture has been developing over the years and today is a viable industry with huge economic potential. The country's main gaming areas are located in the thorns of Limpopo, northwest, Mpumalanga, Free State, Eastern Cape, Karoo, Kalahari in the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Descriptive game production models have been developed to optimize intensive animal production on game farms, potentially increasing the global production of the gaming industry by 8% to 15%.


South Africa's aquaculture industry continues to make meaningful progress in planting technology, marketing strategies, marketing practices and scientific innovation. Mussels, squid, tilapia, squid, oysters and waterblommetjies [Cape pondweed] are the main aquaculture species. Mussel farming occurs mainly in the Saldanha Bay.

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