Buying Beef: Hanging Weight vs Cut Weight

How do you know how much meat to buy when you go to the grocery store or buy from a local farmer? There are two main ways that meat is sold: hanging weight and cut weight.

pieces of beef in airtight plastic bags
pieces of beef in airtight plastic bags

Hanging weight is the weight of the meat after it has been slaughtered, and all of the unusable parts have been removed. Cut weight is the weight of the meat after it has been trimmed, packaged, and labeled.

Then, of course, there is live weight – which is the weight of the animal before it has been slaughtered.

So, which should you buy? In this blog post, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each method and help you decide which is best for you.

What is Live Weight?

When buying meat, it is important to be aware of weight. Live weight refers to the total weight of the live animal while it was on the hoof, before it has been slaughtered and processed.

This number can tell you a lot about the quality of the meat you are purchasing, as well as indicating how much meat you will actually be getting for your money.

Generally speaking, animals with higher live weights tend to have more marbling and higher amount of fat, which gives their meat a richer flavor and texture. Those at a lower weight might have less fat or fewer bones.

Livestock that has lessened in size due to illness or stress may have inferior meat quality as well, so it is always important to pay close attention to this metric when choosing your next cut of beef or pork.

Live weight is a term that’s generally used to describe cattle and pigs. The average live weight of a pig is 250 to 325 lbs. With a cow, the average live weight is 1100 lbs which will get you 660 lbs hanging weight.

Whether you’re looking for a premium steakhouse experience or simply want something tasty for dinner, live weight is key in determining the quality and quantity that you can expect from your purchase.

What is the Difference Between Hanging Weight and Cut Weight?

The terms “hanging weight” and “cut weight” are often used to describe meat products, but what do these terms actually mean?

At first glance, they might appear to refer simply to different amounts of meat, with the hanging weight being the total weight of a whole animal carcass and the cut weight being the portion that is later chopped up and sold in smaller cuts.

However, there is more to these terms than meets the eye. In fact, they refer to two very different measures of meat quality.

Hanging weight refers to the total weight of an animal carcass after various processing steps have been performed.

These include a variety of slaughtering or butchering techniques that remove certain parts of the animal in order to provide specific cuts for sale. For example, the head, heart, blood, lungs, viscera, hooves and the hide may have been removed.

Because hanging weight can be quite variable depending on how much meat remains after processing, this measure should not be used alone when comparing the quality of different types or cuts of meat.

Going back to the numbers I referenced above, for a pig with a live weight of 250 to 325 lbs, you’ll get about 70% of that in hanging weight – meaning 175 to 228 lbs.

After that, you’ll get about 75% of that in carcass weight, or about 130 to 194 lbs of meat to take home and put into your freezer space. For a cow with the 1100 live animal weight and 660 lbs hanging specified above, you’ll get about 396 lbs of packaged weight.

That last number does vary, though, because how you choose to have the animal cut impacts how much meat you come home with.

For example, if you have more of your meat made into more boneless cuts, ground into sausage or ground beef, or cured, you’ll only yield about 65% or 114 to 149 lbs of take-home cuts. Fat trimming, bone removal, and any additional processing will result in less take home- product.

Something else that impacts the hanging weight vs cut weight, or take home weight, is how lean the animal is. If an animal is overly fat, the hanging weight to packaged weight yield is lower because more fat has to be trimmed off.

Why Do Farms Charge by Hanging Weight?

When you purchase a whole or half hog from a farm, you’re usually charged by the hanging weight of the carcass, not the live harvest weight.

But why? Why not charge by cut weight or by live weight when that’s what’s going into your cooler or what the farmer has to start with?

Hanging weight is the weight of the carcass after it’s been butchered and cleaned, but before it’s been cut into individual pork chops and bacon strips. It’s an important number for farmers and ranchers, because it helps them to determine how much meat they’ll be able to sell from each hog.

There are a few reasons why farms charge by hanging weight rather than by the final weight of the meat. For one thing, it’s more accurate.

Because fat is trimmed off before the meat is packaged, the final weight can vary quite a bit, even for hogs of the same size. Hanging weight, on the other hand, provides a more consistent measurement.

Another reason that farms prefer to charge by hanging weight is that it allows them to pass on some of the processing costs to customers.

These costs can add up, especially if the farm uses a custom butcher. By charging by hanging weight, farmers can ensure that they’re getting compensated for their efforts.

In most cases, it doesn’t make sense for farms to charge by the live weight unless you, the customer, will be taking care of the animal processing and related fees. You’ll be paying a lot more of the variables that are harder to control.

Other Things to Know

When you have your pig or cow cut up, the butcher will ask if you have any special cutting instructions or customers request other options besides the basic retail cuts.

You can identify whether you want to have certain parts of the animal processed into things like roasts, chops, steaks, grind, etc.

You can often specify the portions per package and the ideal thickness, too, so it’s important to take your family’s p[references into consideration. That way, you can get the most “bang for your buck” when buying meat.

Keep in mind that many states have regulations in which customers are charged by the live weight of an animal and the hanging weight – not the boxed weight.

That can be confusing and disappointing,but it doesn’t mean that you are being scammed. It’s simply the way things must be done, in some places.

Always ask the farm or producer you’re buying from about how they charge their prices. Most will be very upfront about this. Remember that most slaughterhouses charge extra for additional processing (things like extra sausage and such).

Quick and Easy Calculations for Shopping Beef

It’s easy to get wrapped around the axle and overtaken by details and figuring when shopping for beef. There are certainly plenty of variables to keep track of!

But if you are blessed with an abundance of suppliers in your local area, and don’t want to spend an entire afternoon figure-figuring which has the best deal for you, you can rely on a couple of simple formulas when making your first pass through your shopping list.

If shopping for grass-fed beef, one easy way to calculate the yield is that the hanging weight will be 60% of the live weight of the cow and the cut weight is 60% of the hanging weight. This lets you easily plug in and he quoted numbers and get down to brass tacks.

So for instance, let’s say you have a 1,000 lb live cow. That will break down to a 600 lb hanging weight and a 360 lb cut weight. The formula looks like this:

  • 1,000 (live weight) x 0.60 = 600 (hanging weight)
  • 600 (hanging weight) x 0.60 = 360 (cut weight).

It’s just that easy. 

Always Check References if You Have Any Doubts

Let’s face it: although the idea of being able to trust your local farmer or other supplier implicitly is nice, that just isn’t reality in most places.

Farming and butchering is still a business, and like all businesses some cheating or dirty pool goes on in order to make sure profits stay where they need to be, one way or the other.

You should be suspicious of any supplier that is playing fast and loose with the numbers. Some variance is to be expected for convenience and due to unforeseen circumstances, but you don’t want to get taken to the cleaners when buying meat in bulk.

Make it a point to look around and get references from other people who have purchased from the supplier you are considering. Searching online in various local forms and groups should help.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask for references. People who deal honestly and have a good, above board of business are usually more than happy to steer you toward referrals but make sure you actually vet these referrals.

Consider any evasiveness, offense or other churlish behavior to be a warning sign. Again, an upright business person knows the consumers are smart to be cautious in this day and age.

Failing to do your due diligence could result in a serious case of sticker shock at best, or getting ripped off for a small quantity of low quality meat at worst. I’ll tell you all about my experience buying in bulk in the next section.

Hanging Weight vs. Cut Weight: My Experience

We bought a quarter of a cow today from the farmer up the road. It ended up being a lot less meat than we’d expected though; about 97 lbs.

If you’re like us, that just doesn’t sound right does it? A beef animal weighs like 800 lbs or something, how could a quarter of it only be 97 lbs?

Well, it’s because of the hanging weight vs. cut weight issue, which we didn’t really understand before we made our purchase, and so we ended up paying more than we’d expected per pound.

This means that when you calculate the end result with the price per pound that you paid, it will end up being much more per pound.

In our case, the farmer charged us $2/lb hanging weight, which ended up totaling $382 (thank goodness for a tax refund!).

But when we calculated how many pounds of meat we actually brought home it ended up being about $3.90/lb.

It was definitely a good deal for locally raised, grass-fed whole beef, but still much more than we’d expected to pay. We had actually planned on splitting the meat (and the cost) with some friends. But what we have isn’t enough to share.

Honestly, I can’t complain though. I’ve looked around, and the average price I’ve found for grass fed beef ranges from $3-$4/lb hanging weight, so you’d end up paying almost double that for the cut meat.

Plus, this includes pot roast, round roast, London broil, chuck roast, sirloin steaks, sirloin tip roast, ribeye steaks, t-bone steaks, and short ribs. Not to mention tons of ground carcass beef, and some soup bones.

So, we are still pleased with our investment. But it’s good to know what to expect next time we plan on buying beef in bulk like this. And hopefully this lesson has been helpful to some of you as well.

Estimating How Much Meat to Buy For Your Family

When it comes to estimating how much meat to buy for your family, there are a few factors to consider.

First, think about how often you eat meat meals and how many people will be eating. If you typically have two meatless dinners and one meat-based dinner per week, and there are four people in your household, you’ll need about 1.5 pounds of meat per week.

If you eat meat more frequently or have more people in your household, you’ll obviously need to buy more. Another factor to consider is the type of meat you’re buying.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are generally smaller than bone-in chicken thighs, for example, so you’ll need to buy more chicken breasts to equal the amount of chicken thighs.

When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of buying too much meat rather than too little – you can always freeze any extras for another time. With a little planning, it’s easy to make sure you have just the right amount of meat for your family’s needs.

How You Can Save Money on Meat by Purchasing it in Bulk

When it comes to eating meat, many people think that they have to choose between spending a lot of money or eating low-quality meat.

However, there is a third option: buying meat in bulk. By purchasing meat in larger quantities, you can save money without sacrificing quality. Here are some tips for how to save money on meat by purchasing it in bulk.

Look for sales. Many farmers will offer discounts on older animals or at the end of the season, when there’s more product to offload.. This is a great way to get high-quality meat at a discounted price.

Join a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture programs allow you to purchase shares of meat from local farms. This can be a great way to get access to fresh, humanely raised meat at a reasonable price.

Again, buy whole animals, or fractions of a whole animal. When you buy a half cow or quarter cow, you can often get a significant discount since a round portion is being sold. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of being able to use all parts of the animal, rather than just the cuts that are typically sold in stores.

If you don’t think you’ll use the entire animal, consider going in on one with family and friends. Buying an entire cow or pig will yield you greater savings than even buying a half pig or quarter beef share.

By following these tips, you can save money on meat without compromising on quality. So next time you’re at the grocery store, consider buying in bulk!

The Takeaway

So, what have we learned? When buying meat in bulk, always go by the hanging weight. This will ensure you get the best price per pound and that you’re getting as much meat as possible.

Have you tried this strategy before? What tips do you have for fellow meat-buyers? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Do you buy beef by the quarter or half a cow? I’d be interested in knowing what you pay per pound hanging weight!

buying beef pinterest

43 thoughts on “Buying Beef: Hanging Weight vs Cut Weight”

  1. I raise beef cattle in Northern Michigan and figured I would add a couple of points worth considering. As you are comparing beef prices it is important to take things like location, climate, cattle breed, etc. into consideration. Location and climate play a factor when comparing beef prices in a hot/dry climate versus a cooler/damp climate. A rancher in the west may need 10+ acres of grass per head while a rancher in the upper midwest only needs 2 acres per head. A dairy cow (Holstein, Jersey, etc.) will sell for less money per pound than a beef cow (Angus, Hereford, etc.) because the meat-to-bone ratio is less, but if you are looking for a deal this beef often will still taste better than the beef purchased at the grocery store. These are just a few of the reasons why prices can vary so much between producers. Most often, you get what you pay for when purchasing beef directly from the person who raised it. If farmer “A” is selling beef for $1 more than farmer “B” is and they still have a waiting list, chances are they are the ones who take the greatest care to raise the animals humanely taking every reasonable effort to maintain a clean, healthy, stress-free environment for them. The benefit is not just good animal husbandry practices, low-stress cows produce better-tasting beef.

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  2. So, I know this is an old article but it was super enlightening. Over the past 4 years we have purchased 3 half beefs and a whole beef. For all of those, the rancher charged me by the cut weight which included the butcher, wrap, freezing, and delivery charges. The first half that we purchased was 367lbs and we paid $7.25/lb. The second was 297lbs and we paid the same per lb. The 3rd half was only about 195lbs and we paid $8.25/lb. This year we purchased a whole cow coming it at 430lbs. Now we paid $8.25/lb but only because the cow was ordered by someone who couldn’t take delivery otherwise we would have paid $10/lb. I am thankful that our rancher includes the butcher, kill, wrap, package, and deliveries fees. I have see it to many time where you have to pay the rancher and then pay the butcher before picking up your meat. On the whole cow we also got to add the organs to the ground beef. Beef is definitely getting super expensive lately and I completely understand why. Anyways, I would absolutely buy a half or whole again. Our rancher also grass feeds and finishes our beef. It is by far the best beef that I have ever had.

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  3. I sell for $3.40/lbs hanging weight. Grain fed. I sale no less than a half. Each half hanging usually weighs around 300lbs on average

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  4. We just bought a quarter/”split side” from a NE cattle rancher–210 lbs. hanging weight @ $1.85/lb + processing charges of $200 (slaughter, cutting/wrapping). So far, we’ve “sampled” T-bones, cube steak (from round) and ground beef — all excellent! I like knowing source of the meat and having it cut to my specs.

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  5. I have been searching for farms in FL and the cheapest i have found is $5/lb hanging weight plus .60/lb butcher fee and $60 kill fee. Can you all reply about the current price as your rates are so low but it was 3 or 4 yrs ago.

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    • Courtney,

      The price of beef has definitely increased since I first wrote this post. I don’t remember what we paid for beef when we bought it this year, but it seems like it was $2 more per pound than we’re used to paying.

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    • Buying from the farmer is a good deal because even when you average it out you pay a flat rate for those expensive cuts of steaks and roasts etc. So you get your ground beef price on your steaks etc.plus you know what your eating

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      • I’m looking into this. I’ve found grass-fed beef for about $8.95/quarter hanging weight. This works out to around $850-$900 for a quarter out the door. This sound insanely high. He said he knows grain-fed local growers who end up around $650-$700 per quarter finished. He said $400-$500 like called out in this article is from years ago. Just a data point.

        I’ve also found an organic place that uses hay and essentially the max grain possible where they don’t need antibiotics and keep the cows healthy (??) who would run around $700 finished. Prices are definitely higher.

        I’d like to find a way to compare these prices to grocery store prices without doing it all by hand.

        For comparison’s sake, I’m in the Northwest Ohio / Toledo / Detroit area.

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    • I just had a young 2 year old bull butchered! He weighed 1160 on the hoof (live) I’ll pay $75,00 to kill and .80 cents a pound I’m guessing hanging weight to process! I’m getting back 640-650 pounds! I’ve done better like 64% on other beef that I’ve put in the freezer! I’m thinking he only processed out like 57%!

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  6. i did miss a few things like short ribs from the rib section . hehehe i said spare ribs in the rant i just had in the outher post oh well sorry . i was looking at robins post an i,m thinking she got shorted on options she could of had if any one needs help on the cuts or getting more options please email me at [email protected]

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  7. I just purchased 1/2 a cow 349 lbs of different cuts and mostly ground beef for $550…..after seeing all your posts I realized I got a great deal on the meat I live in central California where the cows roam free our neighbor here gave us a great deal very happy with our purchase and we will have meat for over a year.

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  8. I happened upon this site while I was comparing hanging weight to meat received. We live in Northern Michigan. My husband and I just did this, as a matter of fact, we picked it up this morning. Our hanging weight was 211 lbs and we ended up with 150.5 lbs of meat. Our cost was $370, plus .40 lb for processing and wrapping, which averages $3.06 lb- still cheaper than the grocery store. We are hoping we can at least eat this, as the meat we have been buying at the grocery store is 80-90% inedible. This is why we chose to buy a quarter of beef. We are looking forward to it.

    I didn’t know to ask for all the bones, but next time I will. We ended up with: 53 lb. hamburger, 2 pot roasts, 4 lb. stew meat, 8 chuck roasts, 2 tip roasts, 2 bags of soup bones, 3 bags of liver, 5 sirloin steaks, 8 round steaks, 2 large packages of short ribs, 4 T-bones, 2 porterhouse, and 4 rib steaks. We think we did well.

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  9. I have a quarter of an only grass fed steer on the way & I’m paying $4.95/lb hanging weight. I was told the total hanging weight is 450 lbs, so it’s on the smaller side. I’m paying for it to be cryovacced which will add $0.18 per lb.

    I haven’t been given the total cost yet, but I’ll be picking it up in the next 2 weeks.

    $4.95 sounds like a lot per hanging weight pound when only a year ago you paid $2 per pound. Possibly depending on your location it might vary some but that is a lot. Hope I got a decent deal.

    Shannon
    Pennsylvania

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  10. I was wonderng if anyone knows of a good grass-fed and finisher in the Loveland CO area? I would be greatful for as much information as you have!
    Thanks,
    Kandice From Colorado

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  11. One of our homeschool families just offered 1/8th of grass fed cows for $300 per unit of mixed type meats. It worked out to over $6.00 per pound in my freezer.

    The difference between grass fed and grain fed any animal – the grass fed ones will put on fats rich in Omega 3, while the grain fed ones rapidly (even if they are only on a grain diet for a few weeks) have Omega 6 in their fat stores.

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  12. We raise beef for ourselves and to sell. We sell by hanging rate at the current market rate for our area. This spring was about $1.86 a pound plus the .40 a pound for the processing. The ground beef usually isn’t a cost savings but you make up the difference in the roasts and steaks.
    We also ask for pretty much everything. If we’re splitting one with family, we also ask them to get everything. Then we can trade back and forth. For example, my mom and SIL don’t take the stew meat (which is scrap meat) but I love having it for stir fries, straganoffs, and soups and stews.

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  13. I just pulled my butcher invoices for the past three years (I like to compare year-to-year).

    Each year have one FULL beef in the freezer and every other year we raise hogs and do the same. We are a family of three (adults). Our costs break down to about $3.25/lb. another year $3.10/lb. Now where can you buy fillet mignon’s for $3.25/lb. or even a roast for that matter?

    Here’s a rough breakdown of what we get:

    STEAKS
    Rib steaks 16
    Flank 2
    Sirloin tip 16
    Top sirloin 19
    NY (we have the beef cut different so no T-bones and more NY’s) 27
    Fillet Mignon 22
    Top round 17
    Bottom round 18
    Tri-tip 2

    ROASTS
    Chuck 15
    Cross rib 6
    Prime rib 1
    Rump 4
    Sirloin tip 2
    Eye round 2
    Short ribs 9
    Stew (1 lb. pkgs) 19
    Ground Beef (1 lb. pkgs) 127

    Many soup bones, dog bones and tail.

    Where our cost differences come in the play is the price of beef at the time of purchase. Our butcher cutting and wrapping fees have been consistant for the past three years at .72 lb. along with the scrap recycling fee of $7.00. Keep in mind this does not include the kill fee which I believe is around $100 or $125. So, when purchasing meat, all these costs need to be taken into account. When you’re dealing with hogs, you’ll have an additional fee for smoking.

    DOG TREATS: Asking for extra bones for your dogs are great. We actually ask for all we can get since we have two dogs. BUT, I also take the livers when the ranch kill guy comes out. A while back I went into one of those fancy dog stores and came across a cute little bag of dog treast. They looked exactly like (the texture and lines in the meat) the livers I prepare each year for the dogs. From information I found online I boil the livers first. Then bake them in the over thereafter. Once cooled, I slice and freeze on cookie sheets. After their frozen, their placed in a small ziplock bag. We only give these treats about once per week since I read it’s not good to give liver daily to dogs.

    In addition, we no longer grain our beef. We raise a bunch on our road of country neighbors and have found no difference between grass or grain feed beef with regards to flavor or cooking. I quickly asked my dh about the % difference between live weight and hang weight which he stated is about 30%. 🙂

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  14. I concur with Jen.

    Did you speak to the processor to order your cuts?
    I ask for all the bones- even if they are just for the dog! Some are really really huge though!
    Most people don’t want that stuff.

    Frankly, I use chicken stock for everything. I don’t care much for beef stock. I had a few pot roast recipes that called for chicken stock- which at the time I thought was little weird. Now I’m hooked. But knowing how to make a decent beef stock or any other ‘by product” is valuable knowledge.

    But scraping off the fat and using it for pie crusts is awesome. so flaky…..

    All your steaks should taste delicious regardless of cut. Eating grocery store steaks or burger will be a dreaded thought from here on out!

    You may have gotten less pounds, but you got less yucky stuff like dyes to make your meat look fresh shelf life deterioration and bacteria. Now you can giggle if you go into health food stores and see grass fed burger whose freshness is questionable for at least $7.99/lb.

    Excellent point for newbies.

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  15. We raise our own steers and I have no idea what we end up paying per pound.I know we get a good deal though.Most of the meats we would never get to enjoy if it were not coming from our own steers as we could NEVER afford to eat the best steaks etc.they are soooo good.This year we canned about 60 quarts of the lower quality cuts and they are so good.Perfect when I want some “fast food”!

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  16. We order 1/4 grass fed beef every fall, and pay about $3 hanging weight, so you got a GREAT deal! Our total cost is about $550. I always ask for ALL the bones, not just the soup bones they usually give you. They are labelled as “dog bones” on our invoice, but I use them to keep us supplied with beef stock all year long. They make excellent stock! I ask for any organs too, but since the cow is split 4 ways, they divide the organs 4 ways. Organ meats are great in stock, or you can use them on their own to prepare a meal as well. They are extremely good for you.

    You could also ask for the trimmed fat to render tallow. It’s an extremely nourishing fat to cook with when it comes from grass fed cows (makes excellent fried chicken and homemade french fries). You could also use it to make homemade soap. It makes a harder bar, which helps the soap last longer.

    Because I ask for all the bones and trimmed fat to use for our family, I’m actually getting most of the hanging weight. Which makes for a really great deal. Just a note as to how valuable the bones and fat are: I ordered once from an online company that charged $99 for a 5 gallong bucket of grass fed tallow, and $6-7 per pound for grass fed bones! RIDICULOUS!!! That was before I had a local source for grass fed beef, but I knew how nourishing these “by-products” really are.

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  17. We buy our beef by the quarter, and LOVE it. I know it looks like a lot, but grocery stores in our area are charging close to $3.00 a pound for what I call “junk meat.” I figure it’s worth it to pay a little more for meat that I know was grass fed–like you said. One thing that can save a little money is shopping around for a cheaper butcher. We have some friends that run a shop thats about 20 miles out in the country and they charge less for their services. They also charge less for paper wrapped beef–rather than vacuum packed.

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  18. I wish I could do this but we have no freezer room and are not able to have a separate freezer due to electrical issues. Someday I will have a small chest freezer and would love to do this. 🙂 Thanks for all the info, it is good to know (beforehand) what I will be getting in the end. 🙂 Hope that lieel baby boy (and everyone else) is doing well.

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  19. we are beef farmers here. when we sell a steer to someone we charge them the current market rate per pound. That would be live weight…right now it is around $1.40 per pound. So if my steers weight when I take it to the processor is 950 pounds I would get $1330.00. You then would pay the processor his processing fee. Generally you can expect 60% of the total weight in meat. In this case about 570 pounds. At least this is how it works here in Missouri…You will enjoy that meat though! It looks great! With grass fed you will probably have to add a little oil to the pan as it will not produce much if any fat for cooking…

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  20. We have been VERY fortunate this year. My husbands sister bought, I think a 1/4 of a cow for us this year, though I’m not sure how much she paid. I would have to agree with you though, in the end the price that you paid isn’t all that bad because of what you are getting. But, it’s really, really nice to know all of this,of which I wasn’t aware of any of it.

    I appreciate you laying all the facts out there about things like this and the raising goats and the real cost of things. We live on an acre too and while we do raise a very large vegetable garden along with some fruit trees. We’ve never raised any animals. But have been thinking about it. I have to tell you how helpful your posts on this has been to us.

    Thanks!

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  21. In the interior of AK we paid $3.80ish per pound hgwt. I can’t quite remember, and looking it up, now it’s $4.30 hgwt for a hind quarter, 3.50 for a front quarter. We ended up with 125# of meat, and love, love, love it. Before that all we ate was hamburger because that was all I could afford at $6 per pound for grass fed beef. We enjoy t-bones, porterhouse steaks, roasts, in addition to lots of hamburger for less per pound than we were buying hamburger. It’s soooo good!

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    • I just bought a nice 1,000 pound Hereford. 57 cents a pound live weight. When I include the haul fee, kill and processing fee, hang weight comes to $1.75 a pound. Translates to over 400 pounds of retail packaged meat at approx. $2.15 per pound.

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  22. Yes, we order a quarter each year too…have been doing so for several years now. We go in with a bunch of friends on a few whole cows, and I think last year ended up paying $3.50/60 per pound of meat that we received (but i have also paid about $4 per lb before too). When buying grass fed meat it is helpful to remember that these cows tend to be smaller than ‘normal’ cows because they aren’t fattened up. One of our cows last year was just 600lbs, though that was the smallest. As you know, the cows (and therefore their meat) are naturally leaner because of the cow’s diet. We’ve always been told to expect to lose 30-40% of the weight…which is a helpful fact to know when trying to figure out your actual cost up front. It sounds like you lost on the higher end of things for whatever reason…I believe how long it is aged can affect that too. I’ve lost closer to 30% before and I’ve lost around 40% too. But the weight of meat you receive will also vary depending on your cuts…do you order lots of ground beef or do you order more bone-in steaks or roasts? Any cuts with bones still in will weigh more. Last year I ordered about one third ground beef, the rest roasts and steaks. Remember too that you’ve got bones for making stock, which will save you the money you would have spent on stock. And like you said, it’s still a great deal bc of the type of meat and all the cuts you get. We get filet mignon and delmonicos, brisket and roasts…and it is quality, fresh, good-for-you meat…not to mention you’re supporting a local farmer in the process. I hope you guys enjoy your meat!

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