GASCON CATTLE SOCIETY UK
The Gascon breed is a beef breed of medium size which is very hardy. The Gascon is aimed toward the production of beef, both from pedigree and crossbred animals.
COAT: There are two types of bulls as a result of the breeds’ origins. One type has a greyish black coat in colour but shade to black underneath. The second type are predominantly grey. They also have black mucous membranes. They have black-rimmed eyelids and have a light coloured muzzle. The darker bulls are the more favoured standard.
The cows have a grey/greyish black coat and a black mucous membrane. They also have black-rimmed eyelids and the tips of their tails are black. They have a light coloured muzzle.
Calves are born with a red/fawn coloured coat which turns grey around 4 months old or sometimes later.
HEAD: Relatively short, wide forehead, wide muzzle, horns growing upwards and forwards with dark tips.
BODY: Deep chest, well sprung ribs, straight back, thick loin, rump wide and level, hindquarters well rounded and down to hocks.
LEGS & FEET: Short strong cannon bones, legs plumb and black hooves.
The breed is extremely hardy due to the conditions it has experienced throughout it’s long history. It has developed a robustness which allows it to tolerate and thrive in all conditions and extremes of temperature. Their style of coat also allows them to shed water well. They can be out-wintered without it impacting them as they are able to cope with periods of plenty and scarcity without it affecting their suckling capabilities. They have good legs, good bone structure and strong dark hooves as well as powerful muscles. Their good hard feet makes them suitable for indoor slatted systems.
EASE OF CALVING:
Through selective breeding to ensure a good pelvic opening the cows tend to calve easily. Their uterus also returns to its normal size rapidly.
Due to their ease of calving this leads to a new production cycle starting quickly which means they settle back to the bull easily and have a very long productive life. This leads to the cow easily producing 1 calf per year. As they are a slower maturing breed the age at first calving is generally recommended to be between 24 and 30 months to allow good growth before the first calving. The older age at calving is compensated for by their longevity.
The average birthweight for males is 38kg and for females it is 36kg.
Calves are vigorous from the first hours of life and suckle quickly and well. They have an average liveweight gain of 1kg per day from birth without supplementary feeding.
Cows have good udders and therefore do well by their calves.
The breed has a very good feed conversion rate – even with scarce rations. They are ready for slaughter on average at 20 – 24 months of age without intensive feeding. Young bulls do well in intensive fattening systems. The majority of carcasses grade out at U+ or R+.
MH GENE (MYOSTATIN):
The MH Gene is linked to double muscling in cattle. Through selective breeding the prevalence of the MH Gene has been reduced without compromising muscular development.
All pedigree registered bulls are required to be tested for their myostatin status and for sire verification as no MH/MH bulls, or their progeny, can be registered. Breeders are also encouraged to test their breeding females although it is not compulsory.