When it comes to beef weights, there are 3 different types of which customers should understand. The first is “live” weight. This is what the animal weighed on the hoof, or when it was alive. The live weight for our Premium steers usually averages around 1250 lbs.
The next weight is “hanging” weight or “Priced Weight”. This weight is the best over all meat weight that all of MK) Ranches Meats are Priced around that is fair and certified. This is the weight that the butcher gives us using a certified scale after the animal has been taken back to the butcher shop to hang. The weight difference from live to hanging is from loss of blood, head, hide, hooves, viscera, lungs and heart. The hanging weight is usually about 65% of the live weight. So, a 1250 lb animal would have a hanging weight of 812 lbs. (estimated). (A half share would then be 406 lbs. and a 1/4 would be 203 lbs). This is the weight we base our per lb. charges on as well as many others as it’s the best overall meat weight management. The butcher also charges cut/wrap fees based on this weight, plus extra if a customer has requested additional bones or organ meats.
The last weight is the “final” or “take-home” weight. This is the weight of the meat that each customer will bring home. This weight is usually about 65-70% of the hanging weight. So for a 203 lb quarter hanging weight share, the final weight would be about 131-142lbs (estimated) for a half hanging weight share of 406 lbs. would equate to be about 262-285 lbs. and a whole hanging weight share of 812 lbs. would equate to be 524-570 lbs. The weight is lost in 2 ways. About 4% is water weight lost during the 10-18 (you chose the hang time) day period that the carcass is hung (or “cured”). Then about another 25-30% is lost during the cutting process. This amount is variable based on 2 factors – one is the amount of fat in the meat, and the other is the cuts that a customer request. Higher fat means more loss. (Our grass-fed beef animals tend to be lower fat, so the loss tends to be closer to 30%.) Also, the more boneless cuts requested by the customer, the lower the final weight. (Note that the lower weight doesn’t mean that you are receiving less meat – rather, you are receiving fewer bones).
What does this mean as far as actually per lb. costs? This is about 40 to 60% less than what you would pay if you purchased grass-fed beef by the cut from retail outlets. (My latest research found that ground beef averages about $6.5/lb, roasts are about $13/lb and premium steaks are about $21/lb).