Animal production contributes approximately 41% to the country’s agricultural GDP. About 500 000 people are employed by the industry.

Milk production in South Africa contributes approximately 0,5% to the world’s milk production. South Africa has four major dairy breeds, namely Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey and Ayrshire.

Mpumalanga commands the greatest share of beef production in South Africa, accounting for 23% in 2009, followed with the Free State and Gauteng, taking up 20% and 13% respectively. Commercial farmers own 60% of the 14,1 million cattle available in South Africa.

There are 27 popular beef breeds in South Africa including the Brahman, indigenous Afrikaner and Nguni, Tuli, Boron, Bonsmara, Drakensberger, Simbra, Beefmaster, Angus and Braford.