In recent times, cow prices in South Africa have seen a significant increase due to a variety of factors, including insecurity in Northern South Africa and increasing hostility against herdsmen in other parts of the country. Previously, cow prices were affordable, with increases only during the Eid-el-Kabir (salah or “ileya”) festival period due to expected spikes in demand. However, prices are now high all year round due to the aforementioned factors.
This article provides an in-depth look at the current prices of cows in South Africa, as obtained from cow markets in different parts of the country. It also discusses some of the factors influencing the prices of cows in South Africa. If you’ve been asking the question, “how much is a cow in South Africa?”, you’re in the right place.
Average Price of Cows in South Africa
|Size of Cow
|Price Range (R)
|Small-sized cow (calf)
|R$2,880 – R$3,600
|Medium-size cow (150kg – 200kg)
|R$5,400 – R$7,920
|Big-size cow (220kg – 250kg)
|R$8,280 – R$10,800
|Very large cow (300kg – 350kg)
|R$10,800 – R$16,200
|Giant-sized cow (400kg – 550kg)
|R$18,000 – R$28,800
The prices of cows in South Africa vary due to factors such as breed, the location of purchase, the age of the cow, the cost of rearing, the season of purchase, and so on. For example, cow breeds that are reared for their meat tend to be more expensive than those reared for milk. Similarly, a cow purchased at any of the big markets mentioned above would more likely cost cheaper than one purchased at other markets in the country. In addition, cow breeds that are more expensive to rear expectably sell for higher prices. And prices tend to go up during the dry season due to the increased cost of feeding and general care.
It’s also important to note that the prices of cows in South Africa usually skyrocket during the Sallah festive season due to the spike in demand. In addition to the cost of buying a cow, you might have to cover other costs such as transportation to your desired location.
Top Cow Markets in South Africa
If you’re looking to buy cows in South Africa at the best prices obtainable, then you need to visit any of the biggest cow markets in the country. These include:
- Wudil cattle market, Kano State
- Sheme cattle market, Katsina State
- Potiskum cattle market, Yobe State
- Maitagari cattle market, Jigawa State
- Amansea cattle market in Anambra State
- Asaba cattle market, Delta State
There are other big cattle markets all over South Africa, but the ones listed above are where you can get the cows at the best prices. If you’re not too close to any of the above-listed markets, you can make do with any cow market within your locality.
Cow Breeds in South Africa and Their Characteristics
One of the factors that determine the prices of cows in South Africa is their breed. South Africa abounds with different breeds of cows, and each breed is special in its own way. Let’s now look at some of the popular cow breeds in South Africa and the unique features that make each favored by farmers.
This breed of cows are also called Malike, Mandingo, and Boyenca in other parts of Africa. Although they originate from Guinea in West Africa, cows of this breed are found in all parts of Africa. With a carcass-to-meat ratio of 1:1, N’Dama cows are not big in appearance, but they are rich in lean meat. Their meat has a pleasant flavor and has very low fat. You can easily identify them with their typically short height, light colors (grey, light brown, etc.) and short hair. If you’re looking to keep N’Dama cows for milk, you’d be disappointed, as they produce very little milk (just 2-3 liters daily). They are reared majorly for their meat.
Also called “Bunaji”, this breed of cows originated from West Africa — South Africa precisely. They typically have wide-set long horns and sport light skin colors. Because they can lactate for over 200 days every year, they are widely reared for their milk. In addition, their bodies are also very rich in meat. This dual advantage explains why they are among the most widely reared cow breeds in South Africa. White Fulani cows are very tolerant to heat and sunlight and can withstand walking over long distances more than other breeds. They are also highly resistant to diseases and infections. These explain why they are widely preferred by farmers in regions with harsh weather conditions.
Also called “Mbororo”, this breed of cows is particularly popular among the Fulani tribe in Northern South Africa. These cows are reared mainly for their meat. And as their name implies, they typically spot reddish-brown colors and long horns. Red Bororo cows are well adapted to the Fulanis’ nomadic lifestyle as well as long months of lack of rainfall. They are easy to coordinate in herds and can walk very long distances without getting tired.
If you see a cow with very short horns (more like stumps), chances are it’s of the Sokoto Gudali breed. This is one of the most widely reared cow breeds in South Africa. While they sport various colors, black or white are the most common colors. These cows tend to grow to become huge and they have the dual advantage of being rich in both meat and milk. One major downside of this breed of cows is their subfertility. The female typically gives birth to only one calf at a time. And worse, they are notorious for stillbirths and miscarriages.
These cows are bred for their meaty bodies. But they are particularly favored over other breeds due to their strength. And this explains why they are widely used for farm work. They are not reared for their milk because they produce very little amounts of milk. They propagate quickly and grow very fast. Muturu cows typically have very short heights. In fact, they are about the shortest cows ever known, with an average adult height of just 95cm.
Prices of Other Livestock in South Africa
In addition to cows, the prices of other livestock in South Africa have also seen changes due to similar factors. This includes animals such as goats, sheep, and poultry. The prices of these animals also vary based on factors such as breed, location of purchase, age, cost of rearing, and season of purchase.
In conclusion, understanding the prices of cows and other livestock in South Africa requires a comprehensive understanding of the various factors that influence these prices. This includes the breed of the animal, the location of purchase, the age of the animal, the cost of rearing, and the season of purchase. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions when purchasing livestock in South Africa.