Progressive in breeding, focused on functionality — Vaughn Beefmasters is bringing a new style of cattle to the Four State area.
Davin and Gail Vaughn’s 1,400-acre operation is spread between several farms in southwestern Missouri, southeastern Kansas and northern Arkansas, with the headquarters in Mount Vernon, Missouri. Vaughn Beefmasters, established in 1995, developed a crossbreeding strategy using Beefmaster and Angus genetics over seven years ago, resulting in a registered hybrid called Beefmaster Advancers.
Compared to Brahman-influenced breeds like Beefmaster, the 50 percent or greater registered cross offers a more European-looking animal with greater marbling and all of the classic Beefmaster traits like fertility, disposition, hardiness and weight. The goal of the Beefmaster Advancer breeding program is to improve the quality of cattle demanded by commercial breeders, the way Davin and Gail Vaughn originally intended from the ranch’s inception.
“For the Beefmaster Advancer program these cattle have to be completely free of any kind of genetic defect in order to qualify,” said Jason Bates, herd manager. “The program focuses on using proven genetics to build the breed.”
Quality genetics and forward-thinking breeding choices are some of the top priorities for Vaughn Beefmasters, and the Beefmaster Advancer cross fits their standards as well as their local customer base.
“One of the things that’s kind of unique about us is our development of Beefmaster Advancers using Angus and Red Angus genetics,” Bates said. “The reason for that breeding choice is our location in southwest Missouri, right in the middle of Angus country.”
In order to give local commercial cattlemen the ability to sell progeny from a Vaughn bull on a quality grade or Certified Angus Beef grid, Beefmaster Advancers were the obvious breeding decision, for the operation.
“Two of the biggest difficulties the Beefmaster breed has had to overcome are color and their lower IMF or marbling,” Bates said. “Our goal has been to use some of the Angus genetics to overcome those difficulties and we have been very successful with that method so far.”
Bates credits the influx of Angus genetics on the ranch with helping Vaughn Beefmasters produce polled cattle with a uniform phenotype that can be sold on a quality grade basis. These developments not only affect commercial cattlemen in the area, but the Beefmaster breed as whole because a 7/8 Beefmaster animal is registrable as a purebred according to association standards.
“Our main focus is to produce high quality Beefmaster and Beefmaster Advancer bulls for the commercial cattle industry,” Bates said. “We also market a small amount of replacement and commercial females annually.”
Vaughn bulls are marketed exclusively through the annual Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association sale at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, scheduled for Nov. 5 this year. Although all of the bulls are performance-tested for feed efficiency and gain prior to the sale, Vaughn Beefmasters takes it one step further by using ranch-collected data to determine which of the highest quality animals to sell.
“We HD150K type and ultrasound every animal on the ranch,” Bates said. “We use that data to evaluate our breeding and culling selections and to ensure that we are accomplishing our goals.”
The importance of not only collecting data, but utilizing it to its highest potential is a point Vaughn Beefmasters has stressed for over 15 years.
Data utilization and quality standards are keys to progressive breeding that Vaughn Beefmasters will continue to rely on in the future. £