make hamburger with unbred cows

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ny_grass

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howdy

what a year it's been! Lots of successes. A couple of serious problems. Two dead calves. A corral that never seemed to get finished.

But the biggest problem, by far, is that my 6 cows aren't bred. I thought I was going to have a bull in here last week but it fell through.

Which leads to my question:

4 of my cows still have nursing calves and their condition has plummeted since I got them on hay about 6 weeks ago. I know I need to wean the calves (and will be doing that soon) but I'm afraid that even a bull wouldn't guarantee that they'd breed back (because they are so thin). And, even if they did, I'd have September born calves. Here in upstate NY, where it freezes as early as mid-October, that strikes me as a potential problem.

I think I have a solution. I'm calling the butcher tomorrow to see when he can take the 6 cows in. I'll have him make hamburger out of the whole lot of them. I think I see a market for the ground beef. At a reasonable Wal-mart + a little price, I'd be back up more than what I paid for them. Then, come April, I'd buy a new herd (5-8) of bred cows.

So, is this plan a loser? It probably all depends on the market; can I get rid of (probably) about 3600 lbs of ground beef?

Updated:
I forgot to add. Would the fact that they're skinny result in terrible ground beef? Most of them are 3 years old; a couple of 4 years.
Is there some way that, without grain, I could fatten them up a little in the month before they go to the butcher - maybe some nicer quality hay?

Any advice? thanks ... JR
 

dun

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ny_grass":1mq8pnhd said:
howdy

what a year it's been! Lots of successes. A couple of serious problems. Two dead calves. A corral that never seemed to get finished.

But the biggest problem, by far, is that my 6 cows aren't bred. I thought I was going to have a bull in here last week but it feel through.

Which leads to my question:

4 of my cows still have nursing calves and their condition has plummeted since I got them on hay about 6 weeks ago. I know I need to wean the calves (and will be doing that soon) but I'm afraid that even a bull wouldn't guarentee that they'd bred back (because they are so thin). And, even if they did, I'd have September born calves. Here in upstate NY, where it freezes as early as mid-october.

I think I have a solution. I'm calling the butcher tomorrow to see when he can take the 6 cows in. I'll have him make hamburger out of the whole lot of them. I think I see a market for the ground beef. At a reasonable Wal-mart + a little price, I'd be back up more than what I paid for them. Then, come April, I'd buy a new herd (5-8) of bred cows.

So, is this plan a loser? It probably all depends on the market; can I get right of (probably) about 3600 lbs of ground beef?

Updated:
I forgot to add. Would the fact that they're skinny result in terrible ground beef? Most of them are 3 years old; a couple of 4 years.
Is there some way that, without grain, I could fatten them up a little in the month before they go to the butcher - maybe some nicer quality hay?

Any advice? thanks ... JR

Better quality hay and wean the calves. Meat might be awfully lean, but there's nothing wrong with that.
 
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ny_grass

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Do I have any reason to believe that the taste might not be top notch for my black angus? I'd think if it were whole beef hamburger that, despite being lean, it'd still taste okay?
 

dcara

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Not sure what NY state regulations and licensing are regarding selling meat direct but you may want to find out. Some folks that sell direct have to sell quarters, halves, or wholes to individuals on the basis that they had bought interest in the live animal before it was slaughtered. This may be difficult to prove if you're selling only GB from one or more animals to alot of different people. You also may have to have it slaughtered at a facility with a USDA inspector and have the GB tested for Ecoli.
 

dun

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ny_grass":269w0q24 said:
Do I have any reason to believe that the taste might not be top notch for my black angus? I'd think if it were whole beef hamburger that, despite being lean, it'd still taste okay?

It will taste just fine. Have you given any thought to weaning the calves, improving the cows diet and breeding hem then selling them as bred cows at a later date. There are folks that prefer those fall/early winter calves.
 
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ny_grass

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dcara":242jxkqp said:
Not sure what NY state regulations and licensing are regarding selling meat direct but you may want to find out. Some folks that sell direct have to sell quarters, halves, or wholes to individuals on the basis that they had bought interest in the live animal before it was slaughtered. This may be difficult to prove if you're selling only GB from one or more animals to alot of different people. You also may have to have it slaughtered at a facility with a USDA inspector and have the GB tested for Ecoli.

We have a medium/small USDA facility up here. It's my understanding that I can sell it by the pound (or, more realistically, by the lot of 20 lbs or so) as long as it's slaughtered at a USDA facility. I'll check though. Thanks.
 
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ny_grass

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dun":2atwn4d7 said:
It will taste just fine. Have you given any thought to weaning the calves, improving the cows diet and breeding hem then selling them as bred cows at a later date. There are folks that prefer those fall/early winter calves.

Haven't yet. I don't think I like it though. It would mean I'd not any calves for the coming year. If I can sell the beef then I'd, hopefully, be back in for the coming summer.

Update: I guess I'm not thinking ... I could still sell them in, say, April, in time to by some May calving calves ...
 

dun

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ny_grass":60q9lo7j said:
I could still sell them in, say, April, in time to by some May calving calves ...

That's what I was thinking
 

grannysoo

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When is the last time you wormed those cows? Do you know the protein level in the hay that you are feeding? Are you feeding minerals or any other supplements?

As to selling 3600 pounds of hamburger, that's another issue completely. I think that you're going to have a lot of cost in processing in order to meet state/federal requirements. Normal "freezer beef" comes from you selling a share of a live cow, not selling the processed meat.
 

donnaIL

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ny_grass":24ebdjje said:
Would the fact that they're skinny result in terrible ground beef? Most of them are 3 years old; a couple of 4 years. Any advice? thanks ... JR

I had a 5 year old cow processed and ground this year, same reason just thin, and figured we could use the beef, rather than take her to the sale barn and not get much for her. Our cow was thin, total hanging weight was 523lbs, we brought home 325 lbs of hamburger. The meat was so lean I had them add fat to it, the burger has a different texture to it. I was worried about the taste, but it is delicious & flaverful.


ny_grass":24ebdjje said:
dcara":24ebdjje said:
Not sure what NY state regulations and licensing are regarding selling meat direct but you may want to find out. Some folks that sell direct have to sell quarters, halves, or wholes to individuals on the basis that they had bought interest in the live animal before it was slaughtered. This may be difficult to prove if you're selling only GB from one or more animals to alot of different people. You also may have to have it slaughtered at a facility with a USDA inspector and have the GB tested for Ecoli.

We have a medium/small USDA facility up here. It's my understanding that I can sell it by the pound (or, more realistically, by the lot of 20 lbs or so) as long as it's slaughtered at a USDA facility. I'll check though. Thanks.

In IL, beef producers can purchase a license (seemed like it was a small fee like $50), then you have your animal processed at a USDA plant and then you can sell the beef by the lb is you want. Check with your USDA office.
 

SRBeef

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baxter78":3izt3ozw said:
That is the whole point of raising freezer beef no one will pay the store prices. That is the whole idea. You can make more money for selling it for less than what walmart sells it and more people will buy it. Besides that aint nobody gonna want to pay walmart + prices for beef when they can go down the road to the neighbors and get it alot cheaper. I sell by the pound live weight.

Yes some folks will buy ground beef from you because it is "cheaper" than WalMart.

I find most of my customers are buying beef from me mostly because they know where their beef is coming from and what its been fed.

Look at the news report over the past weekend from Ireland that Irish pork containing 200 times the allowable level of dioxins has been shipped to 25 countries. Dioxins are bad stuff. Now the powers that be are into a discussion of how much Dioxin in your food is "really" too much. To me ANY dioxin in my family's food is too much...

You have to feel for many of the farmers who unknowingly fed the hogs feed containing oil with dioxin but are now left bearing the consequences.

Look at the Chinese milk with melamine added that has caused problems in infants....

So there is more than just price of your beef involved. Many people want to know they are buying food for their family that does not have dioxins, melamine or whatever in it. I would sell with an emphasis on quality not price.

We butchered and older cow with attitude problems last spring for hamburger only. She was not real skinny but the meat was almost too lean for most tastes. It could be cooked slowly but most people want to cook the way they usually do.

I would tell your processor that you want to end up with about 90% lean hamburger. He will adjust it to whatever level you want. When it gets above 90% (= less than 10% fat) many customers will say it is too dry when they cook it the way they do the Wal Mart, usually 70%-75% on the cheaper packages, hamburger. Good luck.
 
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ny_grass

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SRBeef":3vyvv0y0 said:
Yes some folks will buy ground beef from you because it is "cheaper" than WalMart.

I find most of my customers are buying beef from me mostly because they know where their beef is coming from and what its been fed.

...

So there is more than just price of your beef involved. Many people want to know they are buying food for their family that does not have dioxins, melamine or whatever in it. I would sell with an emphasis on quality not price.

Yup, I agree. People are very interested in grass-fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, etc... and they, apparently, are paying for it. Some people say that whole cow hamburger is also a selling point. What I don't know is if I'll be able to get enough of those people knowing that I have it available. We'll see. I'm not yet sure what to do (other than wean the calves and get them as much hay as they want).

thanks
 

Workinonit Farm

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If you do choose to have them butchered, check with your processor as to what their policy is regarding animals over the age of 30 months. The processor I use will take them, but for a rather large sum in addition to the regular kill/cut/wrap price and you do not get anything pertaining to the spine returned. (no T-bones etc.) The place i use has a USDA inspector on premises. I do not know how the processors in NY operate.

It sounds like they need to be weaned, de-wormed and get some groceries into them.

Good luck

Katherine
 
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ny_grass

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Workinonit Farm":11jbqcu0 said:
It sounds like they need to be weaned, de-wormed and get some groceries into them.

A number of people have suggested that I might need to deworm them. I'm wondering if anyone reading this is in a climate like upstate NY and has anything to say about worms up here. I've heard from a number of locals that they never have to worm their cows. I'd think that worms might be less of an issue in a colder climate. That said, I have given them two rounds of shaklee a couple of months apart. (I know, it's not clear that it works but I've heard lots of people say positive things about it). I'll do another round this week.
 
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ny_grass

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Workinonit Farm":1mn7iqh5 said:
If you do choose to have them butchered, check with your processor as to what their policy is regarding animals over the age of 30 months. The processor I use will take them, but for a rather large sum in addition to the regular kill/cut/wrap price and you do not get anything pertaining to the spine returned. (no T-bones etc.) The place i use has a USDA inspector on premises. I do not know how the processors in NY operate.

Hmm, I was thinking of getting the whole cow hamburgered so there'd be no steak but I was assuming that the ribs would come back.

Why would they charge you more for older animals?
 

dun

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ny_grass":10w8pvk3 said:
Workinonit Farm":10w8pvk3 said:
It sounds like they need to be weaned, de-wormed and get some groceries into them.

A number of people have suggested that I might need to deworm them. I'm wondering if anyone reading this is in a climate like upstate NY and has anything to say about worms up here. I've heard from a number of locals that they never have to worm their cows. I'd think that worms might be less of an issue in a colder climate. That said, I have given them two rounds of shaklee a couple of months apart. (I know, it's not clear that it works but I've heard lots of people say positive things about it). I'll do another round this week.

Simplist way to know if they need worming is to take a fecal in to the vet
 

KMacGinley

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ny_grass":m95tdnil said:
howdy

what a year it's been! Lots of successes. A couple of serious problems. Two dead calves. A corral that never seemed to get finished.

But the biggest problem, by far, is that my 6 cows aren't bred. I thought I was going to have a bull in here last week but it fell through.

Which leads to my question:

4 of my cows still have nursing calves and their condition has plummeted since I got them on hay about 6 weeks ago. I know I need to wean the calves (and will be doing that soon) but I'm afraid that even a bull wouldn't guarantee that they'd breed back (because they are so thin). And, even if they did, I'd have September born calves. Here in upstate NY, where it freezes as early as mid-October, that strikes me as a potential problem.

I think I have a solution. I'm calling the butcher tomorrow to see when he can take the 6 cows in. I'll have him make hamburger out of the whole lot of them. I think I see a market for the ground beef. At a reasonable Wal-mart + a little price, I'd be back up more than what I paid for them. Then, come April, I'd buy a new herd (5-8) of bred cows.

So, is this plan a loser? It probably all depends on the market; can I get rid of (probably) about 3600 lbs of ground beef?

Updated:
I forgot to add. Would the fact that they're skinny result in terrible ground beef? Most of them are 3 years old; a couple of 4 years.
Is there some way that, without grain, I could fatten them up a little in the month before they go to the butcher - maybe some nicer quality hay?

Any advice? thanks ... JR

OK...

1. Will you manage your new herd as poorly as you have done with this one? 2 dead calves? Why? That is a 33 1/3% death loss.

2. Your cows are 3 and 4 year olds and you intend to beef them out because you didn't get them bred?

3. You are afraid of fall calves because the weather will get cold when they are 6 weeks old? Plenty of fall calves are born in the north. You just have to feed them, and by feed them, I mean their mothers, good hay, or some form of ration, silage, grain etc. so that the calves can grow through the winter.

4. Ever heard of ivomec pour-on? Lots of people don't worm their cows, also lots of people don't feed their cows properly. That is no reason for you to do the same. Get the generic kind and worm them, if you are going to keep them. Not if you are going to butcher them. I don't know if Basic H works or not, lots of people swear by it. I know Ivomec does and it is cheap!

5. I hope you get your act together.
 

Brandonm22

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"1. Will you manage your new herd as poorly as you have done with this one? 2 dead calves? Why? That is a 33 1/3% death loss.

2. Your cows are 3 and 4 year olds and you intend to beef them out because you didn't get them bred?"

Everybody eventually comes across that one cow that won't settle. When they all won't settle, they all are bony, and the few calves that are born don't live long (barring some horrible plague of biblical proportions).......that is not 'grassfed' that is what we call "starving your cows". I hope he gets these poor animals too a stockyard before they drop dead over the winter.
 
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ny_grass

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Brandonm22":2sbqdnkg said:
"1. Will you manage your new herd as poorly as you have done with this one? 2 dead calves? Why? That is a 33 1/3% death loss.

2. Your cows are 3 and 4 year olds and you intend to beef them out because you didn't get them bred?"

Everybody eventually comes across that one cow that won't settle. When they all won't settle, they all are bony, and the few calves that are born don't live long (barring some horrible plague of biblical proportions).......that is not 'grassfed' that is what we call "starving your cows". I hope he gets these poor animals too a stockyard before they drop dead over the winter.

I'm not starving my cows. They get 10 50lb bales of hay a day. That for 6 cows and 4 calves. There's usually hay left when I come to feed them again. They have a full tub of minerals, a salt lick and water at all times. I've wormed them twice and had people out to look at them; they assured me that they were "a little on skinny side" but that it was probably because they had big calves that weren't yet weened.
 

Brandonm22

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ny_grass":25t4ewv6 said:
I'm not starving my cows. They get 10 50lb bales of hay a day. That for 6 cows and 4 calves. There's usually hay left when I come to feed them again. They have a full tub of minerals, a salt lick and water at all times. I've wormed them twice and had people out to look at them; they assured me that they were "a little on skinny side" but that it was probably because they had big calves that weren't yet weened.

I am not there. I haven't seen any pictures so I don't really know what is going on; BUT it is very possible for cows to NOT meet their nutritional needs on hay alone even at all they can eat. Has the hay been forage quality tested???
 

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