There are over 800 breeds of cattle recognized worldwide, all uniquely adapted to the local climate or for specific human uses. Locally there are about 30 breeds registered on the SA Stud Book, representing the largest agricultural sector in South Africa, with a population of around 14-million cattle.
South Africa produces 85% of its meat demands, with the balance imported from Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Our cattle farms are found mainly in the Eastern Cape, the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Northern Cape. Popular beef breeds include the indigenous Afrikaner and Nguni and locally developed Bonsmara and Drakensberger. European and American breeds such as Charolais, Hereford, Angus and Simmentaler are kept as pure breeds or used for cross-breeding.
Classification of beef breeds in SA
Beef up on classification
There is a variety of beef cuts available at your local supermarket or butchery these days, and many consumers may be confused about how beef is classified. So to ensure that you are not dissatisfied in the quality of your beef, only buy classified South Africa cuts.
Choosing the best quality beef cuts can be difficult, especially if you are not clued up on the standard local classifications used. Here are some guidelines for buying quality South African Beef.
Meat classification is an indication of quality that reflects the value between different qualities of meat. Our local beef is classified according to age, fat cover and carcass composition - and roller marked on each carcass. The grade and fat data, along with abattoirs registered identity number, are stamped into all carcasses with food grade approved ink. If you want to purchase your beef with confidence, check the roller marks according to your choice.
The following are characteristics of meat classification in South Africa:
FAT - classes are indicated in the following manner:
000 – No visible fat on the carcass
111 – A very lean carcass
222 – A lean carcass
333 – A medium fat carcass
444 – A fat carcass
555 – An over-fat carcass
666 – An excessively fat carcass