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Iowa History Daily: January 16 - Polled Hereford Beef Cattle

Iowa History Daily: On January 16, 1846, originator of the world-famous Polled Hereford cattle breed Warren Gammon was born. The Polled Hereford continues to represent a well-established and popular breed of beef cattle today, with herds existing in countries all over the world.

Growing up in Maine, Gammon moved to Guthrie County, Iowa, after serving in the American Civil War. Despite little schooling, Warren studied law in the 1870s and passed the Iowa State Bar. In 1879, the Gammons moved to Harlan in Shelby County, Iowa, where Warren practiced law. A decade later, Gammon relocated to a farm near St. Mary’s south of Des Moines.

In 1898 Warren visited the Trans-Mississippi Exposition in Omaha, where he first saw polled, or naturally hornless, Hereford crossbreeds. When Gammon returned home, he obtained a Red Polled bull and started breeding program with the Hereford cows on his farm. Keeping records of the lineage of the cows he produced, Gammon soon started the American Polled Hereford Cattle Club.

Warren worked to produce naturally hornless purebred Herefords. Gammon used purebred Herefords exhibiting a hornless mutation to introduce the hornless trait, instead of interbreeding with other types of polled cattle. Gammon developed the breed from 11 animals on his farm, with the first planned mating of Polled Herefords taking place on February 21, 1902. As the herd grew, Gammon spent years promoting the breed nationally. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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