1. Beef are moved from pasture to our own feed lot.
2. Beef are grain finished for 90-120 days. (We prefer 120.)
3. Live beef are taken to the processing plant.
4. Beef is dry aged for approximately two weeks.
5. Beef is processed by the plant.
6. You pick your beef up at the plant.
7. Enjoy delicious, farm to table beef for dinner.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you purchase a beef on the hoof, you are investing in a live animal. We then sell it to you by what is called the hanging weight (the total weight of the beef once it arrives at the processor before the dry aging and cut out process). Hanging weight is the weight of the carcass without the head, hide, hooves, fluids, and organs. Some things to know are:
Hanging weights will vary.
Each animal is unique in its capacity to finish. Some will fill out more than others.
Your beef will be *dry aged for fourteen days.
Butchered according to your specifications.
Your meat will be packaged and frozen for easy transport.
We will manage the processing for you but you are responsible for covering the cost of the processing and will pay the plant directly.
We generally set our slaughter dates for the first or second week of the month for each lot sold. So, for example, the August Lot will be taken to the processing plant the first or second week of August and be ready for pick up two weeks after it is taken in.
Live Weight (on the hoof) vs. Hanging Weight (on the rail)
Most people want to know how we determine the cost of the beef. Ours is based on hanging weight. So what does that mean?
Let's assume an average sized two year old steer weights about 1,000 pounds; that weight is referred to as the "live weight". To keep things simple, we are going to use that 1,000 pounds for our math. Once the animal is slaughtered, that number will drastically change. The skin, head, non-edible organs, hooves, and a lot of liquid is removed and the carcass is split down the middle and weighed giving the butcher the "hanging" or "carcass" weight. This weight is approximately 60% of live weight. The two "sides" are then hung in a cooler for 10-14 days to age. This improves the tenderness and enhances the flavor but also reduces the weight due to evaporation.
So, in general, a live beef weighing 1,000 pounds would weigh around 600 pounds on the rail or hanging weight. Packaged weight then, will be about 50%-60% of the hanging weight once all the fat, bones, and waste is removed.
We currently charge $3.95/pound on the rail, or hanging weight for a whole, half, or quarter beef; an eighth is available for special order only. Contact us for prices and availability. (Prices for live beef are subject to change based on current market, and feed prices.)
Deposits are required as follows and are solely for the actual beef. Whole Beef - $1,000. Half Beef - $500. Quarter Beef - $250. The processing fees are a separate expense and are paid to the processor directly.
So, using the information above as an example, you can do the math and get an estimate of what a finished beef might cost. Remember, this is not a guaranteed cost as each beef will weigh differently. In addition, the processing cost is a current average price which could fluxuate.
WHOLE BEEF (Weighing 1,000 pounds on the hoof.) $1,000 deposit
Average hanging weight is about 600 pounds
$3.95 x 600 = $2,270.00 (Approximate amount paid to Nicolai Farms. Includes deposit.)
Processing cost (Average is .90/pound plus disposal fee which is around $70.)
600 x .90 = $540.00 + $70 = $610.00 (Approximate amount paid to processing plant.)
Total = $2980.00
$2980.00/ 330 = $9.03 per pound across the board when purchasing a whole beef.
1/2 BEEF (Weighing 1,000 pounds on the hoof.) $500 deposit
Average hanging weight is 300 pounds
$3.95 x 300 = $1185 (Approximate amount paid to Nicolai Farms. Includes deposit.)
Processing cost (Average is .90/pound plus disposal fee which is around $35)
300 x .90 = $270 + $35 = $305 (Approximate amount paid to processing plant.)
Total = $1490
$1490/ 165 = $9.03 per pound across the board when purchasing 1/2 a beef.
1/4 BEEF (Weighing 1,000 pounds on the hoof.) $250 deposit
Average hanging weight is 150 pounds
$3.95 x 150 = $592.5 (Approximate amount paid to Nicolai Farms. Includes deposit.)
Processing cost (Average is .90/pound plus disposal fee which is around $17.50)
150 x .90 = $135 + $17.50 = $152.50 (Approximate amount paid to processing plant.)
Total = $745
$745/85 = $8.76 per pound across the board when purchasing 1/4 a beef.
**Please note: If you are having a 1/4 or less beef processed, you will only have the choice of how many pieces of each cut you want per package. It is too difficult to customize 1/2 of 1/2 or less beef by the cut and do it accurately. Thank you for your understanding.**
Keep in mind, at these prices you are receiving premium cuts of meat (t-bones, ribeyes, sirloin, round steak, rump roasts) and when you average it out, as you can see, the per-pound cost is around the price of top quality ground beef that you may purchase at your local grocer. That means I am eating Oklahoma’s favorite steak, the Ribeye, for half the price or less than what I would pay in the grocery store.
Hanging Weight vs Packaged Weight
After aging, each side of beef is fabricated into individual cuts. The weight after this process is referred to as the "boxed" or "take home" weight. It is important to know that after butchering, the boxed weight will be significantly less than the hanging weight. The percentage of the hanging weight that remains is called the "carcass cutting yield" or "yield" for short and is generally around 50%-60% of hanging weight. This percentage varies based on a number of factors including:
Are your cuts bone-in or boneless? This will dramatically affect the overall yield in pounds but does NOT affect the actual amount of meat you receive. The more boneless cuts you have, the lower the yield in pounds.
How much fat is left on the meat? Some animals have an extreme amount of outside fat that has to be removed. The yield will vary based on how much surface fat the processor leaves on the cuts. We prefer a grocery store cut, meaning everything has been closely trimmed so we can take it straight from the package to the pan.
How lean is your ground beef? If you like lean ground beef, your yield will be less than if the grind is made of a high fat content. We like 85/15, which gives us a great flavor, enough fat to not stick to the pan, but does not allow the meat to swim in grease.
Am I taking any organ meat? The hanging weight is based on the entire carcass weight, which includes edible organs. If you don't want the heart, liver, tongue, or tail, that will affect the take-home weight by as much as 30-40 pounds.
To make it a little easier, we converted pounds into pieces or cuts. Below is an estimate of how much meat you might expect when placing an order for a whole beef. If you purchase a half beef, divide these estimates by two. If you purchased a quarter beef, divide these estimates by four. Keep in mind that these numbers vary based on the total hanging weight of the beef that you have purchased and how you have your meat processed.
for a 1k lb. live weight beef
Whole Beef Cut As Indicated
Approximate Amount of Meat
Round Steak/Chicken Frys
Top Sirloin Steak 1"
Ribeye Steak 1"
T-bone Steak 1"
Chuck Roast 2"
Arm Roast 2"
Sirloin Tip Roast 2"
Pikes Peak Roast
60 4-6oz servings
+- 120 pounds
Upon placing your order, we will send you a form so that you may specify how you would like your beef processed. By that, we mean how thick you want your steaks cut. How many steaks to a package? Do you want your hamburger in 1# or 2# packages? Etc... We have included an explanation of how to fill out the form on that same link. Just scroll down to access it. Once you have filled out the form and returned it to us, we will send the information to the processor along with your beef but it is your responsibility to pick your meat up from the processor and pay their fees. You should expect to have your beef ready 2-2.5 weeks after we deliver it to the processor. **Please note: If you are having a 1/4 or less beef processed, you will only have the choice of how many pieces of each cut you want per package, whether you want 1 OR 2 pound packages of ground beef, and if you want any of your ground beef put into patties. It is too difficult to customize 1/2 of 1/2 or less beef per cut and do it accurately. Thank you for your understanding.**
It is imperative that you put your meat in the freezer immediately in order to preserve the delicious flavor. Be sure to take freezer bags with you when you pick it up. A whole beef requires about 14 cubic feet of freezer space. A half beef requires about 7 cubic feet of freezer space. A quarter beef requires approximately 3.5 feet of freezer space.
The processor uses vacuum sealed packages. Paper wrap is available at an additional cost.
Contact us and we will let you know when we plan to butcher next or
look on our order page to see what is available..
As always, when purchasing direct from your Oklahoma producer there is no sales tax because you are technically purchasing a live animal. (Prices for live beef are subject to change based on current market and feed cost.)