Split a cow?

dgates80

Land of the lost
Pondering buying some meat at auction from one of the fairs. Probably a cow but maybe a hog. It’s a lot of meat though! Perhaps a deal could be made to split a cow or pig? We live in Calvert so I’m thinking g the Calvert fair.

I’m fairly clueless on how it all works and the economics of it. Does it really end up cheaper than retail buying at auction? I would be ok with paying some premium to contribute to the 4-H aspect of it but not if it’s crazy town amount.

What’s reasonable to expect for processing costs?
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
Pondering buying some meat at auction from one of the fairs. Probably a cow but maybe a hog. It’s a lot of meat though! Perhaps a deal could be made to split a cow or pig? We live in Calvert so I’m thinking g the Calvert fair.

I’m fairly clueless on how it all works and the economics of it. Does it really end up cheaper than retail buying at auction? I would be ok with paying some premium to contribute to the 4-H aspect of it but not if it’s crazy town amount.

What’s reasonable to expect for processing costs?
For reference, we've been paying $3.75/pound for a whole Angus, shrink wrapped, frozen and delivered. Processing itself typically runs 0.65-0.75 per pound. Hung weight has been between 750 and 800 pounds, most years.

At most of the auctions I've participated in, they facilitate "pairing" on animals, to help boost prices and make it more enticing for folks that only want a half, or even a quarter, to bid. Best approach is to already have your partners on board before you bid.There are a ton of choices to be made about the cut list/instructions and you invited some conflict if you are going to sort that out with total strangers. ;-)
 
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Hannibal

Member
Just lived this Saturday night at the St. Mary's County Fair. Went in with a buddy (he bought) simply to learn how it works.

There were far more pigs to cows. Like 75 vs. 20. They split them up into groups and every animal goes on a list with a number along with their specs (owner/raiser, weight, etc.). If you plan to participate in the auction, you need to register. This will give you a number to bid with. I believe it was free to register.

They start auctioning off the prize winning animals of the class. They typically fetch the highest price per pound (this is the unit they auction with) and these animals often go to companies who are specifically supporting that particular 4H member or are simply looking to essentially donate the money. IE - the meat from the prize winner tastes no different than another cow later in the series. So, wait this out.

If you want to bid with someone (splitting a cow), it's usually best to either have this arranged ahead of time by asking around (websites, various 4H groups, etc.) or simply asking around prior to the auction. When you bid together (and each are handling your own cost), you have one person bid who holds up both cards.

Anyhow, the auction is just like any other. You stay in until you want out. Well run IMO. Pricing for beef went for anywhere between $2.10 - $2.50/lb. Most were in the $2.30/lb range (which is what we ended up with). Weights were in the 1000 - 1300 lb range. Also got a pig for $1.25/lb I believe. Weights were 200-310 lbs for the hogs.

This is what you pay on the live weight and goes back to the 4H person for their purchase of their cow. From there, there was a list of three selected butchers (Chucks out of Charles County/Bryan's Road, another in Prince Frederick and a 3rd on the eastern shore .... began with an "S" and has been part of this for years. Just can't remember it off hand). The eastern shore place was the cheapest (but of course, the farthest). For cows, prices were between $0.55-$0.75/lb for processing plus another $35 for a kill fee (Hetzlers). The eastern shore location was right at $0.50/lb and had no kill fee. There may have been a modest delivery fee with all three.

When you "win" your animal, you go to the fair office to pay (check) and pick your butcher. They will apparently call you later in the week to select your cuts. Their charge is based on the hung weight (think field dressed like with deer). This is basically skinned, low limbs/head removed, etc. What you'd see hanging at a butcher or being punched by Rocky.

There are all kinds of "math" formulas out there to determine net meat yield vs live weight but I'm clueless. All in all, the number my buddy mentioned left the unit price (per lb) high for ground beef and low for cuts (steaks, etc.). He's done it many years so he has to believe there is a value there. He usually splits a cow with someone, but even with my family of 5, we just don't eat that much beef in a year.
 
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Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
I'm sorry... we don't eat pork everyday. I think all that's left is some hams and scrapple. You are more than welcome to help yourself to the scrapple.
You sure?..I thought there was still a full box in the bottom of the freezer...below the hams.

You ain't gotta ask me twice to help make the scrapple disappear!! ;-)


Chuckles: Our offices are 15-20 feet apart and we have intercom feature on our office pones..or we can just shout...and instead we're "communicating" via a forum. LMAO..what a world...
 

FED_UP

Active Member
My fathers family cut up a pig in the back your many moons ago, all I remember is eating cracklin that came out of a big old grease pot.
 

Merlin99

Visualize whirled peas
PREMO Member
You sure?..I thought there was still a full box in the bottom of the freezer...below the hams.

You ain't gotta ask me twice to help make the scrapple disappear!! ;-)


Chuckles: Our offices are 15-20 feet apart and we have intercom feature on our office pones..or we can just shout...and instead we're "communicating" via a forum. LMAO..what a world...
I always pictured ItsBob and Badgirl sitting on opposite ends of the couch talking to each other on here.
 

Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
all I remember is eating cracklin that came out of a big old grease pot.
That stuff was like crack to us kids when we were growing up.....processing our own hogs was always a lot of work but there were benefits: Cracklings to munch on...freshly ground sausage to "taste test"...
 

nutz

Well-Known Member
Pondering buying some meat at auction from one of the fairs. Probably a cow but maybe a hog. It’s a lot of meat though! Perhaps a deal could be made to split a cow or pig? We live in Calvert so I’m thinking g the Calvert fair.

I’m fairly clueless on how it all works and the economics of it. Does it really end up cheaper than retail buying at auction? I would be ok with paying some premium to contribute to the 4-H aspect of it but not if it’s crazy town amount.

What’s reasonable to expect for processing costs?
This is about as close to farm to table as it gets.

The upfront costs are what scares most people off. A steer will cost 2000 plus at a 4h auction

With a 1000 lb steer (kinda small actually, but ok for example).
Chuck’s charges 100 for slaughtering, 0.65 for freezer wrap (0.75 for vacuum pack, my preference). You lose, on average 65% of weight with the inedible parts, now down to ~ 650 hanging weight (x per lb. butcher fee). Large bone and fat cuts another ~ 65%, down to ~ 425 packaged weight.


On another note, Would have been nice if the bitchy neighbors would have cooperated with Rick’s
 
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Gilligan

#*! boat!
PREMO Member
The upfront costs are what scares most people off. A steer will cost 2000 plus at a 4h auction
We've got to stroke a check for over $3000 every year when our processed Angus is delivered. It's sooooo much better meat than what you find in most stores, though...
 
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