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GANGGREEN

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I'm a newbie trying to educate myself and would like some opinions about a few things. I've owned a few beefers (mostly Scottish Highland but some other stuff mixed in as well. I'm trying out several things and refining my likes and opinions regarding breeds) for two years now and would like opinions about how I'm doing in regards to two animals that were slaughtered and sent to the butcher this morning. The photos were taken a few weeks ago so they may have been slightly more finished when slaughtered this morning but you'll get the idea.

Since I bought these animals as weanlings last year, I have general curiousity about your opinion's on their genetic traits but I'm mostly interested in how well I did in preparing them for the table. I know it's hard to do without any reference points but I'm also curious if anyone would venture a guess as to hanging weights on the animals (I don't know yet and would love to have a ballpark figure on each).

The smaller, grey colored steer is/was 14 months old and a bit smaller/shorter than the larger black steer which was 16 or 17 months old. When I purchased them, I was told that the grey one was a Charolais/Limo cross and that the black one was just a generic "Limo cross" but I don't know the specifics.

Did I grain them enough? Pasture them long enough? Do they look well filled out? Any other general or specific thoughts that will help me as I try to refine my procedures here on the farm? Thanks in advance everyone.



 

Running Arrow Bill

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Can't venture opinion on breeds other than Longhorns...lol.

However, "on average" for any breed:

Hanging Weights in area of 45 to 55% of live weight.
Packaged Weights in area of 30 to 40% of live weight.

Packaged Weights vary a lot according to what cuts one is willing to save and eat.

If one's hanging or packaged weights are significantly more than the above "averages", then the animals had too much extra fat and bones that are not edible (by humans, that is). One generally loses from 200 lbs and up (depending on live weight of animal) for bones, hide, guts, head, and other stuff one usually doesn't eat.

So, rough estimates: 1000# animal = 500 lbs hanging; 350 lbs packaged weight.

Hope this helps!
 

GANGGREEN

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Thanks Bill, I had a pretty good idea about butchering losses based on last year's animals that went into the freezer. They were both Highland steers/bulls and both finished (boneless cut and wrapped weight) at nearly 70% of hanging weight which I was very happy with. I had no way of knowing what their live weights were so I don't know what their hanging percentages were. Being a newbie and not trusting my gut, I'm just wondering what the hanging weights might be on these guys.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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GANGGREEN":29dcs4r2 said:
Thanks Bill, I had a pretty good idea about butchering losses based on last year's animals that went into the freezer. They were both Highland steers/bulls and both finished (boneless cut and wrapped weight) at nearly 70% of hanging weight which I was very happy with. I had no way of knowing what their live weights were so I don't know what their hanging percentages were. Being a newbie and not trusting my gut, I'm just wondering what the hanging weights might be on these guys.

On another note, people that DO NOT save and eat organ meat (heart, liver, kidney, "head meat", nuts, etc.) will always have lower packaged weights. Also, animals carrying excessive fat (i.e., "tallow") that has to be trimmed, will also have a lower percentage of packaged weight relative to live weight. Other factors include the weight of water and food still in the gut at slaughter, not to mention "shrink" between pasture and the point of slaughter due to stress, transort, etc.
 

Aero

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it's all according to how tasty you want them and if it's worth the money/time to get them there.

they dont look very finished to me. I have some SimAngus steers that look about the same as the black one on just grass and the CHx has less finish than the black. The black will probably have some marbling, but the CHx probably wont have much.

the general routine many people follow is 1-2% of their body weight until they are used to it and then increasing the grain until they just get it cleaned up before you feed them again.
 

GANGGREEN

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OK, thanks Aero, that's the sort of thing that I was hoping to hear. It will be interesting to actually see the hanging carcass and then the finished cuts so that it all starts to fit together. I fed them ground corn for about 90 days but probably only finished at about 15 pounds per animal per day and I'm guessing that they're probably in the 800-1000 pound liveweight range.?.
 

farmwriter

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I'm not good enough to guess weights from pics (though some on here probably are) but I wouldn't think you're too far off.
I have to second Aero in that they're thinner than our cows are when they go to slaughter, but hey, it's the South. We all overeat! ;-)
 

grannysoo

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As far as the finish, they are looking pretty good to me. The black one has got some nice curves around the tail area, so it's getting filled out pretty well.

Size wise, they may be a little small, but finish wise, that's about where we have ours at.
 

options

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Running Arrow Bill


The 45% to 55% is that the average hanging range for your particular herd? The national average appears to be higher.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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This is only a guessing game with a single picture, but, I would guess they should have been fed another 90 days. I do NOT see any fat deposits on their tail head, flank, or brisket. They probably do weigh around 800-900# which is way light for their breeds.
A Char/Limo should easily weigh 1200# by 14 months old and the "generic" Limo should be well above that weight. Their weights relative to their age strongly depends on how long you pastured them. Continental cattle (which is what Limo & Char are) are not designed to be backgrounded. They do best weaned off mom & put right on a grain ration. Less modern type British cattle could use the extra time to grow more frame, then put on the feedlots. But, most modern type British & Continentals don't need backgrounding (putting on roughage diet) anymore. I do not expect them to have much marbling (more likely none), based on breed & looks of finish. Limo & Char are not known for their marbling traits.
Obviously, you are not looking for grass fed beef - you are willing to grain them. You would be money ahead to put them right on grain after weaning. You start out on just grass hay (or grass), for a few days. Than you start them on 1% of their body weight in grain. You can also save money buy just feeding whole shell corn, with a little added protein pellet. They should be on about a 14% protein at weaning age, and corn is only 9%. You SLOWLY increase their grain til you get them up to 3% of their body weight/day. As they gain weight, you decrease the amount of protein pellets. By 750#-800# they really will only need whole shell corn.
Hope this helps.
 

options

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Jeanne I'm on the same page as you with the 8 to 9 cwt. Look like yearlings that I buy from time to time.
 

redcowsrule33

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":1q3qxomp said:
This is only a guessing game with a single picture, but, I would guess they should have been fed another 90 days. I do NOT see any fat deposits on their tail head, flank, or brisket. They probably do weigh around 800-900# which is way light for their breeds.

Totally agree, they need more finish. A view from the rear would be helpful but I don't think it will change my opinion.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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options":3oazkhs0 said:
Running Arrow Bill


The 45% to 55% is that the average hanging range for your particular herd? The national average appears to be higher.

The stats I've seen (from some "commercial" sources) indicated this would be on the "safe" side. Depending on the finish of a commercial animal, could probably increase those figures 5 to 10%. Remember, I'm speaking of "averages", not the top 25% of so.

There is so much variability in regard to breed, feeding program, individual animals, etc.

In our own freezer beef, we have in fact butchered some of our Longhorn animals that have been within the percentage ranges of "commercial" beef. So many variables...so many programs...so many processing variables...etc. lol. For one of our examples, when we slaughtered 700# steer, we got approx. 250 lbs of packaged beef (we did not keep any organ meats or ribs...we prefer steaks, roasts, and ground beef).
 

GANGGREEN

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RA Bill, I'm not sure if you were asking me but, no, I never said that I'm averaging 45-55% hanging weight. I've only done 4 animals so far but last year's animals seemed to finish much higher than I would have expected. As I said before, I didn't have live weights but got nearly 70% of their hanging weights in boneless cuts, which I thought was extremely high.

Thanks for all the comments everyone. As I said, I'm really just learning. Apparently pasturing for a long while and then putting on grain to finish as I had done with my Highlands is not necessarily the right thing for the char and limo cross animals. This is precisely what I was looking for and why I posted the pics and asked the questions. I'm sure other beginners are learning from the discussion as well.
 

GANGGREEN

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That's an interesting article farmwriter. I can clearly see the difference between your steer and mine, quite a bit more muscle, particularly in the backside, on yours. I guess what I'm still unclear about is how much of that is attributable to grain finishing and how much is simple genetics. I've heard about fat deposits around the tail head and the brisket but my untrained eye still doesn't immediately see it all the time. I think I've gotten to the point where I see the desirable traits in a beef cow/bull/steer, just not completely confident that I know when it's time yet.
 

farmwriter

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Some of it is genetics. Cow and bull that produced him are both heavily built. And I sure wouldn't say I'm completely confident, but my partner - I call him Daddy ;-) - has been at it a little longer than I have. Also have some friends whose opinions we value.
Some of feeding beef has to do with knowing your market too, though. For instance, the big guy in the picture went to 2 households that split him. We probably don't sell to anybody who would want that much meat.
As far as 'knowing when it's time" a lot of what we look at is their intake vs. their gain, not just fat deposits. When their consumption levels off and so does their growth and gain, we try to get 'em to the processor. Time of year is a consideration as well. We want them finished before the heat gets too tough on them, which would cost us profit.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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farmwriter - your steer pictured is showing some tail head fat, but I really can't see much else. IMO, he wasn't finished out enough either - although he was definately closer.
Gangg - by all rights, your Limo - Char steers should have had MORE muscling than farmw's (if he's an Angus???). By not feeding to their potential growth after weaning, they might not have been able to express their inherited muscling. Given enough time & feed ($$$$), they may have been really heavily muscled - but would have been huge, because you grew frame instead of muscle to begin with.
I realize the main objective is to produce BEEF as cheaply as possible. But, by restricting their growth potential (pasturing), you grow frame (bone) and not a lot of meat (muscle). That's why I suggested putting growthy calves right on a grain ration. If you put a pencil to your time & input, they do make money feeding them out as quickly as possible.
With moderate type cattle, you can (and many grass growers do) finish steers out on grass. But, it is a real art to do it properly. The calves need to be rotationally grazed on really lush nutritious grasses.
I don't finish out any here anymore, but I retain ownership of at least 4-6 head a year & put them on the Cornell Feedout Program. They generally finish at 13-14 months of age weighing 1300-1400#, YG 1-2, Choice. (these are purebred Simmental - another Continental breed, but the highest marbling Continental).
 

farmwriter

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Honestly Jeane that's not far from the age and weight on some of our bigger boys. And again, the heat gets to be a real issue for us. The past couple of weeks, the heat index is 100+ and it's well into the am before temps get back below 80. That's hot enough I don't feel like eating as much sometimes, too. (Although it's not a bad thing in my case.) Obviously that complicates packing on the pounds.
Another aspect of our product that many of our customers like is how lean our beef is, and we have had some customers in years past who actually requested smaller steaks. It's a custom product, so we try to provide what the buyer wants as much as we can.
Our beef-type brood cows have some Simm in them and are bred to blk angus, but we also have some LH cows that we breed to blk angus (again, smaller steaks and lean meat).
I appreciate the feedback though. That's what I put the pic up for. Any of you other posters that want to, critique away!
 

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