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Old 07/02/12, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,220
Charging for half a side of beef?

How do you figure out what you're going to charge for half a side of beef?

I have a steer going in later in august and I won't have enough room in my freezer for all of him. I also have a friend who is trying to eat better on a budget. She's interested in buying the side of beef, but doesn't have a lot of money. I want to figure out how much to charge her and (if she can't swing the funds) how much to charge someone else.

My last steer that went in came out at 573 pounds and they charged me 45 cents a pound to process him. Most of the meat was hamburger that was around 95% lean. (I HATE hamburger that's all fat!). It's pretty cool to know I'm spending 45 cents for that one pound steak!

If it matters, my steer is 100% grass fed, with some corn the last month or so. No antibiotics or hormones. He's also a Holstein.

How do you figure it out?
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Old 07/02/12, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 770
So was the 573 pounds on the hoof or hanging weight? You lose a LOT of poundage from live to hanging, so you need to figure on paying for the "lost" weight of animal in bones and unused hide, interior parts. And you only paying $186 (rounded up to .50 a pound for easier figuring) for a whole animal is very low cost. Is that correct, around what you paid for total processing?

What total of meat did you actually put in your freezer?
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Old 07/02/12, 01:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 962
I looked on-line at different seller's of grass fed beef - then looked at local grocery store's.

I'm selling my beef at the following prices (per wrapped pound returned from butcher):
Whole Cow: $4.00 per pound.
1/2 cow: $4.25 per pound
1/4 cow $4.50 per pound

Any thing less than 1/4 cow I'm selling by the type/per pound @ grocery store prices. So they want a rib steak and they are selling for 12.99 per pound in the grocery store then it will cost them 12.99 per pound.

My reason for the per-piece price on less than 1/4 cow is that I'm going to get stuck with the meat nobody else want's, I have to store it, deal with smaller quantities etc.

I'm not going to take the slaughter a cow route unless I have pre-sold at least 1/2 of the cow and preferably 3/4 of the cow.
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Old 07/02/12, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
Posts: 1,372
We usually charge $3.50/lb hanging weight, last time we sold one of ours.

With trying to help out your friend, you could always let them make payments on their half of it, based on what price you charge them for the meat. Do you have enough to cover the kill bill & processing?
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Old 07/02/12, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,220
I can cover the total cost and would gladly keep the beef because it's so yummy, but no freezer space for a whole cow.

The place that does our meat is a local little butcher shop. Theyreally took the time to get what I wanted. I have a large family so half of the hamburger was in 2 pound packages. The roasts were 4#'s each, the steaks in packages of 4, etc. The total bill was $297.85. They charge $40 for the slaughter charge.

I only have one or two cows at a time. I'm not looking to get rich off this cow. Just want the meat to be used and enjoyed. It's a good feeling knowing that I have raised this animal humanely and under some of the best circumstances in a near organic way....and that it's totally delicious!
I refuse to believe corporations are people until Texas executes one.

I also believe that workers need Unions as much as gun owners need the NRA.
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Old 07/02/12, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Northern KY
Posts: 171
There are about as many ways to figure this as there are people on these boards. Best is if you know your actual input costs and then you can decide how much or if you want to make a profit. Next best is if you know the live weight of the animal. Then look at the sale barn market report and estimate what it would have sold for there - then divide by 2. That is what I consider the salvage value of the animal. You aren't getting anything for "grass fed" or farm raised or anything else, so this is the bottom end. That price should exceed your input costs.

I normally estimate the weight and charge based on salvage value. I don't have a scale, so what I do is I just figure I lose 50% from live to hanging. Then I figure the bottom side of the market report. Something like this:

Hanging weight per half was 200 lbs. Figure 400 live weight. Market report on a 800-900 feeder bull at the local barn is around 1.12 to 1.15 right now. So 1.12 * 400 = $448. Add in processing or they can pay that on their own. I would sell a half for $450 plus processing. Another common way I see is just $2 or $2.50 of whatever per pound hanging weight.

Seems like folks buying it always have sticker shock. If you buy steaks one at a time, you don't notice how much you spent on 50 of them.
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Old 07/02/12, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Central WI
Posts: 5,761
Typically we price around a quarter more than what the local butcher places charge per pound on a half.
We do not sell quarters.
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Old 07/02/12, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 2,111
I'm selling halves right now for a couple freemartins going in September. I've sold 3 halves already, one more to sell. I'm getting $3.50 a lbs hanging wieght. Getting a $500 deposit now, balance when the beef is ready in October. The $500 deposit is refundable is I can't produce the beef, but if the buyer backs out then the deposit buys another freezer to keep the unpurchased side of beef in (I don't think anyone will back out and give up thier $500.....the rest of the beef is only going to be $300 to $400 more than the deposit they have already given). Also, it's a little easier for buyers to come up with part of it now, and part of it when the meat is ready.

I have a friend who may buy half of a bull calf I'm considering sending in. Because she is a friend we are planning to "Work something out". We just discussed it this morning. If we do this, she will pay her share of the processing and either work off the actual meat cost here, or trade me some work (her and her husband are often hired to work small jobs I can't do by myself here or when I need someone to take care of my animals). We know we have to be careful about that....good way to lose a friendship so if we do the beef will be given a $$ value and the work will be too, then a running tab can be kept for working off the $$ amount.

Or maybe I'll just take half of the beef she is raising for next year!
Good luck!
Now is the time to start working out what you'll do this fall when you butcher
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Old 07/02/12, 04:14 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
If you want to do some math and make certain you at least get what you would have gotten had you sold it to a processor here are some inputs. I sold through the sale barn a holstein jersey cross steer on 25 June. It weighed 1220 lbs, was grass fed in great condition and brought 82 cents/lb on foot. A meat processor bought the animal.
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Old 07/02/12, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: ne colorado
Posts: 1,205
the Holstein part makes it worth a lot less around here. we get 1.65 to 1.75 hanging weight for our Angus but most will only pay a little over a buck hanging weight for Holsteins.
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Old 07/02/12, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: missouri
Posts: 759
holstein fat cattle here are bringing 1.07-1.14 live on the hoof in indiana angus are bringing 1.20-1.22

if your only getting $1 a lb hanging weight for holstiens they are grading way too low and werent finished or you need to find a new market

good fats look about the same with the hide off i get $3 a lb hanging plus processing costs for holstein steers
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Old 07/02/12, 11:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Northeast Kansas
Posts: 872
The way we've always done that.....

We haul the calf to the locker for the people getting the whole or half beef. We stop by the coop on the way and get a live weight. We check the market at the local sale barn. We charge the "customer/s" for live weight at the going rate for calves at the sale barn.

We deliver the calf to the locker, give them the name of the others involved. It is their responsibility to then call the locker and tell the how they wish their beef to be cut and packaged. They pay the processing and pick up their meat when it's ready.

For example, if it weighed 1000 pounds and two people were splitting it, and the market was $1.00, then each of the two people would owe me $500. I would deliver the calf, and give them the names. I'm done at that point. I have my money in pocket and sold a $1000 calf to one or more people. lol
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Old 07/03/12, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: nebraska
Posts: 1,593
There are couple of ways to look at this. If it was me and I was dealing with a friend who was helping me by takeing 1/2 that I can't store, I would charge market price maybe add a little for delivery to the bucher. You can get on the internet or newspaper and find the going price for fat cattle.
If I am trying to make money then charge what the market will pay.
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Old 07/04/12, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 833
I dont mess with selling freezer beef any more but when we sold our it was half or whole and it was priced at $2.50 per pound whole $3 per pound half

No 1 item sales no 1/4 sales whole or half or dont buy from us we required a $200 deposit

We paid all butcher costs for the straight cuts anything special was extra on the buyer at time of pick up any day past the 1st day we got the meat back was $10 a day storage after 15 days your order is void and we keep the deposit and beef

Only reason we got out of selling to public was cause it was more hassle than it was worth and it seems like you see someone new selling beef every day on craigslist and people offering organic beef and people just not wanting to pay a deposit and pay you when they pick it up or write a bad check and your out the money plus the beef plus the $30 the bank charges for a bad check plus your still paying out of pocket for the processer (not good at all)

So thats why we got out of selling to the public and only sell to family and our self

Good luck with selling it but check the market in your area and charge more than the store and if people say they can get beef at the store for cheaper say yea you can but where did it come from how old is it how long will it last and last ask them how good is it if it dont change there mind let them walk there is always someone somewhere willing to buy it and if not eat it your self (thats just how i look at it)
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Old 07/05/12, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,349
If your family eats much beef, considering the store price of beef, you might be money ahead to buy a small freezer and keep it all.
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Old 07/06/12, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 2,111
I'd say $3.50lbs hanging weight must be a very good price for around here. Two years ago I sold at $3.00lbs hanging and had a hard time selling 3 halves. This year I barely had my ads up at $3.50 and I've already got 4 deposits. I'm taking the ads down now and the butcher apointments aren't until the end of September!
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Old 07/06/12, 09:37 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,835
$2.25 per pound hanging weight was what I charged last year at this time for 1\2 a show calf. (plus the buyer pays for their share of the processing.)

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Old 07/06/12, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Central Missouri
Posts: 2,038
Cheryl, are you paying processing or the customer?
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Old 07/06/12, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Central Wisconsin
Posts: 254
I am pricing halves at 3.50 hanging weight, and I pay the processing. Three of my four halves are sold.
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Old 07/06/12, 11:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Central Pa
Posts: 4,459
I paid 3.70 per lb hanging weight and the processing fee!
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