Last Updated onPhoto courtesy of: George Walker
It is not always possible to buy live beef to be slaughtered, but it does save money when you can.
According to Kerrobert & District Agricultural Society If you purchase a live animal, you will have a yield of 62% pounds of beef. That is 639 pounds of meat from a 1300 pound steer. This carcass will yield 396 pounds of roasts and steaks and 243 pounds of ground beef and stew meat that would total about $6024.24 if bought from the supermarket.
If you paid $3.70 per pound for a 1300 pound live beef-$4810- plus $750 for the butcher, your total cost would $5560. You may have to pay a $100 slaughter fee. Check out prices before purchasing to determine if it is saving you money. Prices are usually higher in spring and summer. This will give you a savings of about 65 cents a pound over purchasing the same meat at the supermarket.
For more savings-per Kerrobert & District Agricultural Society -buy the live beef at a 4-H sale were beef is sold on an average of $3/pound. Your total cost including the butcher would be $4650–That is an average saving of $2/pound over the cost of buying the same meat at the supermarket.
How Do You Find Live Beef?
Post on your local message boards-such as a Facebook garage sale page. Post a request and watch for replies.
Ask a local butcher-an independent butcher not associated with a store. He can put you in touch with local farmers or may offer the service himself.
Go to 4-H sales at county fairs. Don’t bid on the prize winners as they will go for a hefty price. Some fairs limit it to “qualified” winners. If yours does this, roam through the stalls for those who won’t be at the auction and offer a price.
CSA. Local harvest has farmers participating across the US. This meat comes pre-cut and will cost more per pound.
Raise a calf-make arrangement with a farmer to feed a calf for you until it reaches slaughter age (1 to 2 1/2 years). The farmer may have a calf they are willing to sell you. Buying calves are cheaper than buying market steers but watch the prices to make sure you aren’t overpaying for this. Compare the cost of the calf plus raising fees with that of a market steer. The cost for vet bills may be separate.
Things to arrange in advance
Who is going to slaughter the steer-the farmer, the butcher or a slaughterhouse? What is the fee? It is usually around $100. Will the seller consider going in for half on the cost.
Who will transport the carcass to the butcher-the slaughterhouse, the butcher, you or the farmer? Is there a fee for this.
You will need to make arrangements with a butcher before slaughtering the animal. Is he free to do the job? How much will he charge? Is he charging for hanging weight (what remains after inners removed) or live weight.
Have an agreement signed with the seller stating the steer is free from disease.
Pick what cuts of meat you want-such as steaks or roast. Decide if you want hamburger, stew meat, or ribs. This article from Missouri Grass Fed Beef will give you options for meat cuts from each section of the cow.
You will need to tell the butcher how much you want each roast to weigh, how many pounds you want in each hamburger or stew package, and the number of steaks and thickness.
You may also request soup bones, ox-tails, liver, heart, tongue and other misc parts such as kidneys and sweetbreads-depending on the willingness of your butcher.
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