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Country Discussion Topics
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How much to raise a beef for butcher?
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Annie in KY    Posted 07-10-2003 at 14:49:09       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Have never raised cattle for butcher. Wanting to know how much it cost to buy calf and raise till butcher age? How many months until they are ready to butcher? How much does it cost to have someone process it for freezer? All inputs are welcome. Wondering if it's worth the cost.


screaminghollow    Posted 07-10-2003 at 20:47:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Around here we can get Jersey bull calves for around $25.00. figure about $25.00 on milk replacer and maybe another $50.00 for salt, wormer and grain. We pasture graze them until 15 to 18 months old. They get up to around 700 pounds. We get the baby calves in late spring or summer. They are not as big during the first winter and require less hay, by the time the second winter comes around, they go to the butcher shop. Jersey cattle will fatten better on grass than some beef breeds, also, if you grain them heavy the 2nd through 5th months, the meat will be nicely marbled. We've butchered ourselves, but ended up with all hamburger and stew meat. Even so, we figured the meat cost less than 40 cents a pound. When we have the butcher shop do it, we pay $25 kill fee, and 38 cents a pound (dressed weight) for cutting wrapping and freezing. Patties cost an extra 10 cents a pound. One shop makes great chip steaks and doesn't charge extra for it. I figure with the grass here in central PA, I can raise two jersey's per acre.
contrary to some of the other writers, we don't castrate. Neighboring farmers tell us the calves gain weight faster through their first year and a half and that's all the longer we have them anyway.


Promise Land Ranch    Posted 07-10-2003 at 20:04:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi I raise Custom fed beef for a living and it is a much better way to get your beef. It has no Hormones, steroids, or antibiotics. You know it hasn't lived in a stressful situation so the meat won't be tough or full of adrenalin. My advice to you is to buy a 500-600 pound feeder beef steer from your local sale yard or a local farmer you know. If you have lots of pasture you won't need any hay or grain. If your horses arn't afraid of cows or they aren't train as cutting or ranching horses you can pen them together to keep each other company. In my area a steer such as the one decribed above will cost you about $550-600 in the early spring and he will butcher out to yeild about 450-550 pounds of beef. If you don't put a ton of money into him that means you get your beef for about $1.10 to 1.20 a pound. HAMBUGER IS $1.89 A POUND IN THE STORES. So it is a lot cheaper you will have enough beef to last you until you butcher agian the next year. If you can't eat a whole steer in a year you could sell the other half to a friend for a little more than cost and recover enough money to get next years steer.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

Shelby Hendershot
Promise Land Ranch
Okanogan, Wa


Corey    Posted 07-10-2003 at 19:19:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you want to save money, go to a livestock sale and ask around and find the old man that order buys for people, he is always there at every sale in the country, just different name and face at each one. These fellows will usualy help you out if you just tell them what your looking for. I would recomend a barren heifer not over two and a half years old that is grass fat and just come in off the pasture, she'll be a lot cheaper than the other cows cause she's useless for breeding. The other alternative is that if you live in beef cattle country (not dairy) buy a 800 to 100 pound holstein steer or his equivalent, they do have a little less yield ratio per pound as to meat but they are lots cheaper and good eating. Buy one in good shape off of grass pasture and take it to the butcher, no need to even take it home. This is the only truly cost effective way I know.
Grace and Peace,
Corey


Annie in KY    Posted 07-10-2003 at 18:36:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Wow, thanks for the insight. Doesn't sound like it's going to be a big money saver. I have only about 5 acres of pasture divided into 3 sections.(the rest of my land is another 5 acres of woods) I have 2 horses on it and a barn. Don't know if I have enough pasture. I will definately put this idea on hold for a couple of years. My point was to save $$ but, don't think I would in the long run.


Blue Duck    Posted 07-10-2003 at 17:57:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
If you have the pasture to do it with...then grass finnished beef is the most healtful, ie. no chemicals, pesticides, growth hormones (both artifitial and natural), and no antibiotics. all of the above can be passed on to you through the meat and may cause health problems further down the road. If you feed hay, then you should estimate 1 ton per adult animal for the winter. Dont forget to include salt and natural mineral tub licks. Also, it will take about 2 years to get to good butchering weight. 1200 pounds on the average. Here in North Central Missouri, it costs me a $15.00 on the farm kill and hauling fee, PLUS .35 per pound hanging weight. If you get a young calf still on the bottle, you will also need to buy a good milk replacer...not to mention that you and the calf will become very close... and that makes butchering day pretty hard, so name HIM something like Chuck, or Rib Eye, etc.
BTW if you DO get a young bull, then you will want to castrate him at a young age, or your meat will be gamy and tough.

GOOD LUCK!


Hal/WA    Posted 07-10-2003 at 17:51:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
It depends on where you live, the weather, how much pasture you have, the cost and availability of feed and many other things. Can you save money? Maybe, maybe not. Is the quality better? Again, maybe, maybe not.

It is my opinion that beef raised on pasture is safer than beef raised in a feedlot. Beef on pasture seldom need any antibiotics to stay healthy, but many in feedlots are routinely fed antibiotics and who knows what else to keep them alive. I am sure some feedlots are much better than others, but many I have seen and smelled had wretched conditions for the animals. If you raise your own beef, you KNOW what it has eaten and what its history has been. Your steer(s) will keep down the grass on your property, although they often will not do much with weeds or brush. When it comes time to butcher, you have to either do the job yourself or make arrangements for others to do the butchering, cooling and cutting and wrapping. But again, you have at least some control and oversight in the process.

There are downsides. Sometimes cattle die unexpectedly and that produces a loss of all your investment. We once lost 6 head of adult cattle when lightning hit a tree they were laying under. At least we didn't have to pay to have the carcasses removed by the rendering company--can you imagine the hole it would have taken to bury that many cows? Cattle require good fences and, in my experience, even with good fences, they still get out sometimes. If someone hits your loose cow on the road with their car, you will probably be liable, and again the cow is dead. Cattle also require a certain amount of care and attention, so taking off for several days probably means hiring someone to baby sit your animals. If you don't have pasture, you need to buy hay and feed, which might make the cost of your beef way up there.

If you have sufficient fenced pasture and want to try raising your own beef, I would suggest starting with a couple of feeder steers that weigh about 350 to 500 pounds in the early Spring and to plan on butchering in the Fall. Cattle are herd animals and are not happy at all if they are alone. Heifers come into heat and instinct drives them to try to get bred. So sticking with a couple of feeder steers will help considerably in keeping the animals in your fences, at least as long as there is pleanty to eat. I would not start with baby calves, as they require lots of care and sometimes have health problems. And baby calves born in the Spring are just not really big enough to butcher in the Fall, so you have to deal with feeding them through the winter. That means obtaining hay and if you are in an area that freezes, keeping water thawed. It also means dealing with shelter for them during the winter and dealing with the accumulation of manure in and around the shelter.

Another way to get good, safe beef is to find a farmer that raises cattle on pasture and who would be willing to sell one to you (or you and a friend). The farmer we have been dealing with handles the animal being slaughtered on his property by a farm buthering company in this area. We have bought several head from that farmer, usually half a beef at a time, and have always been very satisfied.

Another thing to consider is how well your family eats different cuts of beef. If you only like the good steaks, hamburger and roasts, pretty soon your freezer gets pretty full of kind of old packages of round steak, short ribs and soup bones. Of course you can have the butchers grind all the lesser cuts into burger and can leave the bones with the butchers, but your overall cost per pound goes up. Beef in the freezer does not get better with age. It sure can make your dog happy though.....

Good luck! It is kind of fun to raise beef, as long as things go well. But it is also a bunch of work. And you HAVE TO HAVE GOOD FENCES!


Dave Smith    Posted 07-10-2003 at 15:05:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Annie, If you have a dairy farm or raise other critters and have the pasture, feed etc on hand you can save money. If not, it is a money loosing propisition.
Even to buy a 1/2 or 1/4 of beef at a bucher shop is not a money saver. My brother was a butcher before retireing and I have 2 grandsons and a friend that are butchers, meat cutters. They all say the same thing. You are better off to buy you're meats on sale and in quantity and freeze it. All shops I know of will custom cut you're meats for you in sizes you want. The important thing is to buy from a shop that is known for quality meats. Read not Walmart etc.
Dave


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