COST OF A
SIDE OF BEEF
How much will I get; what will it cost?
Have you wondered if it would save your family money to purchase a quarter or half beef for use throughout the year vs. running to the grocery store each time you find a beef recipe you're dying to try? Let's look at how our animals are priced and how you can compare that to what's available at the store.
We start with live weight -- this is how much the animal weighs when it arrives at the processor. Once the animal is slaughtered, its hide, head, and internal organs are removed, and the meat hangs in a cooler for at least two weeks to improve tenderness and flavor. This rail/hanging weight is mostly meat, but there are still bones and excess fat that you can't do much with in terms of meal prep. Following the aging process, your meat is cut and packaged per your specifications, and your final product or finish weight is ready to enjoy.
Full Freezer = Happy Family
What does that all mean?
When you purchase a side of beef from Eck Agriculture, your price per side is based on rail weight. Once that weight is multiplied by the cost per pound, and the fees from the processor (kill fee and per pound processing fees) are added, you can anticipate paying roughly $6.50 - $8.00 per pound of meat in your freezer, without differentiating between the various cuts. That means you're spending $7.50 per pound of hamburger (comparable to most retailers), but you're also receiving a High Choice to Prime ribeye steak for only $7.50 per pound. Try finding that deal at the grocery store!
ECK BEEF VS.
It's not all created equal...
So, you're tired of paying the inflated prices for marginal-quality, unknown-origin beef from the grocery store. You're in the right place! But, let's be honest, there are lots of people selling home-raised beef these days. What questions should you be asking about your order? And what exactly is it going to cost you to purchase a side of our delicious beef?
Here are some important things to consider and let's see how Eck Ag beef stacks up against the competition:
What is the history of the animal? Some producers will purchase calves from the sale barn to finish as butcher beef. Some lockers will outsource their butcher beef to various farms. Where that calf was born, how it was raised, what it was fed, and what medications it received may all be unknown. That is not the case with Eck Ag cattle. Our animals are born and raised on our land. Complete records by tag number are meticulously kept. We know in which pasture each animal grazed throughout the year. No hormones or steroids are ever administered. The quality of life of our animals is important - we even have finishing pens designed to be low-stress. Trust us, it makes a difference.
How old is the animal/beef? Typically, we are slaughtering two-year old steers and heifers. At this level of maturity, and if the appropriate amount of marbling (intramuscular fat) is present, our animals are eligible for a "prime" USDA grading.
What is the length and process of preparation for slaughter?
Our steers are pulled off grass and fed our finishing ration for 120-150 days. The length of time on grain directly correlates to the amount/quality of marbling, resulting in increased flavor and tenderness. Our open heifers are grass fed only, pulled directly from pasture to go to processing.
If you have additional questions, or are concerned about the grain-finish process, please allow us to tell you more, or ask about our grass fed heifers.
What is the average size/weight of an animal? Commonly, you find prices for halves and quarters of beef that initially appear very reasonable, but are you ever told the age or weight of those animals, or the amount of packaged meat you'll receive? The price per pound of finished cuts may actually be much higher than you think.
Here's what we can tell you about our beef:
On average, our two-year olds weigh 800-900lbs on the rail (hanging weight). They typically dress at around 50% of that rail weight. This equals 400 - 450 lbs / whole beef of cut and wrapped meat ready for your freezer, or approximately 100 lbs / quarter or 200 lbs / half. Depending on the live weight of the animal, each pound of beef costs $6.50-$8.00.
How big of a freezer do I need for my meat? This is one of the most frequently asked questions. Here's a helpful article to answer your questions and help you determine if your freezer is big enough - Freezer Frenzy Article.
What type of beef are you getting? We proudly raise certified Red Angus beef. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of meat from our animals versus a thinner breed (think dairy cattle) or an older animal. We also are excited to be breeding Akaushi beef at the moment. We will have some of the best beef in the country available right here in Kingman, KS in 2023!