Go West Ranch

Q:  When we're talking beef, how much beef are we talking?

A:  We typically raise our steers from 1,000 to 1,400 pounds live weight.  Hanging weight, which determines the price you pay per pound, is usually about 60% of the live weight.  So, to determine an estimate of what you can expect to pay for your beef, ask us for a current price per pound and an approximate live weight on one of our steers.  Now, multiply the price by the live weight, then multiply that total by 0.6.  

The number you get will be the estimated price for a whole beef sold at hanging weight. (Half a beef will cost half this much.)

Generally, a whole beef will weigh between 600 and 840 pounds hanging; half would weigh 300 to 420 pounds.

Q:  What is the difference between hanging weight and how much meat actually ends up in the freezer?

A:  It all depends on how you have the butcher cut it for you.  Typically, a carcass will lose between 25-40% of the hanging weight by the time it is packaged.  We recommend you ask the butcher about this before you buy your first locker beef, just so you will not be confused about the difference in hanging weight and cut and wrapped weight.

Q:  Where are your steers butchered?

A:  Our butcher, Stacy McCorkle, comes out to our corral with his mobile farm-slaughter unit.  To help keep the animal calm during this time, we feed them high quality, non GMO alfalfa, which we also grow for our herd.  This keeps them very calm (they actually don't have a clue that anything's amiss) and they don't have to go thru the high-stress situations that most cattle endure on the way to the meat packer.  Stressed animals, like humans, will dump large amount of cortisol into system in stressful times.  Cortisol when introduced into the body will retain a bad flavor in their meat when they are butchered.  Our corral is not viewed by our cows as a "bad place" where bad things happen to them.  It is, in fact, one of their favorite places on the ranch, and they tend to congregate and lounge around inside it!  Their water trough and mineral/salt lick are located in the corral, and they love to rub and scratch themselves on the posts and panels and even the "headgate" (where we catch them when one needs hands-on attention).

Q:  How old are your steers when they are butchered?

A:  Their ages will vary somewhat, depending on whether they were among the first calves born the previous year, or the last, as well as variables such as available butcher dates, and just regular supply and demand issues.  We typically harvest steers between 24 and 30 months of age; the flavor difference between our beef and typical "grassfed" beef that was harvested too young to have a proper finish on grass will taste amazing!

Q:  How are your animals treated differently than the ones that end up on the supermarket shelves?

A:  The majority of cattle produced in this country are simply regarded as money in somebody's pocket, and very little time or effort is expended in trying to treat these animals with dignity or gratitude for the return they give on investment.  A major difference in our product vs. what you buy in the store comes from the way we treat our cattle.  Our cows take good care of us, giving us big healthy calves every year, and we take good care of them.  We constantly work towards having a good trust relationship with our cows, and our management practices reflect this.  On the rare occasion that we have to work any of our cows or calves in a corral, they're patiently handled with care to prevent injury from being run thru a chute.  Bad experiences with humans are long remembered by a cow, so we take extra steps to avoid hurting our relationship with them.  Our cows are trained from birth that humans are friends, protectors and providers; because of the way we treat our animals, they trust us and demonstrate this in ways such as allowing us to handle their newborn calves without fear that we are going to hurt them and by being trained to come when called.

Talking softly to cattle that know your voice calms them, and our cows are so calm some will even talk back when spoken to!  Several cows and calves in our herd love to have their heads and backs scratched and will come over to the fence just to say hi and be curious.  We see, care for, and care about our cows as individuals.

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