Go West Ranch
O
ur Beef

By running our own cow/calf operation, we can guarantee that the beef you buy for your family was born, raised and harvested without ever being mistreated or kept in a feedlot.

We do not give our cattle any grain, hormones, steroids or sub-therapeutic antibiotics and they are fed an all-natural diet which contains no animal by-products, GMO's or antibiotics.

During the growing season, our cattle enjoy being rotated daily to new lush, irrigated, multi-species pasture; in the winter months our cattle continue to be moved across stockpiled pasture and are supplemented with non-GMO hay which we raise ourselves. We do not use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizer on either our pasture or our hay.

You might be wondering what makes our beef different from the beef available at the grocery store?

All of our cattle are raised and handled with individuality and understanding. We like our cattle as gentle as possible because a calm, trusting animal not only proves to our customers that they are treated with care and patience, but we firmly believe that every ounce of kindness given returns a pound of better beef to the producer.

Introduction to ranch raised beef, the field butcher and meat cutter or processor.  

Customers who buy a live animal from a local cattle producer are sometimes surprised at the quantity of meat amount of freezer space needed to store their meat in, or they do not understand why they did not receive the entire live weight of the animal in meat cuts.  The amount of meat actually available from a steer is a common source of misunderstanding.  We believe in transparency and will guide you, our customer, through this process.

A term used in the cattle and meat cutting industry, "dressing percentage", is the portion of the live animal weight that results in the hot carcass.  This is calculated as:

(hot carcass weight ÷ the live animal weight) × 100

The hot carcass weight (HCW) is the weight of the uncoiled carcass in pounds after the head, hid and internal organs have been removed by the field butcher.  For most cattle the HCW is between 60 to 64 percent of the live animal slaughter weight; however, this can vary.

Like us, all beef animals are not the same, therefore, the dressing percentage will change from each animal.  Some primary factors that can influence the dressing percentage include the type of animal in terms of breed, live weight anyhow it was finished by the rancher.  At Go West Ranch, we grass finish our cattle.  In Table 1, you can see the relative average dressing percentage for various types of beef animals.  

When you buy a steer from us, we use the HCW as weighed by the processor when the field butcher delivers the carcass.  A beef carcass is 70 to 75 percent water and as it chills water evaporation causes the weight to decrease.  It is not uncommon for a chilled carcass to lose 2 to 5 percent of the HCW.  For example a 750-pound hot carcass may lose 20 pounds or more in the first 24 hours of chilling.

After the carcass is cooled in the aging process, the carcass will be separated into hind and front quarters.  The quarters are then further processed down into "primal" or wholesale cuts.  The processor calls this "breaking down the carcass".  In beef animals, primal cuts in the front-quarter are the rib chuck, shank, brisket and plate; the hind quarter is composed of the flank, round and loin (short loin and sirloin).  

In Figure 1 depicts the typical weights and percent of a chilled carcass for the various primal cuts of beef from a 750-pound hot carcass.  "Thick" primal cuts are the round, loin, rib and chuck.  The other primal cuts are referred to as "thin" cuts.

Factors affecting yield which affect the dressing percentage:
At Go West Ranch we showcase the treatment of our herd of Angus/Limousin crossed cattle, which by breed is a highly muscled animal.  A stressed animal causes tough meat and grain finishing an animal adds lays of fat and fat marbling in the cuts of meat.  

Aging - Two major advantages of again meat is the improvement in tenderness and the enhancement of a "beefy" flavor.  Typically a carcass is aged for seven to 10 days.  Our processor, Murray's Meat, ages the carcass for two weeks to optimize tenderness.  Long-term aging can have a negative effect on the carcass yield.  With longer aging times, there is more weight loss to the carcass due to moisture evaporation and dehydration to the carcass surface.  These dry, leathery areas are subsequently trimmed away resulting in lowering the carcass yield.  

Carcass Fat - External carcass fat will have the greatest impact on the percentage of product.  As more fat is trimmed away by the processor, less weight will be in the packages of meat and consequently a lower percentage of cuts from the carcass.

Carcass muscularity - Superior carcass muscling can increase the percentage of product.  Dairy-type animals with lower lean-to-bone ratios will typically yield lower than beef-type animals; therefore, carcass fat has the greater impact on decreasing yield while carcass muscularity's increases yield.  

Cutting style - Cutting directions given tot he processor can affect carcass yields.  The major effects of cutting style can be explained by the amount of bone-in versus boneless cuts, trimming of cuts and the amount of fat in the ground beef.  Bone can weight quite a lot, the more bone that is left in the cuts results in more packaged meat weight and thus an increase in the percentage yield.  If the chuck and round roasts are boneless, the rib is cut entirely into boneless steaks, the loin is cut into tenderloin and strip steaks, and the short ribs put into ground beef, then considerable bone weight has been removed and the percent of cus will be much lower.  Going to a 1/8-inch trim or a no-trim (no external fat) on the cuts or producing an extra lean ground beef will also lower the percentage of take-home product.

Sub-primal Meat Cuts - According to the publication titled "Beef Cuts:  Primal & Sub-primal Weights and Yields" produced by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the round typically makes up 22 percent of the hot carcass.  For example a 750-pound carcass, the round will weigh approximately 165-pounds and may be further cut into 132 pounds of meat packaged for consumption.   That is, approximately 20 percent of the round lost to fat and bone.  The round can be processed into the following sub-primal cuts:
1.  Top round
2.  Bottom round
3.  Eye of round
4.  Tip (Knuckle)
5.  Ground beef
6.  Stew meat

Average amount of meat from each Sub-primal cut - Less than half of the live animal's wight at harvest is available for cuts of take-home beef.  For example, a carcass of 750 pounds, after processing and de-boning will yield approximately 527 pounds of meat for consumption.  Table 2 represents an estimate of the amount of meat to expect from your purchase.

Figure 2 below represents the amount of meat that can result from each primal and sub-primal beef cut.

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