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Hanging weight vs. take-home weight?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So, I've heard folks throw around numbers/percentages, but I can't remember what they were. The folks who sold us half a cow are thinking that there was a mix up at the processor's, so I'm curious about this.

This was a 900 lb. (approx.) cow, hanging weight was 480 (?), and now it looks like we've got 120 lbs. for our half. Does that sound right?

We've never bought meat this way. The place we've been buying from always just sold it to us by the pound, processed. A half cow was about 200 lb. (often more). I don't the size of their cows, though.
post #2 of 16
Our 1/2 was 240 lbs this year, which was one of the larger cattle they had. When we bought a 1/4 last year, it was about 110lbs. I think 120lbs seems a little small for a 1/2 beef, but I'm not expert by all means. This is our take home weight.
post #3 of 16
I just bought 1/2 side of beef. Hanging weight was 353#. Take home meat was right at 200# PLUS bones (including soup bones as I didn't weigh those with the meat) and a huge thing of tallow.

If the total you gave for take home doesn't include bones or tallow then I think that's about right--or at least equal to what I got (60% of hanging weight).
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristieB View Post
So, I've heard folks throw around numbers/percentages, but I can't remember what they were. The folks who sold us half a cow are thinking that there was a mix up at the processor's, so I'm curious about this.

This was a 900 lb. (approx.) cow, hanging weight was 480 (?), and now it looks like we've got 120 lbs. for our half. Does that sound right?

We've never bought meat this way. The place we've been buying from always just sold it to us by the pound, processed. A half cow was about 200 lb. (often more). I don't the size of their cows, though.
That doesn't sound right to me. Looks like the hanging weight of your half was 480# and you only got 120# of meat, that's only 25%.

I only get a 1/4 but my "meat" usually accounts for about 65-70% of the hanging weight of my 1/4. Getting bones and tallow makes my % go up.

Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but it seems like way too little meat to get if you paid on 480#.

Kelly
post #5 of 16
I recently bought half of a semi-veal steer... not sure how old he was, but he wasn't fully grown. My half was about 160 pounds. And he was a small one. So I think there must have been a mix up for you.

Hope you can get it sorted out!
post #6 of 16
Here are the numbers for a finished steer
live wt - 1200lb
Dressed wt (hanging wt) - 775
Cut wt - 465 assuming 60% meat which is a standard cut assumption - the wt would be highter if you add back in some of the bones

Cows or hiefers (females) tend to have lower dressing percentages, some breeds of cattle have lower percentages because they are heavy in the bone or they had more "trim" meat (turned into hamburger)
Also it depends on how much hamburger you had made as well - that is all boneless and they loose moisture that would have been left had it been a roast or steaks. If it was a fat animal then they may have trimmed extra fat off and discarded it.
To know if you got a raw deal on this one there are so many variables
We sent a young hiefer a month ago - she dressed 300 and I would bet that there isn't 150lb of beef (including some bones) that I got back. I'm not surprised we knew she was not going to do well - thats why we sent her!
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies. Sorry I abandoned you. Busy week (and a fried brain)! You know it's busy if I don't even make it to MDC!

The hanging weight of 480 was for the whole animal, not our half. Still, we didn't get as much as we should have. We got 145 lbs. Our neighbors have some sort of calculations they were using, and they figure it should have been more like 160 (if I remember right).

We've pretty much figured out where the weight went. The processor took ALL the fat off!! The burger is so lean that you need to add fat to the pan to cook it. The people whose cow it was (it was a young steer, BTW) said that even the steaks have no fat on them (they saw the cuts before they were wrapped in butcher paper - I haven't thawed any steaks). And I asked for some of the fat, and bag of fat he gave me had quite a bit of meat on it. In fact, some of the pieces were more meat than fat. This bugs me quite a bit. Grassfed meat is naturally leaner than feedlot meat, and we NEED the fat. I'm going to end up using a lot of the fat he gave me (I've asked for more, since they're butchering another animal this week) just for adding to the meat.

This is really frustrating. But, the mystery is solved. And then the butcher and his assistants took a fair amount of the meat (our neighbor figures it was at least 25 lbs.). But we won't take the hit for that. They were getting the other half of that, so she just took less and gave us how much we were due. They're also going to give us some from the second cow to try to make up for some of the loss (from the fat and some meat being trimmed off).

The processor is making me mad for so many reasons (for instance, he also cut the soup bones all wrong, so that the marrow was wasted - again, they're making up for it with the second animal), but our neighbors are being extremely fair and generous! All in all, we're still getting a good deal. But it has also been a fair amount of work for me, and if they use this same processor next time, I will not be buying any of the cow. It's just been too much of a hassle, and since we have a good source that is very organized and sells good-quality cuts, there isn't a reason for me to go through that repeatedly. We'll just wait and see what they do next time.

Thanks again for sharing your information.
post #8 of 16
A young steer with that kind of hanging wt - grass fed will not have hardly any fat on it. Yes you will have to add fat to the pan to do hamburger, thats the way it goes. The steaks may not have been trimmed - that is the way they look - with that dressing wt I would immagine this is just a weanling animal and what you are describing is normal.
Did he ask if the proccessor took some meat - this is not a normal practice, actually illeagal. Again depending on the breed of anamal that wt could well be right and none was taken.
I saw your other post about organs in plastic - this is relatively common where we are. Organs are pkged on day of kill because they contain large amounts of blood and are highly perisable. They are placed in plastic bags because when paper wrapped they often leak blood and that paper becomes very soiled and unapealing. The BEST way I have seen liver (and other organs done) is in vac pac - but most proccesors are not set up for that. It may also have been left whole because they did not have your instructions on the day of kill (as this is when organ meat is handled). When we shipp animals I have instructions for the organ meat that go in with the animal - even if I don't have the rest of the cutting instructions yet.
post #9 of 16
Interesting subject! When we bought our side of beef we lost about 50% from the hanging weight->take home weight. The hanging weight of our side was 200 lbs and we brought home 105 lb. I added up all the packages. A couple of things to note. First, we received no organ meats (didn't tell the processor in time). Second, our beef was dry-aged for 2 weeks. That actually costs quite a bit of loss of weight. I was concerned initially at first about the weight, but the processor assured me this was a normal amount of take home. So, to me yours doesn't sound too far off, except I don't understand why the processor took any of the meat at all. Did you not pay for the processing? Was this a barter?
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoalexsarah View Post
A young steer with that kind of hanging wt - grass fed will not have hardly any fat on it. Yes you will have to add fat to the pan to do hamburger, thats the way it goes. The steaks may not have been trimmed - that is the way they look - with that dressing wt I would immagine this is just a weanling animal and what you are describing is normal.
Did he ask if the proccessor took some meat - this is not a normal practice, actually illeagal. Again depending on the breed of anamal that wt could well be right and none was taken.
I'm used to grassfed. We've been eating it (from a different place) for a few years. I've never had to add fat to the pan to cook the ground meat. Maybe the place we've been getting it from just has a breed with more fat than the cows you eat?

We also know for sure that there was fat removed (and a fair amount of meat with it). As I said, we asked for extra fat and were given 2 lbs. (there will be another 10 lbs. from the next animal). The bag contains fat and a fair amount of meat with it. The folks whose cows these were took the rest of the fat to donate to a wolf sanctuary out here. They said there was a fair amount of it, and it, too, had a lot of meat on it.

Quote:
I saw your other post about organs in plastic - this is relatively common where we are. Organs are pkged on day of kill because they contain large amounts of blood and are highly perisable. They are placed in plastic bags because when paper wrapped they often leak blood and that paper becomes very soiled and unapealing. The BEST way I have seen liver (and other organs done) is in vac pac - but most proccesors are not set up for that. It may also have been left whole because they did not have your instructions on the day of kill (as this is when organ meat is handled). When we shipp animals I have instructions for the organ meat that go in with the animal - even if I don't have the rest of the cutting instructions yet.
It's true, I didn't realize that I needed to give instructions for the cutting of the liver (the place I've been getting it from vacuum packs it already sliced). And really, I have no problem with them being in plastic. My problem is with the quality of the plastic. It's in flimsy produce bags, not something that will give any protection in the freezer, plus it tears way too easily. Plus, I paid $60 extra for the processing of the organs (plus some bones and fat, but the main thing he asked for it for was the organs). I would think that would cover a heavier plastic bag. Maybe I'm just too unaware of the process and work involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noobmom View Post
Interesting subject! When we bought our side of beef we lost about 50% from the hanging weight->take home weight. The hanging weight of our side was 200 lbs and we brought home 105 lb. I added up all the packages. A couple of things to note. First, we received no organ meats (didn't tell the processor in time). Second, our beef was dry-aged for 2 weeks. That actually costs quite a bit of loss of weight. I was concerned initially at first about the weight, but the processor assured me this was a normal amount of take home. So, to me yours doesn't sound too far off, except I don't understand why the processor took any of the meat at all. Did you not pay for the processing? Was this a barter?
I hadn't thought about the dry aging taking some of the weight. That makes sense.

As for the processor taking some meat, our neighbors said they told the processor and each of his assistants to take a package of ground meat each. I'm not sure why they said that. Probably just being nice. Yes, they paid for the processing (and I paid extra for processing of the organs, fat, and bones). It was not a barter. But, three packages would only have been 4.5 lbs., and our neighbors know pretty closely how much was cut, because they were there for the cutting of half of the cow. That's why they think the processor took 25 lbs.



Our neighbors have decided to try a different processor next time. They're further away, but they're more experienced. This was way too much work for them, too. They're very frustrated with the whole experience.
post #11 of 16
The prossesor may have trimed the "trim" that is put into the hamburger so that it is lean or extra lean ground beef, some places do that automaticly thinking people want lean beef.
I'm shocked at having to pay extra for organs,bones fat - with us thats always included in the proccesing.
If they wern't happy then try another place - we have a number of places with in and hour or so of us and we have tried them all untill we have found one that works. For us we send beef and pork to two different places because we like they way they do them.
Dry aging does account for a fair bit of loss and also it depends on how long you had it hung. For us we would only hang an animal that size for about 10 days not the 3 weeks that we do for a full size animal.
post #12 of 16
So, what would be a fair price per pound for half a cow?

In my area, the hanging weight is $3.50/pound, but I guess the real price would be closer to $7/pound after processing?
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
So, what would be a fair price per pound for half a cow?

In my area, the hanging weight is $3.50/pound, but I guess the real price would be closer to $7/pound after processing?
It really depends on where you live. If I shop around (usually on Craig's List) and am not in a hurry, I can usually find a family who has a couple of cows grazing on their property and then I generally pay $1.75 - $2.00 lb. plus cut/wrap/slaughter ($30 plus $.48 lb. generally).
post #14 of 16
We pay 3/lb hanging weight, plus separately to the processor. So yes, it works out to close to $7/lb for the take home meat. We're in the South.
post #15 of 16
$2.50 hanging wt plus proccesing (45 + .50/lb)
post #16 of 16

353# hanging weight must have been just on one half of the carcass.  Otherwise you bought a feeder instead of a finished animal.

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