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Author Topic: Half a beef  (Read 4825 times)

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Online Jeff

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Half a beef
« on: January 23, 2020, 06:09:38 PM »
One of the Farmers that drives bus has offered Tammy half a beef for $539.  In all our married life we have never bought a half beef. Is this a decent deal?  I guess one would need to know the weight, if its processed and wrapped and all that. She said she would ask tomorrow.
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Offline A-z farmer

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2020, 06:28:37 PM »
That sounds like a good price if it includes processing and packaging too.We pay about 1 per hanging pound for processing and packages to our butcher.But it is also federally inspected too because we sell it in our store.Usually a side of beef is between 400 and 500 pounds hanging weight .We also pay 1.50 a pound for our pork processing.But this is New York prices so yours might be less in Michigan.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2020, 06:30:46 PM »
   I have no idea what is currently a fair price to pay for beef but the seller should be able to tell you the hanging weight (after skinned and halved and hanging in the cooler). We used to raise our own but after we got rid of our milk cow and quit raising calves Dad would buy a half or quarter from friends or co-workers who raised beef. We'd have our local butcher cut and wrap it as long as he was in business. You should be able to have it cut and packaged any way you want and however you and Tammy use it. Towards the end Dad always had ours cut entirely into hamburger (packaged as pre-formed patties) and cubed steak as that was what Mom could cook. I don't know if you don't want parts, like the heart or liver or such, if the butcher or seller gives a discount or provides other compensation such as a swap for other cuts.   

  Since we have moved here we have occasionally bought half a hog when we had friends who had some to sell or did not want to buy a whole pig. It always worked well for us. I stock up on venison and catfish we just buy beef and pork as needed to supplement it.
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2020, 07:34:07 PM »
Depends on hanging weight weight of the animal if that includes  processing on an average 1350#  animal it's a good deal.

Offline mroldstyle

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2020, 08:26:19 PM »
That's a lot of meat for 2 people (?) Do you think you would use it up before it started getting freezer burnt?

Online Jeff

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2020, 09:52:17 PM »
Id vacuum pack it. That is a lot of meat, and we usually dont eat much beef because we cant afford to frankly. We eat a lot of chicken and pork and a steakbor burgers are a treat. We like to make a pot roast with a roast, then turn the left overs into soup. I like tacos and chili and Spanish rice and meatloaf  and other burger ingredient dishes. We dont have any venison this year. Currently i am being officially warned to eat less. Im two days without coke. That should help.
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2020, 10:09:40 PM »
That would be somewhere around 2 dollars a pound if it is an average size animal.  A great price but quite an investment taking a chance if it isn't quality.  Is it a Steer or a Dairy Cow?   Personally,  I wouldn't buy that much because it would freezer burn on me and too many cuts I don't usually use.  I suppose you could have them grind it if you don't want certain cuts.  And there may be a processing charge not included.  On the other hand if the charge is included, that is one heck of a friendly Farmer. :)
I've been buying my Beef at Costco and do a little processing at home.  I grind my own hamburger also.  The value is incredible compared to traditional Markets around here.  I can stretch 60-65 dollars of Beef from Costco to make at least 5 meals for 5 people.  That would be 2 Steak Dinners and 3 Hamburger Meals or Hamburgers on the grill .  About 2.50 per meal portion.
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Online Jeff

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2020, 10:16:40 PM »
Well, the guy has worked with Tammy long enough to know what he's getting into.  :D

 We might have to have beef the night before the pigroast instead of bolied dinner this year. It's Tammy's choice once she gets the details.
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Offline Brian_Rhoad

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 10:19:04 PM »
We pay near that ($539) for a quarter of beef. It is vacuum packaged and froze for that price. We keep it in a chest deep freeze. It doesn't defrost and the temperature is near zero degrees. It will last for over a year with no freezer burn. The secret is vacuum packing and no defrost.

Offline Southside

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 10:20:21 PM »
Like the others said, it's either a great deal, or not so much.  Quality will make all the difference.  If the critter was well finished then it's an amazing deal as the all in cost to me is close to $3.00 / lb to grow, USDA butcher, and vacuum seal a beef, and that's on my ground from my calves with some purchased hay.   
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2020, 06:00:42 AM »
  The price sounds fair.. We just sold four live animals and thats pretty close to what we got for them. You could have them save the the brisket and you could make your own corned beef. we do it all the time its real easy. Good Luck

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 06:42:00 AM »
The last that I bought was a front quarter of a Black Angus, and the cost was $3.00/pound, butchered, cut (to our specs), some of it ground, vacuum sealed, and frozen!

That was a great deal, usually in this area it's quite a bit higher!

I have an acquaintance locally that sells ground beef for $4.50/pound!  I've told him that it's too high if he's selling in bulk!
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Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2020, 09:12:28 AM »
We used to split an angus calf with a friend, we knew the source of the calf and the butcher involved, so it worked out well.  What wasn't cooking cuts was turned into coarse (chilli) grind.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2020, 09:40:56 AM »
 The price sounds fair.. We just sold four live animals and thats pretty close to what we got for them. You could have them save the the brisket and you could make your own corned beef. we do it all the time its real easy. Good Luck
Ditto the corned brisket. Attached is my recipe for making corned venison which would work same for beef. Very simple to make. It is set up for 5 lbs of meat - I use deer backstraps and brisket and we like it. Just adjust the amount based on the weight of the meat. Keep it in a plastic bucket or crock (Like a removable crock pot) in the fridge for 5 days turning daily to make sure the solution reaches all the meat. I put a heavy plate on top to keep the meat totally submerged. Old timers had a special stone for that.


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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2020, 11:28:36 AM »
Tammy didn't have school today because of icey roads, but I think she has made up her mind to not get it because of the amount of meat. We probably don't eat that much beef in 3 years, and we would be pretty mush forced to eat a lot more than we do. We are having hamburger soup today though! I made it yesterday. It was good then, but we all know soup gets better the next day!



 
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2020, 12:22:29 PM »
   You might ask him if he would sell a quarter if you think you'd use that much then somebody else could buy the other quarter. Dad used to buy a quarter at a time sometimes after we had left home and they did not need as much. Either that or find a friend to split it with. Just a thought.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2020, 01:35:28 PM »
there are pros and cons.  we get a half just about 2 times a year.  we give a portion to my MIL.  we like hamburger.  we enjoy the roast and steaks as well, and it all averages out to about 1.5 bucks a pound for everything.  it takes up a small chest freezer and you are sometimes asking what to do about a certain cut of meat that we do not often use or buy.
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Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2020, 02:18:03 PM »
Billy and I share a half each year. Couple times it was a full steer but that's a bit too much. for the 3 of us.
We do get a lot of it ground and being it's grass fed and so lean I'm thinking it's pretty healthy.
Pay $100 for the calf, guy lets us leave it with his herd. Around $250-$350 when it's time to slaughter then whatever the processing costs.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2020, 11:31:33 AM »
A half is too much for two people in my opinion .Been there and done that already .Then factor in for example steak.In some situations you can  buy the entire meal out for just about what a good steak alone costs .A few years ago I had over $30 in just the porter house steaks for lady fair and myself for New Years eve at her house .I did them over an electric grill on her counter top . US prime and they were really good though .I had to look in several places just to find US prime . 

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2020, 12:42:47 PM »
Carrying Prime Beef is a loss for retail markets.  There is no money in it and high shrink exposure.
These Primals are ordered by the case.  A case of Strips or Ribeyes cost 1200.00 dollars maybe more now.  No way I can sell through that product in most markets.  If you are not a regular purchaser of these items you aren't first in line to get them when you need it.

The Restaurant Industry can do it for a couple of reasons.  One is the customer doesn't see the product before cooking.
In the retail environment, the product degrades quickly.  Eye appeal is buy appeal.
Another is the percentage of cattle that grades Prime is low.  Restaurants, specialty houses or other specialty markets easily take up that demand and availability.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2020, 12:50:42 PM »
This fall we paid $2.90#, cut and vacuum wrapped to order, for a half an Angus.  We purchase from a large producer that is big enough that he has an onsite USDA processing  plant.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2020, 05:09:44 PM »
Half a beef? We go through some beef in this house.  I don't know if we go through 10 pounds in a week. But Jeff has a couple kids. I betcha they would relieve some of the load off.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2020, 09:50:06 PM »
I'd bet we are more like 5-10 lbs a month.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2020, 06:39:44 AM »
Carrying Prime Beef is a loss for retail markets.  There is no money in it and high shrink exposure.
These Primals are ordered by the case.  A case of Strips or Ribeyes cost 1200.00 dollars maybe more now.  No way I can sell through that product in most markets.  If you are not a regular purchaser of these items you aren't first in line to get them when you need it.

The Restaurant Industry can do it for a couple of reasons.  One is the customer doesn't see the product before cooking.
In the retail environment, the product degrades quickly.  Eye appeal is buy appeal.

Another is the percentage of cattle that grades Prime is low.  Restaurants, specialty houses or other specialty markets easily take up that demand and availability.  
Very true!  In the grocery store, I've seen the butcher (or helper) repackaging meat, open it up turn the meat over so the brown side is down and the fresh-looking red side is up, then reseal it!
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Offline Southside

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2020, 07:17:37 AM »
Yup - and the big commodity packers pump carbon monoxide into their sealed packs to keep the meat looking un-naturally red longer.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2020, 07:57:06 AM »
We were interested, because the beef in all the stores around here are so full of something. You try to brown ground beef and you have to cook the water out of it.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2020, 08:52:35 AM »
that is why we do it.  Our friend Dallas works with ranchers (spreads manure)  and knows the conditions in which the the beef is raised.  we make all the ground beef 90/10 so not too much fat.  when he does it, he gets 5 or 6 head.  the meat processor calls us and asks how we want it done.  In a few weeks we get a call and Dallas drops off about 5 big grain bags of frozen solid meat.  we save money and always have meat in the freezer, but it is a chunk of change and takes up a whole smaller chest freezer. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2020, 08:57:24 AM »
They say it's done by grinding ice which hydrates the meat .Some say it's illegal some say not .What isn't illegal is grinding up to 30 percentage  fat .You make a nice big patty but once it is cooked it will fit on a dinner roll . Maybe that's where White Castle got it's start ?

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2020, 09:05:06 AM »
I like a BIG burger. Most times the burger buns are not used at my house. We buy the deli sized ones.  ;D  
We went to a church cook out. I was cooking my size burgers and looked at all the others. Mine out weighted them all.  :(  :)  I know when I would bring them to work, I would hear the comment, now that's a burger. What I start with in size, is just about what I finish with.
We was buying so called grass fed beef. I say so called grass fed, because you never know for sure. But it's packaged in a small place. We use mostly hambug, not really much steak. We buy the hamburg not frozen and than we would come home and make patties out of most of it.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2020, 09:11:07 AM »
Not a derail just something I found out  by accident .I actually like to cook but didn't do much until my wife passed on almost 6 years ago .I found out a meat loaf is not that easy to make  .Too much grease and the danged thing falls apart if you do it in a loaf pan .
Aha a brain storm .Bake it on a broiler pan grill and the grease drips out of it .Nice firm meat loaf after all .Funny thing is my fair lady ,who I went to school with never heard of it and neither had I . :)

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2020, 09:35:40 AM »
It is true that people who die of carbon monoxide poisoning, continue to have an "good color"  since the CO binds more strongly to hemoglobin, and it remains saturated.  think of your pulse ox O2 saturation used at the ER/doctors office.  It actually reads % of saturated hemoglobin and cannot differentiate what it is saturated with.  So even the machine is fooled.  CO binds 200 times stronger than O2 to hemoglobin, so in a high CO environment, the CO sticks stronger than O2 and you die from asphyxiation.  pulse ox still reads 100%  CO is volatile and flammable, as it is gas produced by incomplete burning of fuel.  so it should not harm a person after meat is cooked.  it is present in nature, and we produce some of it in metabolism.  Car exhaust produces increased basal amounts in then environment.  so normal level in humans is up to 5% in non smokers, 5 - 10% in smokers.  50% levels are often lethal.  the antidote is high concentration O2.  so take a deep breath and eat your meat! :)
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2020, 10:40:19 AM »
  the antidote is high concentration O2.  so take a deep breath and eat your meat! :)
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2020, 10:42:55 AM »
I would invest in a small Meat Grinder instead.  Get one that has a stainless steel hopper and head.  They come with 2 plates.  One chili size and one fine grind.  There are some out there with Chinese Pot metal.  Stay away from them, they leach out IMO.  Buy Chuck Roasts or Stew Meat that is on sale at a Retailer around you.  I usually time it with a Steak sale but that isn't necessary.  Trim some steak trimmings off the edges and grind with the rest of roasts or stew.  That enhances the flavor profile. Grind once with the chili plate then a second time with the fine plate.  You will notice a big difference in taste and texture. There are Markets out there with tremendous value on their Meat Prices.  I spent 5 months in Northern Maine last Summer.  The Meat prices around the towns sale ads were unreal and quality meats.  The following week the price goes up.  Move on to the next market where the item is on sale. We don't have a grinder up there so I buy Hamburger from the market who sells the most steaks because that is where the best hamburger is. You can tell by the amount of steaks on display.  It is usually called Market Trim or In-Store Market Ground.  The rest of the grinds in the case are usually pre-pack or processed from 10 pound tube grinds that come into the store pre-ground with a chili plate at the processor.  Garbage in my book with no flavor.  When I do grind it is for the day I am going to use it and 2 packages get frozen for 2 other meals.  Then you feel better about what your eating. The cleanup is a 5 minute deal.  You'll still see water coming out when you're cooking but that is a natural thing.  The Pumped meat that is pre-packed has a declaration amount of 4-8 % saline solution depending on what item.  Think Walmart Meat. You end up with a plate full of water with your meal.
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Offline Corley5

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2020, 02:54:50 PM »
We trade firewood for a whole beef every third year.  Have it vacuum packed and it keeps just fine.  Works for us.  Vacuum packing is key.  Pork especially doesn't keep well if just paper wrapped.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2020, 03:07:18 PM »
When I order a front quarter, I just tell them to get what they can for steaks, I want about a 4-5 lb primerib, the rest into burger, and 1/3 of the burger into 1/4 lb patties, and the bulk burger into 1 lb pkgs!

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2020, 01:49:43 PM »
When we sell beef, a lot of people only want a quarter.  Our butchers want each half cut the same, and no customer yet wants to give up the steaks.   :D
 
Our solution is that the butcher will separate into mixed quarters, as long as the half is cut the same.  So we have a standard cut we go with to keep the butchers happy and that is agreeable for most of our customers. 
 
If the customer wants something special (thickness, steaks per package, etc.), we let them know we can do that, but they have to order a half or go in with someone else that wants it cut the same.  We have played beef matchmaker before to. (LOL)  But, that is an exception, not the rule.  ;)

Having burgers that don't shrink is also one of my favorite parts.   ;D
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Offline Stoneyacrefarm

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2020, 03:05:48 PM »
Beef out our way sells for $3-$3.50# hanginging weight and you pay the butcher cost. 
Which is .85 - $1 a pound. 
Hanging weights are usually between 550 & 700 pounds. 
Some of the places even charge a kill fee on top of the butcher costs. 
That is anywhere from $90-$150. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2020, 06:10:02 AM »
The prices have slowly went trough the roof since the ethanol craze took over .This I do remember from my FFA days .A beef with a steady rate of gain as a rule will be a leaner beef developing  muscle not fat .Once that rate drops it usually doesn't produce as good of meat .So in the case the market drops often the feed lots try to hold them some until the price rises again .
It's really something to have hamburger priced higher that T-bone steaks not that long ago .As I said rather than even fool with it I usually get the steak dinner out .Don't buy much beef any more but will add the meat loaf I made over the week end turned out great . :) 

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2020, 06:09:31 PM »
Had to put a milk cow down because of an injury. Had it processed at a local butcher , mostly into hamburger. Was very good and really lean. 

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2020, 06:35:09 PM »
Jeff, that's a great price for 1/2 a cow.  Ditto the other's advice for storing in a chest type freezer with no defrost and vacuum bagging.  It should last for 1-2  years at least and save you 2X to 3X from what you'd buy in the store.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2020, 02:41:41 PM »
We used to finish a steer and butcher it every year for our own use.  The value was good and the meat was good.  But we had 10 people eating beef then.  The economics of it just pushed us to quit.  There was just too much meat for two of us.  Emily and I eat much more venison, chicken and fish now than beef.  Three or four deer a year lasts us all year.  

For us, we get high quality fresh cuts of beef from the Mt. Airy Meat Market when we want something other than burger.  When we want to use burger we just use venison burger.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2020, 07:58:50 AM »
Id vacuum pack it. That is a lot of meat, and we usually dont eat much beef because we cant afford to frankly. We eat a lot of chicken and pork and a steakbor burgers are a treat. We like to make a pot roast with a roast, then turn the left overs into soup. I like tacos and chili and Spanish rice and meatloaf  and other burger ingredient dishes. We dont have any venison this year. Currently i am being officially warned to eat less. Im two days without coke. That should help.
First time to click on the food section and found this thread. Jeff, stopping the coke will really help the bottom line. That ADMIN LANGUAGE EDIT is expensive I'm told..... ;D
Grass fed beef is like eating wild salmon. The grass changes the fat content. It creates conjugated linoleic acid and it is actually healthy for you. Grain fed is terrible for your health.
Vacuumed packed will last up to 4 years so far. Wife found some in one of our big chest freezers a while back. We usually raise a hog or 2 on our pastures and she found some meat .
If it's a dairy beef, preferably a jersey. The higher the fat content of the milk, typically the better marbling of the meat.
We also usually raise a beef or 2. Bought a jersey heifer breed to a black angus last week. Due to calf in a few weeks. So will raise the calf to butcher and will have grass fed fresh milk and butter.

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2020, 02:46:16 PM »
We have always considered grain fed our best beef, grass fed was fine for the gringos south of the border. ;D It is becoming more common in the stores but to be quite honest I don't care for it as much. It must be terrible being a vegetarian or vegan, they miss out on so many good meals.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2020, 10:55:52 AM »
We have always considered grain fed our best beef, grass fed was fine for the gringos south of the border. ;D It is becoming more common in the stores but to be quite honest I don't care for it as much. It must be terrible being a vegetarian or vegan, they miss out on so many good meals.
Then you haven't had good grass fed beef. South of the border grass fed is typically 3 or 4 years old and till not 'finished' due to having to scavenge for their food and not the best ground. Properly raised grass finished beef not only tastes better, it is actually healthy for you, as the conjugated linoleic acid content is same as cold water fish. The steaks we raise/grill are the best we've eatin anywhere and we've eatin a bunch. Several of our friends whom typically eat at the best steaks house in our area and they also agree that ours are better. But even a good grain fed steak is still petty good. 

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2020, 11:14:11 AM »
I grew up on grass fed beef we raised ourselves.  I've tried the much touted grass fed/finished beef of today.  Grain fed is much better IMHO.  A steak that tastes like corn is what I want.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #45 on: May 02, 2020, 04:11:26 PM »
we have a half beef coming at the end of the month.  I think buying private and being processed by a local meat processor may become more prevalent.  It is kind of nice to know it was raised and processed by neighbors.
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #46 on: May 02, 2020, 07:44:46 PM »
I think your right and will have excellent results especially if you can get it finished and processed to your tastes.  8)

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #47 on: May 02, 2020, 10:24:36 PM »
I'm curious about different states in that regard. For a legal sale here the initial slaughter and processing has to be done in a USDA facility. A state certified facility can only do that for personal use. I think I've been in places in the Midwest that must be operating under different rules. For us the closest USDA slaughterhouses are about 3 hrs away, there is a state certified one just over the hill but it can't be sold.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #48 on: May 02, 2020, 10:59:04 PM »
   I have not checked and could easily be wrong but I thought in cases like this you were buying the animal or half the animal from the owner and the processing plant was just processing your animal for you and USDA, et. al. regulations for sale did not apply. You are just paying the slaughter and processing fees not buying the meat.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #49 on: May 02, 2020, 11:35:44 PM »
my buddy Dallas know the ranchers, he secures the sale, and the animals (usually about 4 cows) go to the meat locker/local processor.  several small towns have them, and I am sure they comply with licensing.  one at Yoder does a tone.  they sell it, they do my deer for me,  they do about 30 lambs a month.  they produced for the local Amish restaurant.  I will try to find out.  first class operations.  I write him a check, usually about 600 buck for everything including the cow and processing.  usually about a 1.60 a pound for everything, steaks and all.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2020, 12:23:19 AM »
Same as how it works in NZ. There are "homekill" butchers that are all qualified / licenced etc, but they can only process meat for individual use, not for sale as it wont have been officially inspected. 

But you can legally buy a cow from a farmer, pay him the money, and it's now your cow standing in the paddock. Then you hire the home kill butcher to go and collect the animal and process it. You pay the butcher for his work only, and collect your cow from him, cut and packed into nice neat freezer bags. You didn't buy meat off the farmer, or the butcher, so no laws are broken (unless you on-sell the meat) 

Now the farmer may have  coordinated everything, but remember he only ever sold you a live cow. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #51 on: May 03, 2020, 08:09:52 AM »
  I have not checked and could easily be wrong but I thought in cases like this you were buying the animal or half the animal from the owner and the processing plant was just processing your animal for you and USDA, et. al. regulations for sale did not apply. You are just paying the slaughter and processing fees not buying the meat.
You are correct. Senator Massey from Kentucky is sponsoring a bill called 'PRIME' that allows meat sold in state to be slaughtered locally for commercial sale same as it's for individuals. I think it's a great idea. This way the national food change isn't as much at risk like it is now. 

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #52 on: May 03, 2020, 08:46:57 AM »
I used to buy a half every year , raised in OH killed and butchered in PA ( live in WV ) go half on kill fee and pay for double wrap and butchering only difference between store bought is wrap is stamped  Not For Resale . IMO the ONLY way to go . I know every body involved  . :)

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #53 on: May 03, 2020, 09:24:01 AM »
I like the sound of what Sedgehammer is talking about. There is some herd share going through the farmers market but for cuts the animals have to make an expensive journey to a USDA facility. The current situation is really pointing out the downsides of that messed up system when it could all stay local, small and well dispersed. A redundant, hardened system rather than a fragile, non redundant concentrated food distribution system.

I grew up on Grandaddy's grass fed lightly grain finished, half a beef at a time. Since then about everything. I've about come to the conclusion that good grass fed isn't hay finished. There is a time of harvest, when they are finished on the best pasture grass fed is good. If they are harvested while on winter hay its about like eating a refugee on rations.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #54 on: May 03, 2020, 11:07:22 AM »
@Skip ,

Good catch and point - I think our local butcher used to stamp "Not for resale" on every package when he butchered for us.

 I know with deer and it may be the case with other home grown meat not inspected or for sale the butcher generally cut the wild game at the end of the shift after he finished the commercial orders because he had to completely break down and sanitize the saws and equipment before he could saw commercial meat again. In some cases he'd have to schedule you to bring the animal to him at a certain time as he could not store un-inspected meat in his cooler with meat to be cut for sale. I don't know if just having it quartered in an ice chest qualified in some cases. In others he might could get by with it.

I have a cousin in Mobile AL who is a butcher at WalMart and I told her when she retires I am going to be her sponsor and get her gigs where she would go to some hunting club and train people to process their own deer or meat. I figured each would pay a $50 fee to learn to properly break down and process the meat and the person providing the subject animal got the benefit of getting his animal processed. She tactfully (Well almost) advised me she didn't need no dang sponsor. (I was just trying to help and thought a 50% coordination fee for my effort was fair ::) ::)  :D).
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #55 on: May 03, 2020, 03:54:12 PM »
Kansas of course is big in agriculture.  My buddy Dallas, had a group of 10 hunting friends come to his house, and a local ag extension agent came and did the same training for how to safely store and process wild game.  the Yoder meats folk process hundreds of deer each season.  not sure how they coordinate it all.  you can take them 25 pounds of just deer meat and they will make summer sausage , or the whole deer and they will skin it ect.  you can also pay the processing, and donate the meat.  It must have the tag and your meat is your meat.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #56 on: May 03, 2020, 09:33:16 PM »
   We have a local butcher shop that opens every year with the start of bow season and ends the last of deer season. They have coolers and will skin and process a deer any way you want it. I think they are too pricey and don't use them. I think they charge about $10 to skin a deer. They keep and sell all the hides to local fur/hide buyer. Then it is $60-$70 to process the meat. Some other local butcher process deer as well and they are a little cheaper. 

   I do my own - hams become cube steak, neck (bone in) a roast, backstrap and brisket becomes corned, shoulders  either roast or sausage. Trimmings become sausage or get canned. That's what happens when you have time on your hand.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2020, 10:38:02 PM »
Here is the summary of the PRIME act from Congress.Gov

Quote
Introduced in House (05/21/2019)
Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act or the PRIME Act
This bill expands the exemption of custom slaughtering of animals from federal inspection requirements.
Under current law, the exemption applies if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee uses. The bill expands the exemption to include meat that is
  • slaughtered and prepared at a custom slaughter facility in accordance with the laws of the state where the facility is located; and
  • prepared exclusively for distribution to household consumers in the state or restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, grocery stores, or other establishments in the state that either prepare meals served directly to consumers or offer meat and food products for sale directly to consumers in the state.
The bill does not preempt any state law concerning (1) the slaughter of animals or the preparation of carcasses, parts thereof, meat and meat food products at a custom slaughter facility; or (2) the sale of meat or meat food products
Doing a little background checking, prior to the current federal oversight program, the Wholesome Meat Act, which began in 1967 there were 10,000 slaughterhouses in this country, there are now fewer than 4,000. I haven't heard of problems out of the state certified facilities vs the USDA ones. I know our state inspectors that we've dealt with are not lax at all. The writer of that article used the same word I did to characterize the current system, fragile. I suspect our lawmakers are keenly aware of that right now. In another older article I read it had a 2% chance of passing prior to the pandemic. I'd say this would be a good time to light up your representatives. It is HR 2859 and S 1620 and has bipartisan sponsors.

If we learn nothing else from this I hope that we learn that keeping things home and if possible local is a good thing. Michelle is having to call around tomorrow looking for a bigger building for the farmers market to work out of for gathering, boxing and curbside pickups. In contact with other markets they are all seeing the same thing.
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #58 on: May 04, 2020, 06:05:56 AM »
  I have not checked and could easily be wrong but I thought in cases like this you were buying the animal or half the animal from the owner and the processing plant was just processing your animal for you and USDA, et. al. regulations for sale did not apply. You are just paying the slaughter and processing fees not buying the meat.
You are correct. Senator Massey from Kentucky is sponsoring a bill called 'PRIME' that allows meat sold in state to be slaughtered locally for commercial sale same as it's for individuals. I think it's a great idea. This way the national food change isn't as much at risk like it is now.
House representative Massey from Kentucky happens to be a Forestry Forum Member.
Thomas in Kentucky hasn't been active here lately but is probably a very busy man.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2020, 11:31:32 PM »
Our local meat processor is booked full into November, that puts it up against deer season around here. They usually shut down for two weeks and just process deer. Next town over has a packing house that does the federally inspected kill for local folks that sell meat by the pound.  Most of my clients that sell off the farm, sell quarters and halves live before processing. Hy Vee grocery stores put a limit on meat purchases today, being in Nebraska that is an odd scary thing, but meat packers are struggling to staff their kill floors and get product out. This market situation is hurting farmers trying  to market feeder calves to sell to feedlots, I hope this turns soon and Agricultural  at least gets to break even status. That would be an Improvement.

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2020, 09:38:28 PM »
We bought two finished butcher ready hogs for $150 each.  They're said to average close to 300 lbs.  Producers downstate are shipping them north to private buyers.  Ours will be delivered to a local processor next week.  It'll be the second load of twenty he's taken in.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2020, 09:55:53 PM »
a doc married to a rancher new a hog farmer that could not move his critters.  i called today and he found a buyer.  he was selling 100 bucks a hog, and normal price was 270 to 300.  he moved his, but my buddy now found a guy willing to sell at 40 cents a pound, so 120 bucks for a 300 pound hog.  we may get one and skin and gut it and put it on the smoker, then vacuum seal bag it at a pound each bag.  hard to butcher this time a year.  cannot really let it hang at these temps.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #62 on: May 10, 2020, 03:00:37 PM »
Just bought this guy today for 2300$ and I still need to pay for processing. With the price of meat going up I hope I'm doing the right thing. Last week we filled a big freezer with chicken on sale and this week there are limits in the stores-if you can find beef or chicken.

 
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #63 on: May 10, 2020, 03:21:31 PM »
he looks a little angry... or is it Angus at you Tule. ;) :) Low prices on livestock direct here but the local little processors are booked until November.  you did good.
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #64 on: May 10, 2020, 04:53:02 PM »
Why would he look angry Doc ? I have no beef with him...........
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #65 on: May 10, 2020, 04:55:13 PM »
Tule  you make me laugh till... the cows come home!!! :D :D :D.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2020, 05:03:25 PM »
Have a happy mothers day !

 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #67 on: December 17, 2020, 03:51:36 PM »
Never saw this topic before.  Figured id deposit some info.  You guys had been discussing custom slaughter verse usda slaughter.  USDA slaughtering allows you to sell meat to brokers, strangers, supermarkets for resale to the general public etc.   With "custom slaughtering" you are not allowed to.  You can sell a live cow to a customer then deliver it vacuum wrapped as steaks but they must say not for sale on the label.  




We are in bigtime angus country.. Thousands and thousands of head here.  Slaughter dates are backed up 2 years minimum and i think yer on yer own for getting a deer butchered.  Ive heard of guys just shooting older cows to stop feeding.  



The auction price is way low on the hoof  and the animal will be too old by the time a slaughter date comes.  I could be wrong on this but i think USDA slaughter has a 24month old cutoff for madcow prevention.. Only heard it once.. Maybe not true.




Anyways with that situation i briefly considered setting up a small custom slaughter and read a bunch of very boring .gov docs on all of it.   Too much upfront capital for me.  I like sorting muscles but i would be giving up on the industrial side of my life which i just cant do.    The rules are quite loose on becoming a custom slaughterer to be honest.  But it is a direct producer to customer only operation, no middlemen or wholesale of any sort. 
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Offline Southside

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #68 on: December 17, 2020, 06:03:54 PM »
Mike,. 
There is no age limit on harvesting a beef, but if over 30 months of age basically all the spinal bone must be removed so cuts such as T bone and Porterhouse steak are not possible per USDA inspected. You can have filets instead. I don't know on custom if any of that applies. 

Dropped off two 100% grass fed and finished steers Tuesday, will have them back early after the New Year. Probably already sold out aside from what we hold back for us. 
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #69 on: December 17, 2020, 06:35:23 PM »
Publix has Rib Roasts on sale for 5.99 lb. In their Christmas ad. 
I'll be turning them into steaks.  :)
 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #70 on: December 17, 2020, 07:22:14 PM »
Thanks for clearing that up jim, makes sense.  



What are yalls thoughts on finishing, marbling and "western beef" ??  


I know almost nothing about any of these things btw. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #71 on: December 17, 2020, 09:03:20 PM »
The key to tenderness and taste is for them to be gaining weight each and every day they are walking around.  That's what makes grass fed / finished so hard and why some folks put out a horrible product.  Summer heat slump on fescue pasture and you don't get gain, winter feed is only dry fescue hay - again, no gain.  You are not going to get the marbling from 100% grass fed that you see in a properly grain finished steer, it just doesn't happen.  I can usually grade Choice, but not Prime, if I did everything right and the genetics were there, etc.  Speaking of genetics all of mine are crosses, either Jersey x Holstein, Jersey x Angus, etc - F1's give you an advantage for production.  But realize I run my beefs with the milk cows - so they are getting the very best grass diet I can give them.  We overseed warm season grasses and legumes, annual rye, wheat, clover for winter and spring grazing, feed baleage, dry hay, and peanut hay, daily pasture rotation, summer irrigation.  Lots of management.  Those two that just went ate better than my dry cows that will calve in the spring for the past 2 months.  

I don't worry about marbling at all, my goal is the customers eating experience.  Tender, lots of taste, and no grain and or chemicals at all gets me a premium and honestly I prefer the meat over what I can get at the store.  Now a great grain fed burger or steak at a restaurant and I am all in - but that's more what the chef did to prep the meal rather than what the beef actually brings to the table.   
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #72 on: December 17, 2020, 09:07:40 PM »
Southside seems like you have really done your homework and its paying off 👍

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #73 on: December 17, 2020, 09:10:54 PM »
I should have done more homework growing up and I wouldn't have to be messing with cows and sawmills these days.  :D
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #74 on: December 18, 2020, 12:28:55 AM »
The key to tenderness and taste is for them to be gaining weight each and every day they are walking around.  That's what makes grass fed / finished so hard


It's possible (and common) here in NZ due to the climate. Of course you have to manage pasture closely to get through the Summer and Winter with enough grass to keep them putting no weight. Hay or silage is a supplement to help them get through winter. Of course they put on more weight in the better seasons, but they aren't getting stressed during the others. 

I agree on the F1 Cross. Most of the dairy farmers put their non-breeding cows to an Angus or Hereford bull, so they can sell the calves at ~3 days old to beef rearers. The Fresian X calves are the most popular/ valuable  as they simply grow bigger and faster, and assuming similar condition are worth about the same per kg at the meat works. The Jersey X are smaller, but still good eating. An ~18 month X-bred heifer is about as tender as beef gets. digin1  The fat might have a more yellow tint to it, but it doesn't affect the taste. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #75 on: December 18, 2020, 07:14:05 AM »
I actually strive for that yellow tinted fat, it's a sign of good chlorophyll intake and CLA development. Personally I find it does impact the taste in a positive way. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #76 on: December 18, 2020, 08:42:23 AM »
Publix has Rib Roasts on sale for 5.99 lb. In their Christmas ad.
I'll be turning them into steaks.  :)
 
Hard to beat that price which is down from $6.99 last year.
As always we will be picking up several of those roasts to be cut into steaks and vacuum bagged.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #77 on: December 18, 2020, 10:30:08 AM »
I ask everyone i know with cattle experience and have gotten a consensus that a jersey, holstein or hereford cross will make an excellent family meat animal, just won't grow as fast which is fine since i will have to sell atleast half of it.  I'm told to go with a pair but really don't want to at first in case its too much to handle, some weeks its hard to feed ourselves!  i understand they are social and one cow can get basically depressed.  my plan was a bottle calf and 2 or 3 piglets on forage.  about 3 acres of woods being slowly converted to savannah pasture. planted in proteins and rotated frequently is what I'm thinking.

thoughts?  bad idea?  pitfalls?  


i can buy in dry hay or feed but would try to minimize that.  we just ate kale last night that i harvested yesterday after 2 days below freezing.  my food plot is still growing minus the chicory.  will continue to experiment with various plantings to see what other feeds will go through winter.  i am okay with animals not putting on winter weight as long as they live.   well.. pigs would go down in the fall but I'm guessing a dairy breed is gonna need 2 seasons to hit a decent slaughter weight.  again.. bad idea?
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #78 on: December 18, 2020, 10:34:57 AM »
sidenote.  i think i recently mentioned here that the co-op everyone i know goes to about an hour away had bulk 14% feed at $2.15 a ton which was ridiculous but i asked the girl on the phone 3x and even spoke out the decimal point.  she assured me it was $2.15 a ton.  i got to thinking that can't be possible and called to speak to someone else.  $215 a ton.  $238 for pelletized.  much more sense.  


anyways, how does that price compare to what you guys are seeing, and would you say that feeds are in a historic high low or in-between?   how much feed per head per day ?  

4x5 round bales of dry hay are $30ish.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2020, 09:07:23 PM »
My $0.02 worth, this will probably get long so I am going to try to organize it in a fashion that you can use to draw a conclusion.

First why do you want to raise the beef?  If it's to save money then you have to eliminate buying inputs (feed) - there is no way to beat the grocery store price when you have to purchase animal feed and convert it to an edible product.  Economy of scale has you whooped by the commodity crowd, they are efficient, established, and most importantly subsidized.  Based on what you said we need to eliminate purchased inputs - not a problem, just need to adjust so you grow your own feed, which means not feeding in the winter.  Winter is expensive, your $30 ish dollar bale of hay will not result in $30 ish dollars worth of feed.  If it was left out in the open, or subjected to ground moisture then you can easily loose 30%-40% of the bale to rot.  Animal waste is usually another 10% under good circumstances - so that bale actually costs you in the neighborhood of $45.  Lets assume that bale weighs 700 lbs, you are now paying $128 per ton for likely barely maintenance quality feed that might actually cause your animal to loose weight.  Add in mud, soil pugging, destroying the grass you have established, pneumonia, ice storms and yea - winter is expensive, don't carry over your family beef.  Plan to harvest in the late fall.  If you put your effort into having good feed in front of your beef during every day of the growing season you should be able to have a 400 lb live weight animal by the time the grass goes dormant and is gone for the year.  Even in the worst case that will yield you 100 lbs of tender boneless beef.  Yes the steaks and roasts will be small - but so what - since we have minimized expenses you can raise two or three during the growing season on the ground you have and be very economical about it.  That takes care of the single animal issue too.  300 lbs of boneless beef is about what I will get off of each of those two finished steers that went this week FYI, gives you 6 lbs of meat per week all year this way - and you didn't have to buy hay or grain.  

Ok - are you doing this to have better or healthier food for your family?  I am willing to bet that $215 feed is basically GMO corn and roasted soybeans with some added minerals, feed that to your home grown beef and you basically have expensive grocery store beef, really no difference.  The GMO issue is for you to decide on - just pointing out that there is no discernible difference here.  Now if they put in some "Rumensin" mixed into that feed - assuming that is still being done (to promote gain they will say) - then forget about having a "healthier" home grown beef in my opinion.  Maybe that's not done any more - it's been a while since I hung around the commodity crowd so I really don't know.  

How to start.  Assuming these are healthy calves that got good colostrum.  First - I really dread having bottle babies.  We keep our dairy calves with the mommas - for at least 60 days, and share milk them, you could get away with less, but I can't tell you how much easier it is this way.  Milk replacer is expensive and a royal pain to deal with.  It clumps, it bumps, it sticks, it spoils, it causes scours - did I mention that it's expensive?  

If you are going to bottle feed then feed raw milk.  There has to be a homesteading family or dairy that you can make a deal with and get raw milk in trade to feed a couple of calves.  Even if it's withdrawl milk - it's still better than the powder.  

So far these obstacles are relatively easy to overcome.  Cattle socialization is so much more than just companionship.  There is a teaching and learning that goes on and is downright amazing to observe.  Without a momma cow to show the calves what to eat you are going to have to teach your calf that maple buds, poplar leaves, and poison ivy growing in your savanna is actually all good food.  You want them to love Doc Weed, honeysuckle, and about every other green plant that is in front of them.  It can be done, there are actually folks out there who charge a pretty penny to teach cattle how to eat weeds and they pass it onto their off spring - well Mike - you will be Big Momma!!  

So yes I think you can achieve what you desire, just evaluate what you can do and work within those parameters.   
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #80 on: December 19, 2020, 06:27:37 AM »
Wow great info.  


Yes, there is a menonnite dairy about 10 mins away that i could probably do some trading with somehow or just purchase.  They get a mint for that glass bottle milk tho.


So my reasons arent "save money" but instead "have meat."  We dont buy meat at all.  Either i shoot it, its given to me as a gift or for helping butcher.. Or we dont have it.  So its more a case of if i grow it i will have it and having real things, not paper money, is a stability i insist upon.  


Gmo this or that.. Not too concerned.  I will probably die from splenda poisoning. Cost is more important to me than GMO. My back 3 or 4 acres grows greener the more i extract wood.  That cow should convert the wasted green to red meat value.  Make the land feed you.    



The idea of not overwintering was always my original plan but i kept getting shot down on it by my peers, saying youll get a pile of bone with no meat.  I figured theres gonna be plenty meat in a year old cow and im butchering myself so why learn on one that cost me twice as much to grow and mess up?  so i am glad to hear you say that.  100lbs of steak would take 2 years for us to eat.  I gotta wash all these dishes by hand..  Let them eat sandwich!  Paper plates ftw.


What does a weened calf typically weigh and what breed and gender would you go for?  What cross breeding is not allowed?


A lot of this is also to teach my kids more than just scavenging, being cheap and machinery.  Im an industrial dad raising kids in a 4H world.  Theyre also pretty lazy, daughter especially.. Shes high function autistic.  Maybe the chore she needs. 
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Offline Southside

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #81 on: December 19, 2020, 09:09:50 AM »
Yes your yield ratio from live weight to finished will be lower than what a feedlot finished animal will be, but so what?  Like you said, this is for you and your family, you are not trying to sell the beef in a store and compete with others who do and have all the costs associated with that.  

So my dairy calves will wean at 150-200 lbs, I try for a 50 ish pound birth weight.  I don't weigh them, as long as they are eating good and are in great body condition by 60-90 days then they are done.  I go more by how much other forage the calf is eating than number of days.  By the end the calf is only with the momma for a few hours a day anyway and before then they have usually established their own groups that spend most of the day with a single cow or a "baby sitter" heifer so it's pretty apparent they don't need the milk.  Now a 9 month old on the momma will go 500 lbs, and that's on a 1000 lb cow so they know how to grow 'em if you know what I mean.  

Jerseys get fat just looking at grass.  The Angus breeding folks have done a great job of advertising their way to the top, but that has come with a price, massive cows.  Have a neighbor that was showing me his scale slips one day and he had cows that were 1,700 lbs.  Of course he got something like $0.50 per lb for those so what is the point?  I want my beef mommas to look like a 55 gallon drum on toothpicks.  You can't eat bone, so tall, long legs don't do it for me.  Also, I want them to be short in the back, not these long, stretched out looking things - those have a lot more frame to keep maintained so they need more feed just to stay alive.  Basically low lines is what I am after, without paying for the name.  The good news is the frame size I prefer is the size the feed lots least prefer so when buying them the price is in my favor.  Holsteins are another one that have way too much frame and mature late in the game.  The Fresians that Ian mentions are a much better way to get more milk into a cross.  Holsteins just don't do as well on grass as the others.  Now if it's a 1/3 mix or less than that seems to be OK, but get to 50/50 and the bone / frame growth slows things way down.  

For what you are doing a heifer would be the one to raise.  Steers are the slowest class to finish on grass, bulls are a pain in the you know what.  Heifers fill the niche nicely and will still be focused on growing flesh at the ages we are talking about and not reaching sexual maturity and putting energy into that .  

So if I had the luxury of choice I would look for a small framed Angus, likely a first calf heifer, that was bred to a Jersey bull and hope for a heifer calf or even a Freemartin.  One the same line I would take  the same heifer calf from a Jersey momma bred to an Angus bull.  I would stay away from the $200 Craigslist weaned Holstein steers that guys try to sell, that's the pile of bones your buddies are warning you about.       
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #82 on: December 19, 2020, 09:09:10 PM »
Thanks for taking the time to share all that.  Im glad its typed out cuz id never remember it all otherwise!

No thoughts on herefords?


What about fermenting feeds, silage haylage etc?


Gonna store this link here ive been reading articles from. 

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Offline Southside

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #83 on: December 19, 2020, 09:52:32 PM »
I like Herefords, had some years back and would get more tomorrow without hesitation.  Honestly I am not a big fan of black hide cows in the south due to heat stress, confession is that I have too much black in my own herd but am breeding it out.  Hojo's (Holstein / Jersey cross) almost always end up with black on them, so I am mixing in Ayrshire to get some white hide in there.  Three way crosses are great - but get complicated when trying to keep the desirable traits in line.    

I guess I said Angus because you mentioned they were all over the place there, so I should modify my suggestion to a small framed beef x Jersey cross.  Hereford, South Poll, Simmental, even a Dexter or Shorthorn will get you what you are looking for.  Just stay away from the monster frames, the abattoirs love them because it makes them more money per knife cut, but at the expense of your production.  

Same concept of me putting 20" logs on the 70 - easier and faster for me to make money vs a 12" log, but the landowner had to tie up that land for twice as long - if not longer- to grow that 20" log for me, yet I don't pay more per BF for it....  Just saying.    

As far as fermented feed - be it sileage or baleage - best stored forage you can have.  Not hard to produce, but you have to get it right.  I have not put up corn sileage since the '80s, it was all in a pit then, never filled a stave or Harvestor personally, so I can't give you anything of value there.  But we do put up baleage.  I like it, like it a lot.  Aim for 55% moisture content and its like the cows are on spring grass - which it basically is.  If you can get quality baleage I would take that over dry hay any day.  You still need some dry hay to keep the cows DM intake in line but the good thing also is that the issues surrounding K31 are a lot less likely to be present in baleage since you can't make quality baleage by the time the seed heads are on the Fescue.   

Yea - I have a pile of big marshmallows sitting around the farm.  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #84 on: December 20, 2020, 01:27:32 PM »
Black cows definitely dominate this landscape.  


You lost me on "stave" and i dont know what DM stands for. 


I got to thinking this morning.  My front lawn has to get seeded soon, its raw dirt that im letting settle from a large stump removal.  I also mow quite a bit of road frontage on both sides of the street.  This all grows like wildfire from full sun and constant watering from drainage ditching.  I mow it with a bagger into a wheelbarrow and make it into garden compost with sawdust.  Takes 3 barrows sawdust for 1 of grass and i cant saw enough when the grass is growing.  



Why dont i just seed a hay variety and put this in 6 or 10 mil contractor bags, aired out, tied good and inside a shed to block light?  Or in 55g drums with a plywood circle lid and blocks until its really full and compressed?  I have vacuum pumps, could easily draw a vacuum to stop the composting process.  I understand the jist of silage but have no direct experience. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #85 on: December 20, 2020, 04:13:18 PM »
Stave silos are the old stone ones with the metal top.  DM = Dry Matter, or Dry Matter Intake, it's the measure of food intake a cow needs and can do.  Dry grass has a higher DM content as a % than April pasture which at times is mostly water and can cause cows to loose weight - think lettuce.  

Sileage is about getting the oxygen out and having tight, compressed, packaging.  Baleage balers make a very dense bale to keep from trapping oxygen and to get it right you need to wrap the bale within 2 hours at most of dropping it out of the baler.  So in theory if your bag was full, compressed, and had no oxygen it should be able to make baleage, in theory.  Might do just as well to feed the cow the fresh clippings and give the pasture a bit of relief so it can grow more.  
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #86 on: December 21, 2020, 10:24:13 AM »
Ive heard that fresh clippings, if left to sit at all and ferment, for lack of knowledge is poisonous to horses. Isnt it bad for cattle as well?
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #87 on: December 21, 2020, 11:22:34 AM »
Horses cant handle moldy hay.  


Great pet.  Feed it the best stuff you can find and never get to eat the darn thing. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #88 on: December 21, 2020, 02:07:12 PM »
Moldy feed is bad for any animal.  I can't stand the "cow hay" idea.  Ensiled feed is basically pickled, the pH is down in the 4 ish range and it will keep for a very long time when done right.  Also - you can feed horses baleage, I have a team of draft mares that live with the cows and eat the same stuff they do.  

Mules and alpacas got nothing on a dinner plate sized foot coming at you with 1800 lbs worth of "don't you be messin' my little buddies" behind it.   
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #89 on: December 27, 2020, 12:52:52 PM »
I did the shopping the other day and actually looked at steak prices.  $22 for two walmart ribeyes.   For that kinda money i expect it on a plate with a potato.  I guess ill hafta grow my own afterall. 


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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #90 on: December 30, 2020, 04:29:09 PM »
I have never visited this topic , the 1/2 beef caught my eye.  We raise grass fed Black Angus beef at our farm in Vermont. I personally like Hereford/ Shorthorn cross the most but Angus marketing rules. It is USDA inspected under our label "Rhodemont Farm" and sold here in Rhode Island.  No advertising, just word of mouth, mostly return customers.  We could sell a lot more but 20 head /year is all we can handle with our pasture and hay fields. 

We purchase spring bull calves meeting our required protocol from nearby farms as soon as they are weaned and can be put out on pasture.  They graze that first season then winter over on our hay and silage.  They go back out to rotationally graze the following season and are ready to process in fall when the pastures are depleted.  10 are sent out to process, 2 at a time as our slaughter house is small scale.  They are reserved with a down payment before we send them out.  These fall steer weigh in pretty consistently around 1200 lbs on the hoof with a 750 lb hang weight.  The other 10 winter over again to be sold in the late spring after a month or so back on pasture.  They weigh and hang a little more but not much as they typically loose a little weight over the winter. We never go past 24 months of age since the USDA inspector will require the spine to be stripped if the 26 month molars have come in...some crap about mad cow disease.  That means you loose all the bone for porterhouse and T bone steaks.

We get charged a kill fee and a butchering fee.  The carcass is aged for two weeks before being butchered to our standard cut sheet.  We offer customers a cut sheet to modify if they want.  Different size families often want different weight roasts, hamburger packs, and thickness steaks.  The meat is sealed and quick frozen. The yield is very dependent of the skill of the butcher.  We sell 1/2 and 1/4 with a 1/4 typically coming in around 110 lbs with about 40% being ground beef.  Have tried various slaughter houses and have had mixed yield results.  The frozen meat comes down to RI by Freezer truck where our customers pick it up from us.  When selling a 1/4 we take a 1/2 and evenly divided it so both 1/4 have equal quality cuts not a front 1/4 and a hind 1/4. Organ meat is not included and sold separately if you request it and yes people still want liver and tongue.  People also buy suet for the birds.

We are currently selling at $9.50/lb.  First time inquiries typical response " I only pay $4.50/lb at the grocery store"  Standard response "yeah that is for feedlot hamburger and by the way you are getting roasts and steaks for well under what the grocery store charges so it averages out pretty close."  Most who have bought call back like clock work every six months for a 1/4 or 1/2.

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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #91 on: December 31, 2020, 12:26:15 AM »
I personally like Hereford/ Shorthorn cross


What is you like about this cross? The next one of ours going to slaughter is Hereford/Shorthorn. 
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Re: Half a beef
« Reply #92 on: December 31, 2020, 12:33:08 PM »
First of all they were much easier going to handle.  The Angus can be pushy and tough to load if they do not want to.  The first couple years we tried a couple different breeds and crosses.  I found the H/SH to be the easiest to cook and best tasting.  They had some marbling without finishing with any grain.  The guy we got the claves from was retiring so that was the end of that.  Angus can match them if we use a bit of feed for a month or so but strictly grass fed is what sells and people know Angus.  We did not keep yield data back then as we do now, they were pretty stocky so probably had good yield although the Angus lines we use have gotta be tough to beat.
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