Butcher 2 and 3 year old bulls for meat sales.

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Faith Farm, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have a few young bulls I would like to butcher for our farmers market sales
    which have been with the herd since birth. They have grown beautifully
    but I was concerned about taste of the meat. Has anyone butchered a bull
    and not have a problem? A butcher friend of mine who slaughters animals
    for a living say's it's ok to do. He has never had a problem. If this is the
    case I would rather not castrate my bulls early on. I believe they grow
    nicer. Thanks.

    Paul
    Faith Farm
     
  2. lasergrl

    lasergrl Lasergrl Supporter

    Messages:
    1,656
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2007
    Location:
    Geauga County, Ohio
    I butchers an 8 month old bull and it was great. friends butchered an approx 4 year old angus and it was like leather.
     

  3. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,481
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    A lot is going to depend on the individual bull. The 2/yo might (might) be okay. The 3/yo I'd for sure put in hamburger.

    Anything over 30 months old has to be boned out anyway, because they can't split the backbone. They can do the cuts, but your t-bones for instance won't look like t-bones. It'll actually be boneless loin steaks.
     
  4. Allen W

    Allen W Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,795
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    NW OK
    Why would you want to pass off breeding age bulls running with the cow herd as good beef? Besides put up with the destructive critters.
     
  5. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

    Messages:
    2,987
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    north-central Kansas
    About all a 3 yr old bull is good for is lean hamburger. A 2 yr old might be some better if grain fed, but, not if he is running with a cow herd. Both will make some darn tough steaks that nobody will be happy with.
    And why run bulls past breeding age with the herd? Unless you really know what you are doing, you will downgrade any future calf crop with inbreeding.:stars:
    Much better off to castrate as calves, grow beef, and let a quality bull take care of the breeding.
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,726
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Paul, I'm sorry but I wouldn't even consider it and even less so if they have been running with the herd because they will have been working.

    In the thread "Feeling Bullish" I make reference to eating a 2 year old bull and it was awful - deep red meat, coarse and strong - and I don't think people will thank you for palming off what is essentially hamburger beef. This is why people castrate bull calves.

    I would suggest sending them to the works, where you will probably get good money for them, and steer the next batch of calves so you have a quality product to sell.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,853
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Paul, by not castrating you surely are correct that you get a better growing animal. However, if you keep the animal past 16 months or so you take a price bath at the market. If you castrate, the growth may not be as good but when the animal reaches a mature market weight you get a premium. At a sale barn the sale price for the intact animal will be 1/2 that of the steer. All in all, the application of a 2 cents green band and a somewhat slower weight gain will still be a better return. Additionally there is the benefit of the calm stay at home steer and the absence of the constant grunting and sniffing of a bull as well as the danger.
     
  8. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,379
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
    Maybe look into having that 3 yo bull done up into jerky. The going rate for jerky that the processor we go to here sells is something around $16 per pound (he doesnt make it himself, he sends it to a different custom processor that makes that sort of thing). GOOD jerky!! :)

    Or, doing some of him into summer sausage might be good too. Check with some of the processors in your area and see if you can find one (if you dont know of one already) that will do the value added extra processing for you. You may find one that if you take that animal there, they will do the kill through to the end product.

    Alot more variety for your farmer's market booth!
     
  9. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,379
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
    Oh, and other ideas could be all beef hotdogs, brats, precooked & shredded BBQ meat for sandwiches.
     
  10. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,893
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    New York bordering Ontario
    Around here they are called "bologna bulls" because they go really well into sausage type meats where they need lean to balance the fat of the product.

    Jennifer
     
  11. Faith Farm

    Faith Farm Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have a couple of choices here: 1) Look into jerky, hot dogs and sausage all sell for
    more than $6.50 lb., 2) Sell @ sales barn for a 15 cent below steer price which it is
    going for now, 3) Band them now while below 850 lbs ( the 2 years olds), 4) butcher
    into hamburger when they reach 1000 @ 5.85 a lb x 250+ lbs.,ribs, plus dog and soup bones.
    5)We are also researching pet food to meet our customer demand. They will make perfect candidates
    for our all natural chicken,grassfed beef and pork pet food.
    These bulls got away from me @ banding time usually @ birth and all my brood cows
    have been breed by my main bull. The three year old is my main bull which I am
    considering droping from the herd. He is wide but not as long as his father was. This
    years calves are his. We have 9 so far with nice results but it is early.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Paul
    Faith Farm
     
  12. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    Im going to have to dissagree with most everyone here. last fall we butchered our bull because he was getting too large. He was a 4 year old 1/2 scottish highlander, 100% grass fed. 2000 lbs live, and he was delicious!
    We took burger, roasts and tenderlions, plus had the choice cuts pre-sliced for jerky. I pan fried the tenderloins and they were amazing. fell apart in my mouth. the burger was super-lean and flavorful, almost no grease at all. the roasts we cooked 6 hours in the crockpot, and they fell to pieces, and they tasted so good. the jerky strips were, of course all made to jerky, but I ate a few raw, and they werent that tough.

    we butcher the steers for our customers, and when we butcher a bull, we keep him for ourself.
     
  13. SpaceCadet12364

    SpaceCadet12364 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,379
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    south central KY 75 miles SSE of Louisville
    Oh, on older Highlands I do agree with you, lonelyfarmgirl! We have never done a bull of an age over about 2-2.5 yrs old though. We have culled a 7 yo cow before, she had teat issues.....and she was GREAT! Hot carcass weight was like 726 and that was without the backbone because of her age...so her on the hoof weight must have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700 pounds or so. She was a big girl! But many told us to burger her because of her age, but we didnt. And very glad we didnt listen to the naysayers. Delicious and tender, massive platter sized sirloins. Yummo!

    We do know some people that have done older (other breed) bulls, and some do mention the "taste" that a bull can have. I think maybe with the Highlands, especially if you grass feed them, a working bull can avoid the "bull-taint" that some that likely grain their animals? And it may also depend on how heavy the bull had been worked. We only have a small fold, only on 10 acres here.....so, I dont think our bull is overly taxed in that department. He likes to bellow over at the neighbor's angus girls when they come in to heat, and no one on our side is keeping him busy at the moment. Maybe bull taint comes more into play if the poor bull has so many ladies he gets plumb wore out by all the activity? Or fights more with other bulls when people are just running a commercial herd and may have 2-3 bulls or more in with a large group of girls.
     
  14. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,893
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    New York bordering Ontario
    A friend of mine raised Highlands, and he sold an older bull to someone for hamburgher. The butcher fried a piece of the tenderloin because he was curious and said it was terrific, but when he told the buyer to reconsider grinding it all, he said no and it all went to ground. I don't know how old this bull was, but my impression was between 4-5 YO.

    Not meaning to hijack your thread, FF, but as long as there was a couple of posts on Highland bulls I thought I'd add that.

    Jennifer
     
  15. lonelyfarmgirl

    lonelyfarmgirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,437
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Location:
    Hoosier transplant to cheese country
    I dont think it has anything to do with herd size. we have maybe 35 in the herd now, probably 20 or 25 cows. isnt it sad I dont know for sure? and 2-4 bulls at a time. they fight all the time. sometimes hot and heavy, sometimes just bickering, but they do put on alot of miles out to the pastures and back. they have to come up tp the dry lot behind the shop to drink. I think its the grass fed pastured thing. taint happens in enclosed areas, and corn fed isnt natural.
     
  16. farmerdan

    farmerdan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    The guy who butchers my cattle told me that a lot of people prefer intact bulls for beef. I've had 2+ year old bulls butchered and the meat was great. Maybe it's a personal preference.

    Dan
     
  17. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,519
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    Location:
    MO
    Add another one to the "prefers bull beef" category..