How much does a half cow cost?
Buying a half cow can provide an excellent way to save money on your grocery bill while also ensuring you know where your food comes from and what’s in it. But before you take the plunge, you must understand precisely how much a half cow cost and what is involved with ordering and purchasing a whole or half cow.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss all the details of buying a half cow – from pricing per pound to discounts for larger orders. You’ll learn how conventional cattle-rearing practices affect price ranges and why choosing grass-fed beef may be worth paying more for quality and environmental reasons. Ready to get started? Let’s dive into everything you need about buying a half cow!
How Much Meat Is Half a Cow?
When it comes to buying half a cow, the estimation of meat quantity can vary. You can expect around 200 – 300 pounds of delectable, premium beef to fill up your freezer. However, you will know the precise cuts of beef once you tell the butcher how to slice and dice it.
It’s not just the breed of the cow that determines how much meat you’ll get, but also their unique shape, musculature, and fat content. To ensure you get your money’s worth, it’s vital to remember that the final total amount of meat and cost will vary depending on the cow purchased.
But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with tips to help determine just how much meat half a cow will give you.
-What Cuts of Beef Will You Get In Half a Cow?
To achieve the desired cuts of beef, the butcher’s artistry is fundamental and can significantly impact the outcome.
Bone-in ribeye steaks and full slabs of ribs aren’t compatible, so you must take care in how you order.
Below is a general breakdown of what to expect when you receive your meat.
- Roasts such as the shoulder and eye of round roasts should weigh between 40-60 pounds.
- Ground beef and ground chuck should total around 60-80 pounds.
- A combination of strip steaks, ribeye steaks, and filets, amounting to approximately 100 pounds, makes for a great steak selection.
- Include soup bones, stew meat, and beef fat in your list.
For those accustomed to purchasing beef a pound at a time, acquiring several hundred pounds of meat can be daunting!
However, don’t worry; most butcher operations provide a cut sheet – a handy form that walks you through selecting which cuts you’re interested in.
This way, you can better understand all the options, from the various types of steaks in a cow to other meat products.
With your choices before you, deciding how to have your cow butchered becomes much easier and far less intimidating!
-Editor’s Note Regarding Butcher Cut Sheets
At our farm, we breed and raise cattle specifically for beef production. We work with a mobile butcher who sets up a cold room on-site and skillfully handles the butchering process. Previously, we had a different butcher, but we now have a new one, and we charge $65 and $0.75 per pound for cow processing.
The flat rate for a whole sheep is $65, which provides excellent value for our quality meat. While the standard price for our meat is affordable, we incur costs such as worming, fly control, and additional feed, which are reflected in our pricing.
It takes us around two to two-and-a-half years to raise our cattle before they are ready for butchering, but trust us; it’s worth the wait. The payoff is the incredible amount of meat you receive. The first time we processed a whole cow, we were overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of meat we received. From buckets of mince to perfectly marbled steaks and roasts, we had an abundance of meat we needed to package ourselves.
Raising your farmyard animals is not only cost-effective but also highly rewarding. For instance, our almost-ready-to-butch wether sheep only cost $100, and the steer was $665, allowing us to save a significant amount of money. Plus, we were able to harvest a whopping 26 kilograms (57 pounds) of meat from the wether sheep alone – talk about a delicious return on investment!
-Deciding What Specific Cuts to Get
To obtain the best beef cuts, seek advice from your farmer and butcher, who can provide insight based on your needs. For instance, consider how many people you usually cook for and your preferred method of beef preparation.
As a family of two, we opted for steaks rather than a four-pound pot roast to get the right amount of food. We still prepare them as a roast in our instant pot, making them perfect for a two-person meal. Conversely, choosing larger cuts might prove ideal if you have a larger group.
Remember, finding the perfect cut allows you to relish the flavors of quality beef, so don’t hesitate to seek expert guidance.
-Is Buying Half a Cow Worth It? How Much Does It Cost?
If you’re worried that 250 pounds of beef could break the bank, think again. Purchasing a half-beef cow may sound daunting, but the cost per pound will save you money in the long run. And if you opt for grass-fed, pasture-raised beef from healthy and sustainable cows, you’ll save even more.
However, buying high-quality cow beef at the grocery store can be exorbitant. This is where purchasing a half-beef cow can make a significant difference—the rate for top-quality meat can be reduced significantly.
Farms typically price their half-beef by hanging carcass weight, which is the weight before processing and butchering. For example, a half beef could weigh around 400 pounds depending on the size, but after trimming, you could end up with 250 pounds of mouthwatering meat ready to cook.
Determining the cost of a half beef can seem daunting – after all, we’re used to buying individual cuts of meat, not a whole cow. The price of your half beef is determined by the farm’s rate per pound of hanging weight, which considers the market price and the farm’s quality. Depending on the farm, prices can range from $1,500 to $2,500.
Assuming your cow produces 250 pounds of meat, that works out to between $6 to $10 per pound – a solid deal when you consider that every cut of beef comes at the same rate. So even though $7 per pound may seem like the price of ground beef at the grocery store, it’s a steal considering the premium steaks from a cow.
Purchasing a grass-fed cow can result in remarkable savings, especially compared to grocery store prices – where a pound of ground beef can cost more than $10.
Farmers may offer a per-pound rate for cow beef post-processing. This option guarantees that you pay only for the exact amount of meat you freeze. While truly enticing, most farms base their prices on the hanging weight.
Is buying a cow worth it?
Purchasing a cow has always been challenging with Clover Meadows Beef. Not only will you save money on higher-quality beef, but you will also be supporting the farm-to-table approach of getting your food directly from the producer.
Clover Meadows Beef offers grass-fed beef at a competitive price of approximately $5.45 per pound for all cuts. In comparison, major grocery stores like Walmart and Whole Foods can go up to $9.86 per pound.
Remember that pricing varies based on where you live and the beef processor. It’s worth it if you’re an avid beef eater who loves buying quality meat from local farmers. And if you are okay with the time it takes for post-butchering packaging, getting a half cow is a great option.
Investing in cow purchases guarantees top-notch meat, unparalleled in taste and texture. Plus, it’s cost-effective to ensure you always have quality beef handy.
Buying a sixteenth cow
Please see our 22.1 cu ft refrigerator stocked with a sixteenth of a cow from our farm – approximately 25 lbs of juicy beef, perfect for your next meal.
The package includes a mouthwatering selection of cuts – 13 lbs of hamburger, 2 Ribeye steaks, 2 Strip steaks, 2 Filet steaks, 2 Sirloin steaks, 1 Stew Meat, 1 Short Rib, 1 package Soup Bones, 1 package Beef Liver and 1 Roast.
Order now and indulge in the flavorful beef for a truly satisfying dining experience.
Buying a quarter cow
Our 18.1 cu ft refrigerator with a top freezer may be what you want to store a quarter of beef. This amounts to about 110 pounds of beef, which can fit inside the freezer without needing a shelf or ice bucket.
You might be wondering what you’ll get from a quarter. Each cow is distinct, so the amount and variety of meat differ slightly. But, typically, a quarter comprises 50 pounds of ground beef and 60 lbs of steaks, brisket, roasts, stew meat, ribs, liver, soup bones, and more. The remaining 60 kg usually includes around 6-7 strip steaks, 6-7 ribeye steaks, 5-6 succulent filets, 5-6 sirloin steaks, 2 short ribs, 4-5 roasts, 1-2 packages of the liver, stew meat, and brisket, and several soup bone packages.
Enclosed is an image of our 22.1 cu ft refrigerator adorned with scrumptious cuts from a quarter cow.
These cuts include 50 pounds of juicy ground beef, complemented by a diverse selection of velvety steaks, mouthwatering roasts, savory ribs, and succulent brisket – ready to tantalize your taste buds.
Buying a half cow
Purchasing half a cow – sounds like a lot, right? Let’s break it down—220 pounds of juicy beef in cuts like steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, and tenderloin.
And remember, you’ll also receive a dozen eggs and half a gallon of milk, all included for additional perspective.
Buying half a cow is a prime choice to maintain the best quality and flavor in your meat.
Cuts of beef included
When purchasing a cow, you receive a plethora of juicy cuts, from tender steaks like filet, sirloin, ribeye, strip, skirt, and flank to hearty roasts like chuck and sirloin, flavorful brisket, ground beef for juicy burgers, succulent ribs, and even stew meat and kabob meat. Plus, those looking for unique options can dive into organ meat. And this scratches the surface of the possibilities!
Shelf life of frozen beef
If the meat is vacuum-sealed and frozen, it can last up to a year. However, If packaged in paper or shrink-wrap, the time will have to be shorter.
How to Choose the Best Half Cow to Buy?
When purchasing a half beef, the first step is to find farms or butchers in your area that sell whole or half cows. You can search the internet, ask at local shops, or listen to word-of-mouth recommendations. For instance, when we bought our half beef from a small homestead in our neighborhood, that came highly recommended.
Once you have found a potential farm, knowing what the cows are fed is essential. Grain-fed cows tend to be larger and fattier, though cows are naturally designed to graze on grass. Some farms use both feeding strategies; they feed cows hay, then finish them off with grain to get the best of both worlds.
But remember that grass-fed cows are generally healthier and happier, albeit pricier. The flavor of grass-fed beef may taste slightly gamier than grain-fed, and some recommend trying it first before committing.
Remember, searching for a reputable farm is a crucial investment when purchasing meat. Checking out different options, asking about the feeding strategies, and testing out the taste before committing will ultimately pay off in the quality and taste of your beef.
-Does the Cow Breed Matter?
There are many breeds of cows, each with distinctive characteristics worth exploring! While the availability of species depends on local farms, knowing the variety of cow breeds can be helpful.
For instance, Aberdeen Angus cows are raised for their fast growth rate, which can lower feed costs and survive harsh weather conditions. Hereford Cattle, on the other hand, are perfect for developing valuable cuts of meat due to their muscle mass in specific areas.
Beefmaster, another fan favorite, is efficient at gaining weight and can be reared for large and small farming operations. While buying a half-beef, it’s essential to ensure that the cows are treated ethically, humanely, and cleanly. However, cost is also a significant factor to consider.
Here’s a helpful tip: cows with lower feed requirements are cheaper, and the most commonly raised breeds are those that eat less. Although there are innumerable breeds of cows, you can always ask each farmer what makes their cows the best!
How Will the Beef Get Packaged?
Once a cow has been slaughtered and weighed, it undergoes processing by a butcher. Some farms have an in-house butcher, while others collaborate with local shops. Although butchering techniques differ, cuts get appropriately packaged to ensure extended preservation.
Butchers precisely execute cutting procedures, vacuum-sealing, or neatly wrapping beef cuts for storage. They understand that not all meat will be consumed right away. You can rest assured that your beef will remain fresh in the freezer for an extended duration.
If you are curious about how beef gets packaged or want specific storage requirements, don’t hesitate to ask the farmer or butcher. They will be delighted to provide options that match your needs.
-How Big of a Freezer Do You Need?
To ensure proper storage of half beef, we recommend a freezer volume of at least eight cubic feet. Opt for 12 cubic feet for perfect storage to accommodate additional frozen goods. If you’re looking to find a reliable local farmer for your half beef, they will likely have helpful recommendations for farms in your area that offer chicken, pork, and other necessities.
-Storing & Eating Your Half Beef
One exciting advantage of getting half of a cow is the variety of cuts you’ll receive from all parts of the animal. With your freezer stocked, you can select cuts of meat as you please, giving you many culinary options and ample opportunities to experiment in the kitchen.
So, why not try something new? Using different cuts of beef can open up a world of possibilities in the culinary realm. For instance, our favorites are ox-tail and barley beef soup, made with leftover bones. Remember to keep the tallow (beef fat) for frying veggies and making homemade French fries. With beef as versatile as this, the sky’s the limit!
Conclusion: How much does a half cow cost?
Calculating how much meat is a half cow can seem daunting. This is especially true if you are a new homesteader with limited freezer space! Luckily, our comprehensive half-cow-buying guide is here to help.
We understand you may still have questions about buying half-cows, calculating beef meat, or even long-term cow meat storage. But don’t worry; we’re here to provide all the answers you need.
At our ranch, we have a passion for cattle ranching and everything that goes along with it. That’s why we want to help you make informed decisions about buying and storing your cow meat.
Pitmaster Lives in Eugene, USA. Bio: I’m Billy McCallum, and I love barbecue. I’m the president and founder of Billy Mac’s Bar & Grill, with over 20 years of experience in the field. I’m an exceptional pitmaster and grill expert who uses charcoal, wood, and fire to craft extraordinary culinary masterpieces. My mission is to educate others how to master their grills and cook a diverse range of foods on them. I have extensive expertise smoking briskets, pork shoulders using charcoal, wood, or propane grills/smokers.
I also review kitchent appliances such as grills, smoke, and more. I’ve tried out almost every model available, so if you’re in the market for any of these items be sure to check out my reviews!