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Selling Grass-Fed Beef

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abrowder

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Hi!

I just took two 1200 lb holstein steers to slaughter last week and had some questions about beef sales. Last time I did holstein steers I had lots of trouble selling the steaks and cuts because they were very lean, so I decided to go with all hamburger this time around. Butcher said to expect around 600-700 lbs of ground beef. They are grass-fed, no hormones, no antibiotics, and about 90% lean. I am in NC and the going rate for grass-fed ground beef in grocery stores is anywhere from $6-9/lb (give or take). I am planning on selling mine at $7/lb. Is that a good price? Also, any other tips about selling beef on a small scale would be greatly appreciated!! I’m kinda new at this! 😁

Thanks,
Avery
 

Dsth

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I guess I don't see the advantage of grass fed over corn fed if it is getting ground up into ground beef. the no hormones or antibiotics may raise the price some. Some butchers will want to add fat to add flavor if it is too lean. I have taken older cows in and had them made into all ground beef and that is also 90% or higher lean meat. To see if $7/lb. is a good deal, take lbs of meat you get times 7, subtract processing price, compare that to market price if you sold them as live weight. If $7/lbs. is higher, it is a good price.
 

Ky hills

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I’m not much of a fan of grass fed for just that reason, if it isn’t finished just right it will be too lean. I prefer grain fed on full feed for at least 90 days. Then most should have adequate marbling. In my mind it’s easier to sell well finished beef than leaner especially if repeat customers are a goal. The grass fed truly is a niche market and takes a lot of knowledge and experience to get a high quality product that way.
 

Dave

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Last spring I bought an open young cow which I had ground into burger. She cost me $635. The slaughter and processing cost $633. She hung up 650 pounds. Figuring boning one out and grinding you lose 50% from hanging weight. So that would be 325 pounds of burger. And guessing from all those heavy boxes that is a good figure. That works out to $3.89 per pound. Where she came from (big high desert ranch in SE Oregon) I am certain she never saw any grain in her life. There would have been no hormones and the only antibiotics she would have received would have been if she was sick. She didn't look like she had been sick. I would have been tickled to get $7.00 a pound. That would have made me $1,010.
 

Stickney94

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DSTH & KY Hills are giving you sound advice. $7 per lb probably makes you money, but selling that many lbs of burger is not an easy feat either. Though, if NC is anything like my locality it should sell due to the pandemic.

Grass-Fed is a very misleading term. My cattle are grass-fed. They are also fed corn. Corn/maize is a grass. In short, grass fed really has no definitive meaning. But, customers don't know that.

Grass finishing is the art. It probably requires use of a legumes (alfalfa/clover -- which, aren't grass, but anyway), however, grass finishing should not by itself make lean beef.
 

Son of Butch

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Hi!

I just took two 1200 lb holstein steers.... I decided to go with all hamburger this time around. Butcher said to expect around 600-700 lbs of ground beef. I am planning on selling mine at $7/lb. Is that a good price?
Here in Minnesota 1200 lb finished Holstein steers are 88 cents lb = $1056 hd

1056 + 500 processing = $1556
1556 divided by 325 lbs of hamburger = $4.79 lb breakeven

$7 - 4.79 = 2.21 x 325 lbs = $718 premium selling as burger
vs
$6 - 4.79 = 1.21 x 325 = $393 premium

but you can plug in your own numbers

P.S.
Tenderloins are 16-$20+ lb never grind them into hamburger
I prefer having the butcher cut the tenderloin as fillet mignon steaks and
chop the thin tail end of the tenderloin for steak tartar or beef stroganoff
 
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Hpacres440p

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Doesnt the meat have to be butchered in a USDA cert shop to resale? That can run up around a grand alone right?
Our USDA still charges on HW-ours is $650 minimum fee (kill +processing), which generally will cover a 1,000 lb animal hanging around 600. Tenderizing and some other smaller cuts (stew, cutlets) are extra.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Grass fed finished beef requires an acquired taste. It is like eating wild deer meat. I always advise anyone that asks about grass finished beef - buy a GOOD STEAK. If it is what you want to eat for a steak, go for it.
BUT - grass fed does not mean HEALTHIER. The ONLY research on grass fed vs grain fed was done by Texas A&M. It is shameful that govt allows anyone to scare people into buying niche market product based on it being HEALTHIER without PROOF.
I am not saying grass fed can't be finished out decent - but it is a LOT more management than grain fed - and the resulting product is not liked by people that like grain fed beef. Just saying.
Properly grass finished beef takes about 20-28 months of age. You may say, well grass is cheaper than grain. I finish my steers at 12-13 months of age, hanging an average wt of 750#, and grade choice or choice+. Time is money - and GOOD grass isn't cheap.
 

Silver

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We always eat a young cow that lost her calf at calving time and comes in fat in the fall. I suppose this would be considered grass fed. I certainly would not say it tastes ANYTHING like wild deer meat. There is a slightly "beefier" flavour over grain fed, which I think is a good thing. I also enjoy a good barley fed animal, but it is a little more bland. I avoid corn fed when I have the choice.
People say that cattle not finished on grain don't have white fat, but ours do have white fat. Maybe because they have been on dry hay prior to slaughter, not sure if that would have an effect or not.
 

Brute 23

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I've eaten "grass fed beef" all my life... and I mean beefmaster type cattle straight out the pasture, weaned, put at our heifer property, and butchered as needed. They get a little hay in the winter and maybe some cubes here and there yo make sure they can be penned. It very lean beef. I think they say 90/10. It's not bad tasting to me if you dont over cook it.

I've had people try to sell me ground that was fed out and I didnt really see any difference. It tasted different but wasnt better or worse IMO.

Can you ask the butcher to leave some fat in your ground beef to get like an 80/20 even though it's still grass fed?

Around here most people mix their deer meat with with pork so it's not real lean. We were eating a lot of ground deer for a couple months waiting on a butcher date and my son is hooked on it. I mixed some beef in hamburger helper a couple nights ago and he called me out on it. I told him we dont pay for beef to learn to like it or get a good job to hunt those deer. 😁
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Silver - it's the green grass that makes the yellow fat. I don't think it taste any different, but not sure. I hunt & kill deer and love eating venison - but I do not grind the meat. I don't like ground venison. I will stick to my beef hamburger.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I also eat meat from an old cow - in good shape. I have the loins cut out for great steaks, flank steak, brisket, cube steaks, kabobs.
But, from the exposure I have had, you do not plan to eat a round steak or chuck steak from a grass fed animal. MY BIL raised grass fed. The best meat was Pot Roast and hamburg. It was great. They quit trying to sell steaks. Sorry, but I am a steak eater. Individuals will exclaim how great their grass finished beef is and that is great. I just advise people to TRY a steak before filling their freezer. I don't tell them not to buy it.
 

Hpacres440p

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I also eat meat from an old cow - in good shape. I have the loins cut out for great steaks, flank steak, brisket, cube steaks, kabobs.
But, from the exposure I have had, you do not plan to eat a round steak or chuck steak from a grass fed animal. MY BIL raised grass fed. The best meat was Pot Roast and hamburg. It was great. They quit trying to sell steaks. Sorry, but I am a steak eater. Individuals will exclaim how great their grass finished beef is and that is great. I just advise people to TRY a steak before filling their freezer. I don't tell them not to buy it.
We grass-feed, but have a breed known to be still adapted to mostly grass forage. They get some cubes to train, but definitely not grain-finished. The time to slaughter is a definite difference, but I do love the flavor, tenderness, and less outer fat of our grass-based beef. I have customers who also like it enough to ask for more-the ground is where I notice the biggest difference in flavor and texture from previous store-bought beef. I’ll keep enjoying my homestyle beef😁
 

Brute 23

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We grass-feed, but have a breed known to be still adapted to mostly grass forage. They get some cubes to train, but definitely not grain-finished. The time to slaughter is a definite difference, but I do love the flavor, tenderness, and less outer fat of our grass-based beef. I have customers who also like it enough to ask for more-the ground is where I notice the biggest difference in flavor and texture from previous store-bought beef. I’ll keep enjoying my homestyle beef😁
I agree on the texture. Store bought ground beef weirds me out a little. Knowing what beef tastes like right out the pasture, in pure form, no matter grass or grain fed, makes me wonder what they do to it when you buy it at a store.
 

Hpacres440p

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I agree on the texture. Store bought ground beef weirds me out a little. Knowing what beef tastes like right out the pasture, in pure form, no matter grass or grain fed, makes me wonder what they do to it when you buy it at a store.
I saw some “prime steaks” in the butcher display at the grocery store-they were pink/red all over, including the fat. I went back home pulled out two meat-colored ribeyes with slightly yellow fat, slapped them on the grill and enjoyed every tender bite-and didn’t wonder what the pink stuff was...
 

Ky hills

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I agree on the texture. Store bought ground beef weirds me out a little. Knowing what beef tastes like right out the pasture, in pure form, no matter grass or grain fed, makes me wonder what they do to it when you buy it at a store.
My wife and I have that conversation about ever time we have ground beef. We haven’t had to buy any for several years, and have processed steers, young bulls, a heifer pretty much out of the field that lost a calf and an older Braford cow that was fed for a while, all with similar ground beef taste and texture.
 

Little Joe

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I finish mine rotating one paddock ahead of the cows so they get best grass and maximum gains while graining them at 1-1.5% BW. To me this is the best of both worlds. The fat isn't yellow but it isn't as white as store bought either. The only time I notice a difference in the taste is when I eat the fat off of one that has been in the freezer 6 months or better, they start to get a little stronger taste in the fat then but not bad at all. Most people wouldn't eat the fat like I do anyway, I love a good piece of fat off of a fresh homegrown ribeye.
 
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Little Joe

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I can't hardly stand to buy store bought beef, it's pretty bland. When we go out to eat I rarely get a steak because I can't see paying $20 for something half as good as what I cook at home for $5. I've got kill dates for pigs next fall also, gonna build a pig tractor this winter and start finishing my own hogs starting spring. Also looked into building a few chicken tractors to finish some cornish cross in so I don't have to buy any grocery store meat.
 

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