News/Cattle for Sale
Breeding cattle available privately.
Roddy Watt (Tel: 01854 666316) has a young Gascon bull and heifers for sale (Sutherland).
Allan Wyatt (Tel: 01549 441356) has some heifers for sale (Sutherland).
We are currently arranging an import of breeding cattle. This can be an excellent way of either beginning or improving a herd and also of bringing in new genetics. While importing can seem daunting, it is relatively straightforward. The French Gascon Society, Groupe Gascon, will deal with the French requirements and once in the UK, the local Animal Health Office will deal with the UK requirements. The rules change regularly, but usually there is a period of isolation and some testing. For transport, a group of 15 cattle minimum is best to keep costs down.
For more details, please contact either the breeders directly or the breed secretary.
If you would like to be informed of available breeding stock or mart sales, please contact us.
Newsletter December 2011
Firstly, may we wish you all a merry Christmas and New Year, and all the best for 2012.
2011 has again been a busy year for the Gascon Cattle Society with attendance at the Highland show and the Beef Event at Corskie. We have also welcomed several new members this year and, as last year, most pedigree heifers have sold for breeding. Demand is still exceeding production. We are seeing UK results of using the Gascon as a suckler cow, crossed with a terminal sire as shown on our Christmas card. The breed characteristics of hardiness, quiet temperament, ease of calving, excellent maternal instincts and efficient use of feed make the Gascon extremely suitable for farming today.
Availability of AI Bulls
Unfortunately we have been unable to negotiate the stocking of Gascon AI straws at Genus for now. Currently one bull (Barnwall Herald) is available from Genus.
For now, we have decided to organise AI straw imports twice yearly in January and in August for anyone who would like this service. In practice, this will mean that the straws will be in your AI technician's flask sometime in March or October depending on when Genus places the order. Of course, orders can be made anytime.
The AI Catalogue can be viewed in the The French AI Catalogue; choose Artificial Insemination from the menu on the left. If you would like more details of the various indices, let me know.
Two excellent AI bulls are Black and Vengeur. Black is an excellent choice for breeding replacements and Vengeur will provide a muscular weaned calf.
Black on the left and a daughter of Black on the right.
Vengeur on the left and a daughter of Vengeur on the right.
The current price of AI straws (delivered to your AI technician's flask) is £20-22 ex VAT. If you would like any ordered in January, please let me know by the 10th January.
Cattle for Sale
Please contact me if you have any specific requirements. We will continue to let everyone know when cattle are to be sold through the ring. The website will also hold details.
As I have already intimated, we now have an import of in-calf heifers coming in from France in April 2012. It would be no problem to add cattle to this import so if anyone is interested in buying some breeding cattle from France, let me know. This can be an excellent way of either beginning or improving a herd and also of bringing in new genetics. While importing can seem daunting, it is relatively straightforward. The French Gascon Society, Groupe Gascon, will deal with the French requirements and once in the UK, the local Animal Health Office will deal with the UK requirements. The rules change regularly, but usually there is a period of isolation and some testing.
In early March, the sale of breeding bulls is being held at the French evaluation Station and there is a sale of heifers in early April. If there is enough interest, we can arrange a trip over to the sale, and viewing of female breeding cattle also.
At last year's sale, a top bull, tested and evaluated on station, could have been purchased for 3000-4000 Euros - even with the transport costs, etc added on, this still compares favourably with UK prices.
Kirsteen Rankin (Secretary, Gascon Cattle Society)
Fleuron Gascon, Toulouse
A delegation from the UK attended this event in December 2010 where we received a tremendous welcome.
The Fleuron is held every 5 years and brings together the best of the Gascon breed in an excellent show - over 80 animals including 4 of the top Gascon AI bulls and several Blonde and Charolais x calves.
The Gascons ranged from a 15 year old cow with her 13th calf through to a month old calf.
After the show we had the chance to visit a prizewinning farm and the bull evaluation station near Carcassonne.
The farm at Gaec des Miracles has 108ha land with an arable component and a herd of 50 cows which calve all year round. This year the breeder won the prize for the best
herd with excellent growth rates, a calving interval of 361 days and very high performance in all areas. The herd is especially notable because it is very new
- it was established with cull cows in 2002. The cows are all AI'd and bulls are never used. To increase the rate of improvement, around 30% of the cows are culled
each year according to their performance. The poorest 30% are calved to a Charolais bull and the rest to the Gascon.
This is an exceptional herd, with the quality driven by a young farmer with a clear vision of what he would like to achieve
After our visit to this farm, we carried on to the bull evaluation station. Around 70 of the best bull calves are brought to the station at weaning and evaluated.
The bottom third is fattened, with the remaining bull being kept for breeding. Of these, the best two or three become AI bulls.
In March the bulls which make the grade are sold.
This year, the rearing protocol for the bulls has changed. Instead of using maize silage, they are being fed hay and cereals. The feed conversion efficiency of the breed was amply demonstrated when the computed rations had to be reduced... The aim for breeding bulls (as opposed to fattening bulls) is to have an average growth rate of 1200g/day. Using the ration suggested by the technical advisor to give this growth rate resulted in an average growth rate of 1330g/day, with some bulls reaching rates of over 2500g/day!
The Gascon characteristic of good feed conversion efficiency comes from years of natural selection in the harsh climate of the Pyrenees.
Bull/Cow Warranties from the NBA
The NBA offers a warranty for pedigree animals. This is a legal document which is signed by both seller and the purchaser setting out the terms and conditions
of the sale and the liabilities and obligations of both parties. It can be backed up by insurance.
The full text can be seen on the NBA website and non-members can buy these warranties as long as they are a member of a breed society which is a member of the NBA.
It is worth thinking about, especially for bulls in the event of infertility, as it sets out exactly what can be claimed for and gives time limits for claims. Please contact me or the NBA if you would like any more information on this.