If you are new to buying direct from the farm, we have put together a list of commonly asked questions to aid in understanding how this process works. Our pricing on beef shares is $4.09 / lb. hanging weight plus processing. Once you have reserved your share, we will notify you of the harvest date a few weeks prior to give you a heads up.
Q: What is rail weight?
Rail weight refers to the weight of the animal after harvest. You only pay for YOUR PORTION of the hanging weight. Say an animal weighs 1000 lbs live weight, its hanging weight will be roughly 55-60% of that, so around 600 for that 1000 lb animal. Most of our beef have a hanging weight between 650-750 lbs, with an average over the last year of 665 lbs. So in using that average, a whole beef share will run around $2700, a half share around $1,350 and a 1/4 share $675. Of course each animal finishes out at a slightly different live weight, so this amount will vary, but gives a ballpark figure. Our steers usually finish at between 1100-1300 lbs. live weight. Processing is additional and paid separately to the butcher.
Q: How much is processing?
We use Dewig Meats in Haubstadt. Their processing fees are based on the live weight of the animal. They charge .55 a lb. for processing a whole or half cow, and .65 a lb. for processing a mixed 1/4 (meaning you will get cuts from the front and rear of the cow). They also charge a small ($1.00) extra fee for things like pre-made hamburger patties, anything tenderized, cubed, or links. This extra fee is only on the amount of that item you get. Again, you only pay for your share of the processing. Using our average weight steer (1200 lb) as our example, and you purchased a 1/2 share, you would pay processing for approx. 600 lbs. x .55 = $330, plus any "extras" you request like pre-made patties. Processing fees include cutting, double wrapping and blast freezing.
Q: How much freezer space will I need / how much actual product will I get?
Our cattle are a bit smaller than traditionally raised beef cattle, which makes them not only more affordable, the beef yield is easier to store! A 1/4 beef will yield around 110-125 lbs. of meat for your freezer once processing is complete. A 1/2 beef will yield around 220-240 lbs. actual meat, and a whole beef will equal approx. 440-480 lbs. of beef for your freezer. Again, these amounts are approximate, depending on the live weight of the animal at processing. A good rule of thumb is you will receive approximately 70% of your share's rail weight as take home meat. I can fit a 1/2 beef easily into an average sized upright freezer, and a 1/2 beef will feed our family of four for about 3/4 of the year. A 1/4 beef will easily fit into a smaller chest freezer.
Q: How do I reserve my share?
We ask a $400 deposit for a whole beef, a $300 deposit for a 1/2 beef, and $150 for a 1/4 share. this helps ensure I have the whole animal sold prior to market date and helps us avoid scrambling for another buyer last minute should anyone forfeit their share. This deposit amount is then deducted from the final amount you owe for your beef.
Q: How do I customize my order?
When your beef is delivered, you will receive a notification from us and will need to contact Dewig's to give them your processing instructions. If ordering a 1/2 or whole, you can ask for whatever cuts you like and specify the thickness of your steaks. If you order a 1/4 share, you will be sharing that 1/2 of the cow with another customer and while you both will receive mostly the same cuts and your steaks will usually be the standard 3/4 inch thickness, you will still receive a good variety of cuts both from the front and rear of the cow. If you prefer mostly ground over steaks, etc. you can certainly ask for more of your portion to be ground if you'd like,
Q: Can I get organ meats?
Yes, you can request the cow tongue, liver, heart, and kidneys, although for obvious reasons these are on a first come, first served basis if you are purchasing a 1/2 or 1/4 shares with someone else. If you would like these organ meats, you will need to request them when you reserve your beef.
Q: When is payment due?
Aside from your deposit, your payment to us for the beef is due upon delivery to the processor (we will let you know final costs after we know the hanging weight of the animal). Processing fees are due to Dewig's when you pick up your beef.
Still have a few more questions? Email us and ask away!