finishing steers

Help Support CattleToday:


New member
Jan 17, 2017
Reaction score
Im looking at getting a few angus steers this spring to fatten up and sell privately. I would like to get some input on my figures and let me know what you guys think! I want to buy them in the 750lb range. I will be keeping them in a dirt pasture with free choice of hay and feeding roughly 20 lbs of cracked corn per day. I am shooting for 180 days on feed at about 2.5lb gain per day? 2.5 per day gain hopefully that is a reasonable number? So here are my figures.
750lb steer at 1.25 per lb. -937.50
180 days on feed x 20 lbs per day. 3,600 lbs cracked corn roughly $160 per ton. -$320
Round up the $320 to $400 for extra cost. Minerals and what not.
So total cost would be 1,337.50
750 lb steer at 2.5 per day gain times 180 days- 1,200lbs
From my research beef is going for about 2.50 per lb hanging weight(private sale) 60% of a 1,200 lb steer is 720lb hanging weight. So 720lb times 2.50 per lb. -1,800
Total cost of 1,337.50 subtract 1,800 would be a 462.50 per head profit.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and please tell me if I have all these numbers wrong! I appreciate all input!
Have you ever raised any cattle before? How many do you plan to feed out ? What are your fences like? That size animal is a grazing machine and would gain good on grass to the 1000 plus pound weight....then finish. Why steers? Heifers would cost less and would kill a little lighter.
DO YOU already have the market for them??? The basics of your plan look okay, but what if you can't sell them. Then you haul them to town and sell them for 1.10 or 1.20 as fats? Then you lose quite a bit. What time of year? Gain not guaranteed at 2.5 lbs. Cold winter they eat more to keep up body heat, summer they eat less as corn makes them hot.....20 lbs per head/20 lbs per day per 5, what?
What if one gets sick and dies?
60% hanging is a good average, but our butcher says FIGURE on 50% and anything more is good....

Suggestion. Try 2 animals, steers, heifers, whatever. One for your freezer, one to sell. See how it goes. Get your feet wet and see if you even like doing it.

Figures look okay but if it went exactly as you've figured, don't you think we all would be doing it????
Yes I have previous experience as I grew up on a farm. Just never got to the technical aspect of things. I live in central Wisconsin and planned on getting roughly 3-5 head considering I already have a few buyers lined up! I was planning on getting them in April and feeding till hopefully October-November. I have a 3 wire electric fence, but not much there for grazing. That is why I was going to provide free choice of hay with 2 feedings of corn per day. 10 lbs of corn per head in the morning and 10 lbs at night. I do have a green chopper that I could chop a grass but then I have fuel cost, ect. As far as steers vs. heifers I guess I've never thought of that!
Thank you for your reply.
Getting them sold is always the key. As long as you get them all sold at 2.50 lb hanging weight it's all good.
Best of Luck
And :welcome: to the boards

edited to add:
All things being equal, buying 750 lbers lowers risk of illness vs buying lighter weights
I second farmer jan I raise and sell all my own and it's not all fun and games wait till u have sickness and have a big vet bill or a dead steer . Or better is too get it hanging in the butcher and have some one back out ! Just saying it's easier to say then to do . Best of luck
I raise some to sell by quarters every year. A few things I can think of right off hand.
Before you jump in too deep know your market and know how to raise animals. Starting slow is the best way not to loose some serious $$$$. I've done it for about 5 years and I still don't feel I have everything really figured out. In some areas you may sell corn fed animals really easily, around here everyone asks for grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free. Most of my customers wouldn't buy from me if I told them I fed corn. But if I said I feed a commodity pellet that is balanced to provide for nutritional needs of my animals then they may buy some. A lot is how well you can sell what you are doing.
Nothing ever goes completely right. Animals will get sick, die and do any other number of stupid things. In the coldest months they may not gain as fast as you planned.
I sell my good black calves and buy back oddball calves to grow out. My favorite calf to buy is a Holstein Angus cross steer. If you can find some that are marked up but have a beef build you can buy cheap and sell high. I generally don't like spending over about $600 on a calf and have several I spent less than $400 on. Around here is a calf has white feet or a white tail it's docked.
Good luck. I find growing good beef very rewarding.
I can sell several steers and half steers each year to peers at work.

One problem you are going to have is that not all will be finished at the exact same time. No matter how equal they seem on the start, they never all finish at once.

Then you wind up with enough people for 8 1/2 steers. Its never an even number. So you put 1 1/2 in your own freezer or else you wind up a half steer short from your own needs and sell one at market. etc. Or you get the tire kicker looking to take advantage of you.
My grandfather used to buy some feeder steers at auction to bring home and feed out. One thing he learned was to be careful about putting animals with live vaccines in with those who don't. Once he put a few new steers in with some of his others. Quite a few started to catch 'shipping fever disease.' and three steers ended up dead. He always stressed to me the importance of knowing the vaccines and being careful what you introduce to the rest of the herd right away.
I think that you might do okay since you say you were raised on a farm just never did the technical part. Everyone has offered a good piece of advise. The big thing is so many like both the IDEA and the actual taste of grass fed beef; as well as the studies that do say that grass fed is healthier due to the increased CLA's in the meat from the grass. If you already have a market, I would try it with just a couple and see. I would not feed straight corn though, the animals need a little more balanced feed in their diet than just corn, since you will be feeding them for about 6 months or so. A commodity pellet would give them a little better balanced feed and you could supplement with straight corn for say 60 days at the end to put more fat on them. I would raise one for myself first and let other people try the beef to see if they like it before I would be sure of them buying from you. And get a deposit when they commit or you will find that people will back out at the last minute for any number of reasons.
Good luck.
free labor....come work for me I need some

that cow will never ever ever give you 60% of live weight to sell for meat

youll lose yer a$$ even if yer labor is free..yer numbers aint reality
No Rest Farm":2296s18a said:
He is selling by hanging weight so 60% isn't unthinkable.

Hanging weight may be 60% of live weight, but then there is the trim and if the buyer is astute, they will realize that they are not getting 60% of the live weight back. Like I said in an earlier post, our butcher says to figure 50% of live weight and anything over that is a bonus. I am well aware that the USDA says that the average hanging weight is 62% of live weight.
So I explain that the cost is xx dollars and that the hanging weight will be between 50 and 60% of the live weight. The cost of the processing will be based on the hanging weight, and that there is a certain percentage of waste and trim in bones and fat. But, that said, I have had numerous slaughter places over the years that say the actual hanging weight is closer to 52-55% than it ever is to 60%. And I have mostly jersey steers, and they are leaner than alot of beef breeds, and they have smaller, lighter bones figured in that too. I had one that hung at 72% of live weight. I had the live weight and compared it to the hanging weight at the processor. But that is not the norm.
If figuring that live weight is 1200 lbs. then 50% is 600 lbs. 600lbs x 2.50 lb =1500. Minus 1337.50 which is his figured costs; now the profit is $162.50. Big difference from $462.50. Yes still a profit, but that is putting no value on his time, and nothing going wrong.

Granted, if someone is paying for hanging weight, then that is what they are paying for. BUT MOST PEOPLE don't realize that they are not getting the "full Hanging Weight" back in actual beef. That does not mean the supplier has any other responsibility to "make up the difference or anything" but it might kill his market the first year too...It's just another facet that you have to take into consideration when you do this...EDUCATE the buying public....
We occasionally raise a few steers, but for our own consumption after getting screwed a time or two.

One thing to learn ahead of time is how long the wait is with the butchers in your area. This year I have a few and I called around a few months before they were ready and found out there was a 4-6 month waiting list depending on who you called. We have five butchers within a 45 minute drive from my place.
Yes, the average wit time to get a kill slot is 3 months here, unless the one we prefer to use has a cancellation and that does happen on occasion. Also, killing in the "off season" gets you in quicker. I never have anything killed in Oct to Jan....Mostly in late summer like July/Aug and sometimes like now we have 2 going in mid Feb....
hangin weight is what it is..but if you tell them theyre getting 50% of that back in eatable meat someone is fudging the numbers....good luck

you be dang lucky to get 325 lbs of good meat from a 1000lb live animal that is fat enough to hang at 650.
Yeah, I always tell them that they will get back approx 1/2 of the hanging weight; that it figures out to be about 1/4 of the total live weight of the animal is actual edible meat. People don't seem to get it and then when it figures out to $5-6.00 lb for the actual meat they get bent out of shape. I try to tell them hey, that's not only REAL nice hamburger that you would pay at least 4.00lb for at wal-mart, but that is all the steaks and roasts and everything else. Get tired of trying to explain it so just don't try to sell much anymore unless someone comes to me and I KNOW that THEY KNOW what the reality of it is.
I've sold by hanging weight for a number of years. I always explain the process to each customer. Often I give the exact details of a steer that was butchered the year before. And most importantly customers should understand that each animal is different so the amount of finished product will be different every time.

Latest posts