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Ordering a half beef bundle has become an option that many families are considering during this time of shortages and uncertainty. The market is being flooded with farmers and ranchers who have typically sold their beef in the sales ring or at the feed yard; however, now they are opting to sell direct to the consumer. With so many options, how can you know you’re making the better choice - knowing what you are paying for and what you are receiving for your dollars?

One of the most important aspects of purchasing in quantity is understanding how the sale is going to be calculated. Sounds basic but is it? Let’s begin with the three ways beef are sold.

1. Live weight – live animal weight when it goes to the processor.

2. Hanging weight – animal weight after the initial slaughter/processing.

3. Processed weight – weight of the meat going into your freezer.

Loss and shrinkage play a huge role in determining how much beef in going to end up in your freezer. On average, there is 63% loss between live weight and hanging weight. There is an additional 65% loss between hanging weight and processed weight. Here’s an illustration:

• Live weight of calf = 1,400 lbs or 700 lbs half

• Hanging weight (700 lbs x 63%) = 441 lbs

• Processed weight (441 lbs x 65%) = 286 lbs in the freezer

Hanging weight sales are widely used because most processors do not weigh finished product; hanging weight sales are a disadvantage of the consumer who wishes to know the exact cost. John’s Farm sells half beef bundles by processed weight and here is a recent sale with hanging weight comparison:

Price per pound of hanging weight: $5.75 lb x 441 lbs = $2,535
Hanging weight 441 lbs x 65% shrink/loss = 286 lbx x $8.75 lb = $2,502

Are you surprised? Wait, there’s more. Who is responsible for paying the processor? As you may know John’s Farm pays all processing costs; the processing cost in the example is $355.
Next is quality of product, quality of packaging and best practices. Let’s save that for another day! If you have questions feel free to reach out by email, text, or phone and we will answer your questions as quickly as we can!

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