South Devon Cattle, the largest beef breed in Britain, have gained popularity on several continents because of their docility, reproductive qualities and high quality meat! Easily managed animals, South Devon Cattle have a reputation for being extremely docile. They adapt well to most management systems and are very hardy.
They have been nicknamed “the Gentle Solution” by enthusiasts who value their placid personalities and feed conversion efficiency. Mature South Devon bulls usually weigh about 1,800 to 2,400 pounds. Cows are a bit smaller. South Devon Cattle are available in both red and black colors, and breeders have also developed polled and horned strains!
South Devon Cattle are praised for their beef conformation, with long muscles and sturdy frames. Their feed conversion efficiency is extremely high, and South Devon meat has been listed in the top three marbling beef breeds. A steer’s carcass yield is usually around 65 percent, and reaches slaughter age at 13 to 15 months of age.
Very little back fat is present in South Devon meat, which is lean and tender. South Devon Cattle are valued also as crossbreeders, both for their ease of reproduction and for the 12 to 14 percent increase in their crossed offspring’s rate of gain! As one would expect, South Devon Cattle originate from Devonshire England, where they overlapped into Cornwall.
They were developed as early as the 1500’s, and were valued then, as now, for their beef and reproductive qualities! South Devon Cattle were introduced to the United States in 1969, and since have continued to gain in popularity for obvious reasons! In 1974, the North American South Devon Association was established and today South Devon enthusiasts still rave about their favorite cattle!
The breed has spread over five continents and continues to increase its following! South Devon Cattle are easy to handle and manage and do best under pasture or range conditions with shelter from the elements. Steers are ready to slaughter at 1,150 to 1,250 pounds. They gain, on average, about four pounds per day in the feedlot with a 4.52 rate of feed conversion!
South Devon Cattle are renowned for their maternal abilities. They make caring, attentive mothers with good milk production and easy calvings. In fact, 92 percent of their calves are weaned! Because of these traits, they are wonderful crossbred dams. As sires, South Devon bulls impart qualities of hardiness, docility and high rates of feed conversion!