Senepol breed of beef
cattle were developed on the Caribbean Island of St. Croix from N'Dama cattle, imported
in the late 19th century, by crossing with Red
The Senepol breed combines the N'Dama
characteristics of heat tolerance and insect resistance with the
docile nature, good meat, and high milk production of the Red Poll.
They are polled
, short haired, and colored
red, black or brown.
cattle were imported to St. Croix from Senegal in the 19th
century, being better suited to the climatic conditions than
One of the largest herds of over 250 head
was owned by Henry C. Nelthropp at the Granard Estates.
Henry's son Bromley bought a Redpoll bull from Trinadad to improve
the cows' milking ability and remove their long horns.
Redpoll bulls were used in the following years and the cattle were
selected for solid red color, natural polling and heat tolerance.
These offspring were dispersed to four main herds on the island.
The name Senepol was adopted in 1954 and a breed registry was
established in the late 1960s. Aided by the United States
Department of Agriculture the College of the Virgin Islands Extension Service
began on farm performance testing in 1976.
In 1977 22 cows
were taken to the United States and the breed has since spread
across the southern states. There are now more than 500 breeders
with more than 14,000 registered cattle. They are also found in
Australia, Venezuela, Mexico, Philippines, Zimbabwe and
Disease and Insect Resistance
USDA research indicates that Senepol have greater immune response
when compared to other beef breeds. This is due to the N'Dama
influence in Senepol, and is also aided by generations of natural
selection being applied on the island of St. Croix. In the 1950s,
with sugar cane becoming less economic, the United States
Department of Agriculture put resources into the teaching of
scientific breeding under Richard Marshall Bond.
- Oklahoma State University breed profile
- Senepol Cattle Breeders Association breed history
- This was covered in an article on the Virgin Islands in the
February 1956 National Geographic.