In the 1800s, N’Dama cattle were imported to the Caribbean Island of St. Croix from Senegal, West Africa. The N’Dama, a Bos Taurus breed, was well suited for the Caribbean because of its heat tolerance, insect and disease resistance and its ability to thrive on poor quality forage and hot climates. In 1918, Red Polled genetics were introduced to the herd to improve milking fertility and to make them polled. This blending of genetics proved quite successful and formed the foundation of the Senepol breed.
In 1977 a plane carrying 22 Senepols left St. Croix for the mainland in the United States. As of 2012, the Senepol Cattle Breeders Association has members in the Southeastern part of the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Australia and Africa, where ever tropical adaptation is needed.
Senepol cattle are 100% Bos Taurus beef cattle known for their early maturing, heat tolerance, ability to forage and tender beef. They are red in color, have polled heads, excellent udders, are good milkers, wean off 50% or better of their body weight, gentle in nature and meet the consumer demands for quality and tenderness and exceed U.S. National averages.
Senepol cattle have been referred to as the “cross breeding specialist” for those breeders looking for heat tolerant Bos Taurus cattle. In the tough dry climates that the United States has encountered over the past few summers, Senepol cattle have excelled, still maintaining good weaning and yearling weights with cow breed back.
Senepol cattle have also been identified as one of the few breeds of cattle that possess the “Slick hair gene”. The presence of this gene allows for Senepol cattle to produce calves that are slick, having extremely short hair, which attributes to their heat tolerance. And you can see the results of the slick hair gene in your pastures, when during the heat of the day, your Senepol cattle are still grazing in the heat of the day and increasing their weight, whereas other breeds have found shade.
USDA research established that Senepols maintain cooler temperatures when compared to Brahman, Angus and Hereford cows when grazing during the summer months in Florida. The same study revealed that F1 Seneford calves maintained rectal temperatures almost identical to a full-bloodied Senepol.
Calving ease and vigor are two huge advantages in Senepol over other breeds. Breeders everywhere are proud of the increased survival rates of Senepol sired calves because they jump up and nurse quickly. Senepol birth weights show male calves average a birth weight of 80 lbs and females an average of 75 lbs. Senepols rank as a top calving ease breed.
Breed Registry and Programs
The database for SCBA has over the largest Senepol database in the world and the only Senepol database to maintain the herd book on the foundation cattle from St. Croix. Annually, the data is analyzed in August every year by Angus Genetics Inc. to establish updated Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) for the breed. In 2012, SCBA moved to a Multi-breed analysis for growth traits such as birth weight, weaning weight, milk, milk & growth and yearling weights. Carcass EPDs are still evaluated under the single breed model. Every year the results are published in our Sire Summary http://www.senepolcattle.com/sire_summary.php. As we continue to grow, we hope to expand the traits that are evaluated to include scrotal circumference and new growth traits.
In 2012, SCBA saw almost three times more cattle added to the database compared to 2011. If you are looking for cattle that are heat tolerant, produce tender beef and are easy to manage, look no further; Senepol is the breed for you.