Hanging weight is the weight of the beef animal after it has been field dressed but before it has been aged, cut, packaged and frozen.
We use this weight measurement because we are not selling individual retail cuts but instead are selling by the halve or whole animal. Each piece doesn't need to be weighed which is reflected in the lower cost compared to individual retail cuts.
As a general rule on a well finished 100% grass-fed steer, the hanging weight is 60% of the live weight and the cut and packaged meat is on average about 66% of the hanging weight. Here is the math:
1000 lbs live weight x .6 = 600 lbs hanging weight x .66 = 396 lbs packaged meat weight on a whole beef animal. This is a general rule. If the beef animal is overly fat, the hanging weight to packaged meat yield is lower because more is trimmed off. If there isn't enough fat, the yield is also lower because there is more bone per fat/muscle.
For a 1000-pound steer, the approximate hanging weight would be 600 pounds, giving you a purchase price of $2,400. With that estimated hanging weight, processing fees will be $555, giving you a total purchase price of $2,955.
With a typical yield of 66% of the hanging weight, you should take home about 400 pounds of cut beef for a final cost of $7.39 per pound. Your cost is based on hanging weight and your final yield will vary due to moisture loss during dry aging and your specific cut selections.
For a 500-pound half of a 1000-pound steer, the approximate hanging weight would be 300 pounds, giving you a purchase price of $1,500. With that estimated hanging weight, processing fees will be $275, for a total cost of $1,775. With a yield of approximately 200 pounds of cut beef, total cost would be $8.87 per pound.
Each piece will be vacuum sealed in a one or two pack (depending on your choices) in clear packaging and labeled with the name of the cut.
Many people ask how much freezer storage space they will need. As a general rule of thumb you should plan for 1 cubic foot of freezer space per 35-40 pounds of meat. (1 cubic foot of space is roughly the size of a full large brown grocery bag.) For example, a half beef share final product weighs approximately 190-210 pounds. So you should plan for 4.75-5.5 cubic feet.