Various breed types and productions systems are used to produce beef from natural pastures. In arid regions with erratic rainfall patterns, flexible production systems will assist the sustainable use of land. Cattle breed types (Simmentaler crossbred, Bonsmara crossbred, Afrikaner and Nguni) differing in frame size were used to illustrate the effect of marketing strategy (weaners vs. 30 month old steers) on production performance. The actual pregnancy, weaning and growth rates determined for the respective breed types were used to calculate production performance. For all breed types marketing steers at 30 months of age resulted in more kilograms live weight marketed than when marketing weaner calves. Differences in kilograms live weight produced were also observed between the various breed types (Nguni > Bonsmara crossbred > Simmentaler crossbred > Afrikaner). The reproduction rate of the cows and the survival rates of the calves had a more pronounced influence on production efficiency than the growth rate of the calves. The characteristics of the respective breed types must be taken into account when deciding on a breed type as well as the production and marketing system to be followed.