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Pineywoods Cattle Registry & Breeders Association

Holt -- more information

Pineywoods Cattle – The Holt Line -- more information...

The Holt line is from Georgia and originated in the Hawkinsville area, although in 1917 or 1918 the old family herd, already 100 years old, was moved to the Okeefenokee area.  James Holt's father had this sort of cattle, and he has maintained a herd from that base.  James clearly remembers traincar loads of cattle coming into the swamp areas from the west during the droughts of the thirties.  The imported cattle were all cows, and he never remembers steers or bulls among the hundreds of cattle brought to the southeast in those shipments.  Of the cattle introduced into the area only a very, very few survived more than a few months due to endemic diseases and the adverse environment.  As a result the local herds received minimal genetic input from the introduction of these western cattle.  This was the first major influx of non-Pineywoods cattle into the area.

ln the days when Holt's father and grandfather had herds of these cattle it was common for breeders to swap bulls back and forth.  Later, when few pure herds existed, this practice was stopped and no bulls were introduced into the Holt herd until a white bull was introduced in 1985.  This was probably the Barnes line bull that came from Carl Williams, another breeder with predominantly Holt line cattle.  In the early 1900s Holt says it was easily possible to distinguish between the herds of the various owners of these Georgia strains, because each preferred a different color or spotting pattern and would select most of the herd to be of a specific variant.  This is somewhat in contrast to the more lax selection for color in most other geographic areas.  The final cattle in Holt’s herd were mostly black colorsided animals, although some of the Holt cattle in the Williams herds are other colors.

Holt cattle are generally small to medium framed, and blocky. Horns are moderate to short, generally with some outward twist. Colors include red and black, and most are colorsided or linebacked. A few randomly spotted ones remain.

--- Phil Sponenberg

Young Holt Bull
Photo by Phil Sponenberg