South Poll Cattle
The South Poll is a maternal composite combining four maternal breeds: Red Angus, Hereford, Senepol, and Barzona. A moderate framed, slick haired cow designed for hot, humid environments, the South Poll is ideal for our changing climate.
South Polls are bred to be small-framed cows with emphasis placed on high fertility, longevity, adaptability and calm disposition. South Polls are bred to excel on a grass based grazing system. Ultrasound and actual carcass data on the South Poll tells us that they are as tender, or more tender, than straight bred English cattle.
Almost 30 years ago, Teddy Gentry of Bent Tree Farms in Fort Payne, Alabama set out to build a better composite beef breed. Teddy chose the very best foundation purebred cattle from each of the individual breeds that make up the South Poll breed. His idea was based on a desire to combine four maternal Bos Taurus breeds together to form a more heat tolerant animal that had a gentle disposition and tender carcass qualities. Teddy explained he used Hereford and Red Angus in the mix because they were very docile, had great foraging ability and could adapt anywhere. The Red Angus were chosen for their carcass traits and mothering ability. The Barzonas were selected because they are very hardy, heat tolerant, have good udders, and have great longevity. One of Teddy’s Barzonas lived to be 26 years of age. The 4th piece of the composite was the Senepol, a slick-haired heat tolerant breed developed on St. Croix, Virgin Islands by breeding native N’dama cattle to Red Poll bulls. According to the University of Florida, Senepols are the most heat-tolerant breed they have tested.
The combination of the four-way cross has resulted in a very balanced beef animal that is virtually problem free, efficient on grass, very fertile, has very desirable carcass qualities including tenderness, and they are docile and easy to handle. Also, the South Poll breed has significantly fewer calving problems, less pink eye, fewer prolapses, less fertility problems and fly issues. Although South Polls were bred to be the Southern mama cow, they have proven themselves to thrive virtually everywhere in the continental United State, Hawaii and South America.
Greg Judy, the Missouri mob-grazing guru and author of Comeback Farms, runs South Poll cattle on his farms. In his book Greg states, “from the very first moment I got the cows [South Polls], they have performed better than any cattle that I had previously grazed”.
We had the blessing to pick up a herd of Foundation Cows born in 2001 about 10 years ago that our entire herd is based on. Many of those foundation cows remain productive today. Due to an extended 2 year drought, we moved our cow / calf operation to Middle Missouri and have a unique partnership with Sassafras Valley Ranch and the Shanks family. Collectively we have built our combined herd of South Polls to over 300 breeding females. In Middle Tennessee we manage the grass finishing operation of South Poll steers for beef sales in Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee.
At Hope Hill we focus on developing and improving the genetic quality traits South Polls are known for:
- Moderate framed with a frame score of 2 to 4 with a mature weight of 1000 to 1200 lbs
- high reproductive performance
- great udders
- easy fleshing
- heat tolerant
- docile and gentle
- naturally rugged
- ability to efficiently thrive on forage
- high muscle volume with high meat to bone ratio
- quality carcass traits and tenderness