Red Polls were developed as a dual-purpose breed in England in the 1800's.
They are the outcome of a cross between the original cattle of the Suffolk and Norfolk counties. The Norfolk Red was a beef type, while the Suffolk Dun polled cattle (believed to be have been brought there by the Romans) were dairy animals.
The breeders involved in its early development focused on rapid fattening and milk supply. Originally, the breed was referred to as the Norfolk and Suffolk Red Polled cattle. It wasn't until 1874 that the Red Poll title was adopted. It is believed that Galloway and Devons have also influenced the development of Red Polls.
Red Polls are a medium sized polled breed, whose coat colour is typically a deep red. They are recognised for their excellent walking, longevity and easy calving. Calves grow rapidly due to their mothers abilities. Red Poll beef is known to be fine-grained, flavoursome and tender. The breed performs well under diverse management systems such as feed lot or grass fed. Red Polls have seen much success in the vealer market, while heavyweight steers and bullock have proved to be popular in Korean and Japanese markets. Although they are bred primarily for beef production, some milking herds exist in England.
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Today, Red Poll cattle can be found in the United States, South Africa, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. They first arrived in Australia in the mid-1800's, where James Graves, a former Victorian Minister for Customs, was the first documented breeder.