Freezer Beef: What, Why & How

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If you raise your own freezer beef, or purchase it in quantity, such as a side, what breed(s) do you prefer, why do you prefer it and how do you raise it (finishing diet and desired slaughtering weight)? If you purchase a side or so, what is your selection criteria?
     
  2. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

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    We recently bought freezer beef for the first time. As far as the breed, I would assume it is hereford or angus as that is what most people in N. AZ run. We buy it from a person who gets the beef from a co-op of ranchers who run their beef, then send it to this one rancher for processing and distribution. The major factor is they are hormone and antibiotic free and are range fed. Price is about $4.00 per pound. The price isn't a criteria as I would be willing to pay more for hormone and antibiotic free meat.
     

  3. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    We usually buy dairy bottle calves because they're cheap. I like to get Holsteins, but they have gotten more expensive lately. We just bought three Jersey bull calves for $35.00 each. We bottle them for about 6 weeks or until they're eating well. We give them all the grass or hay they will eat and supplement with a little grain until they're about a year old. Then start upping the grain a little at a time till they're about 16 months old. For the last 45 to 60 days we feed them all they'll eat. Usually wind up with about 900-1000 lbs. hanging weight at 18 months. I don't expect the Jerseys to do quite that well, though.
     
  4. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    I raise Highland, usually only keep a quarter for ourselves. Sticktly grass and hay fed, butcher at 22 to 26 months. I sell it at $5.00/lb + c&w. Tender, tasty, and low fat.
     
  5. a1cowmilker

    a1cowmilker Well-Known Member

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    we have raised our own beef for the last seven years. We have a limousine bull (sorry about the spelling) and the girls are part angus part bramer and who knows what. We separate the calves at about 7-8 months and agressively feed them for about 4-6 months. They get about 800-1000 pounds. We are pretty casual about when to butcher, honestly it's when we can get around to it. It is important to us that the meat hang at the processors for 3 weeks before it is processed. We use no chemicals on our cows other than wormer, and fly tags. We keep the whole calf and three families help eat it. That is only fair because they help raise them.
    My favorite meat is jersey, if our jersey cow has a bull calf we will make it into a steer and finish it off. This will become harder, we are selling off all but three cows before the end of the year, it will not be as easy to raise beef. Oh well, we'll ejoy it while we can.
     
  6. tresieg3

    tresieg3 Active Member

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    I AM IN FLORIDA AND WHERE DID YOU GET CALVES FOR $35 PLEASE LET ME KNOW I WOULD LIKE TO GET ONE.I WILL TRAVEL TO GET ONE AT THAT PRICE.
     
  7. djuhnke

    djuhnke Well-Known Member

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    I've heard jersey steers are harder & more expensive to raise up as beef cows because they eat but don't put on the weight (compared to a beef breed). Is this true?
     
  8. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Jerseys are a little rawboned, but with good care and good feed they'll beef up nicely. May take a little longer than some others, but they'll do fine.

    tresieg3, I pm'd you.
     
  9. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We run Longhorns and AI to either a Angus or Herfford. We wean them at 7 months, give the hay and about 2 pounds of grain until spring and then run them on grass for the summer. We then feed them for 90 days with full access to all the grain they can eat after getting them up to about 10 pounds of grain. Hanging weight is between 700 and 750 pounds on the rail. They grade out as "Choice". We have been getting $2.00/pd, but will be upping that next fall. Longhorn beef eat 80% of what English and Continental breeds eat and they have a healthier fatty acid profile with a lot less saturated fats.

    Bobg
     
  10. wheresdabeef

    wheresdabeef Member

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    I am raising angus cross steers, usually 8-12 every year. They get weaned when my cow guy rounds up his herd of 35-40 cows w/calves for whatever reason and tells me to get up there and pick up calves! The calves have been castrated, and shots and will be anywhere in size btw 3-500lbs I have been a $1 a lb for the calves for the last couple years but we haggle every year. The calves get to my place where they are put on free choice grain, hay, water on about a two acre feed lot, no pasture. I will let these animals go until they are probably 12-1400 lbs, then off to the slaughterhouse. I don't have too much for sale since the people who have been buying from me seem to keep me sold out. I have been selling at $1.50lb hang weight, customer pays processing. The halves this year have been btw 400-450lbs for the most part. I usually put a whole steer in my freezer about every 6-7 months, the kids come over and get their meat from the freezer too which is why we started raising beef in the first place. Just good meat no weird stuff!!
     
  11. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I get a Black Angus steer from my neighbor every year. Even though I'm a dairy farmer and keep some steers around the place running on some 2 and 3 teat cows, I'd rather eat something I didn't have the raising of. :) The Angus are grass raised, fed a little grain for the last month mainly to get them easier to load on the trailer as much as anything. Good eating.

    I'm raising up a freemartin Holstein this year for next year as an experiment. I've been told freemartins make the best beef.

    Jennifer
     
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  12. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    I buy natural meats from a farmer I trust that are grass-fed. Since the farmer that I work with is just setting up his pastures for the correct watering and grazing rotations, we didn't balk at a little feed of OP organically managed corn in the last few weeks, but next year we will not want that.
    I can't buy "certified" organic. TOO expensive. I look for the middle of the road guy who offers me the healthiest thing I can get with the money I have to spend. This is a good market for farmers around here. There are several I work with. It isn't a feed lot animal that I get, but I am also not having to pay $5.00/lb for a certified organic grass fed beef. I know that I am getting something healthier than what I would get in a grocery store without the antibiotics and hormones. But, I take a risk by trusting the farmer that he is selling me what he says he is. I go and see the animals, see where they live and how the operation is structured and ask a LOT of questions. Still, because I am buying something that has no real regulation, I could be conned, and I know that. Worst case, though, on a family farm, I am getting an animal that gets sunshine and exercise, which beats your local X-mart anyway.
    I buy most of the food I eat this way (until I am able to move and grow/raise my own.)
    Hope that helps,
    Cindyc.
     
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  13. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jennifer,
    Heifers always make for the best beef and all a freemartin is is an unbred cow so she will be as good as any other heifer you get. The fact that she has no ability to breed doesn't play any role in it. Friesian's make for good eating and although I personally prefer the Jersey or Jersey/Angus cross, I wouldn't screw my nose up at a Friesian either.

    I truely believe that the way they are brought up and handled right up to the second they fall over has a large part to play in how good the meat from any animal is. I don't know what your options are but over here we have the homekill guy come out to the farm. I try to ensure that everything is as normal as possible for the animal that is going and every time it has been head down, arse up eating grass when the bullet hits him.

    I think you will find your Friesian will be good and will be interested in your comments when the time comes.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie

    (Added: Friesians are known as Holsteins in the U.S. A freemartin is the heifer half of a heifer/bull twin set something like 90% of the time. Both share the same pacenta. The bull develops sexually earlier than the heifer, so she get a dose of his hormones, causing her reproductive system to be under-developed, resulting in her being a non-breeder/sterile. - Ken S.)
     
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  14. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    There have been studies done that prove that stress free slaughtering makes for more tender meat. The stress hormones (cortisol) that are produced by the animal when stressed by loading, hauling, unloading, feed-lot, etc. can greatly affect the meat. I plan on having the home-kill guy come out and do ours. I will know that calf had a good life up to the very minute he dies. You can't say that about most beef.
     
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  15. madoo

    madoo New Member

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    We butchered our first brangus this year. Excellent meat. One problem though the fat developed an odd taste and had to be removed from all cuts
    after about a month in the freezer. Why???
     
  16. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Our Holsteins were usually bred with a Angus for first time calf to make delivery easier.

    Once a year bull from a Holstein-Angus cross was castrated to steer status.

    He was raised with the other replacement calves for the dairy herd....fed the same stuff.

    He'd spend his first year penned with the other young stock of the same age group.

    His second summer he would be free ranged with the other 1 to 2 year olds......
    Brought back into the barn in early fall and fed a high grain diet for about 6 weeks.

    When the home bucthering unit arrived........he'd be shot where he stood in his pen--------and then dragged out into the yard where the local locker plant fellows hoisted him up on their special truck for gutting, skinning and quartering.

    They'd remove the meat to the locker plant---where it'd hang for a week or so before being cut up.

    The rest----the head, the guts---everything would be put into barrels and removed from our premises........excepting the heart, tongue and liver-----which we kept for our immediate enjoyment, or otherwise froze some for future use.

    We loved having our own meat and knowing it was good quality.

    Once when a free range heifer was injured, we slaughtered her.
    Her meat all had a "funny" taste
    Raised exactly the same as our annual steer but yet had an unusual taste.

    The "funny taste"---was it caused by those afore mentioned "stress hormones" ---caused by her injury?
    Another theory was that she probably was in "heat" when injured and "those" hormones affected the flavor of her meat.
    Or---was it because she missed out on the finishing process of intense grain feeding for the last few weeks.

    We never again, slaughtered a female for our home beef.

    As part of an Economics class, I did a comparision of costs of beef.
    Home raised beef, buying a side of beef, buying the exact cuts you want at sale prices, or buying the cuts you want on a weekly basis.

    I got right down to the cost of the freezer, depreciation and cost to run the freezer.

    I don't have the exact figures anymore----but, there was an obvious savings for the home raised beef.
    And, you had the secure knowledge of knowing what your animal had eaten.

    Purchasing a side of beef was not as great of savings--------however IF you knew your meat came from a good source-----that peace of mind was an asset.

    Buying the exact cuts you want, in volume, at sale prices was a pretty good option. However, many times those "sale priced" meats are not the best quality. Most times the quality IS GOOD----but you never know until you've actually into cooking the meat....especially those meats bought from chain stores rather than your own local butcher.

    35 years on the farm, I had the luxury of a freezer full of meat--------roasts, steaks, hamburger-----------but that time of year always came when the selection was down to soup bones and ribs. And, I'd feel obligated to use those rather than what I really wanted.

    Now, in retirement, I am enjoying the option of buying in bulk when items are on sale. It's great to buy only what I want and not need to deal with the cuts that are less favorable.
    However, now I am stymied by the occasional "off-flavor" meat---and then I truly miss our own farm raised, always dependable, meat.

    And, where we use to have steak quite often, I very seldom buy it----even sale prices are too high for my thrifty ways.
     
  17. astrocow

    astrocow Well-Known Member

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    Madoo;

    Sounds like the fat on your freezer beef went rancid from coming in contact with air.
     
  18. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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  19. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    glad it got bumped. it's exactly what i need to know right now.
     
  20. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    We've always enjoyed eating a fattened bottle calf. (either jersey or holstein doesn't matter) For the last three years though, we've been spoiled. My daughter has begun showing 4-H beef calves. (usually a crossbred calf with angus/simmental/maine breeding)
    This has absolutely spoiled us. The beef is graded by meat judges after the slaughter as this is part of the show competition process. Usually, the meat we've gotten to put in the freezer has been graded "choice +". The calf has been fed a good well balanced ration that is free of hormones and medicine. And, it puts the icing on the cake for all the care and labor that has went into the project. I've wondered though about my kids who have always chosen a name for the calf like: "T-bone, Brisket, or Sir-loin"! LOL