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South Poll History

“South Poll Grass Cattle Association.”

The South Poll breed was started in 1989 by Teddy Gentry when he  got the idea to genetically combine the best traits of four material Bos Taurus breeds to form a more heat tolerant animal that would work for his cattle operation in Fort Wayne, Alabama. He also wanted an animal with a gentle disposition that would produce tender beef on grass.

"I wanted something that would allow me to maximize my profitability per acre on the grass that I've got. These cows work for me. I don't work for them." Gentry said at a meeting of the SPCCA.

Gentry started with a Hereford/Red Angus base but since only a small percentage of the overall population in those two breeds are adapted to warm areas like his own, he started looking for other breeds that would complement the maternal components of the Hereford and Red Angus breeds.

Shortly thereafter, he purchased a set of Barzona/Hereford females he said went on to impress him with their overall hardiness and easy keeping ability on high moisture grasses. Gentry says that Barzonas are called the "hardy breed" and were developed by the Bard family in Arizona.

Gentry later selected the Senepol breed developed on the island of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands by breeding the native N'dama cattle to Red Poll bulls. Senepols are very slick haired and according to the University of Florida research are one of the most heat tolerant breeds they've tested.

Gentry says he started crossing Barzona/Herefords and Senepol/Red Angus around 1989 and it was the mating of those two half bloods that produced the four way composite he named South Poll.

"Fertility and longevity account for the numbers and two traits on a chart of economic importance for the commercial cattleman. So, in our cow/calf operation, those two traits are at the top of our list," Gentry said.

"Increased selection for growth EPDs in a cow herd leads to a larger framed animal or a huge ribeye area in a grass program will adversely affect fertility and longevity, the very things we have placed first on our list," he says.

South Poll cattle, even though they were developed in the southeast part of the U.S.have proven adaptable in the Southwest and Midwest as well. Missouri is our top state for South Poll population, followed by Texas. Several years ago, a bull was sold to a producer in Utah, who used him in the harsh conditions of the mountains in the southern area of the state. His cattle have access to thousands of acres and as a result, he only sees them occasionally. He can count on his South Poll bull to lead the cattle up and down the mountain and he was so satisfied, he came back for five more bulls.

The found for the South Poll breed was built on the verify best purebred cattle from each individual breed, with cows that calve year after year with a calving interval of less than 365 days.

The SPCCA and its members will never lose sight of the big picture and though we are documenting every aspect of the breed just as other purebred organizations do, the total purpose of the breed is to provide genetics that can be profitable for the commercial cow/calf producers.

"We will always work hard to make the South Poll breed gentle and efficient. We strive for moderate birth weights, adequate growth and acceptable carcass quality in our cattle and the product of high libido bulls. We promise to conduct our business dealings honestly and to assume a leadership role in the education of our youth and the natural production of quality grass fed beef," Gentry pledged.


Updated June 15, 2020