January 27, 2023

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Is it worth buying a quarter cow?

Large animals such as cows are often sold quarter, half or whole by farmers.

This is a “special sale” and your neighbor farmer has given the go-ahead for direct sale. Depending on the federal state, this can legally mean that you buy a “cow share” as opposed to individual, specific sections. Technically, you’re buying an animal “on the hoof” while it’s still alive and before a butcher can process it.

Farmers generally require a deposit before agreeing to harvest the cow in order to take orders for a cow share. A farmer can therefore track consumer orders, manage their inventory, and coordinate processing appointments with a butcher. Your cow share is “weighed” (aka “hanging weight”) after the cow’s harvest before being broken down into specific pieces.

A quarter cow can weigh anywhere from 160 to 225 pounds (depending on age, breed and feed). Your cost of this stock would range from $800 to $1125 if the hanging weight were priced at $5 per pound. You can expect your cow share to be divided, bagged, tagged and frozen.

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You should be aware that when you buy a quarter cow, you’re not just paying for a single steak or roast, you’re paying for the hanging weight of the animal. Expect to lose 25-40% of your cow cut in the 14-28 days of hanging (moisture loss but better flavor!) and slaughtering (removing skin, gristle, bones, etc.).

Let’s say your quarter cow is 33% “lighter” than the initial hanging weight after the cuts and age. Meat to go would likely weigh between 120 and 160 pounds. (in relation to the original weight minus 33%). This means you have 4-5 grocery bags of various cuts (including New York steak, roast, and ground beef) and the calculation for your takeout meat is around $7-$8 per pound.

Complete collapse

There are no additional charges for meat you take home. For example, you pay $5 per pound of hanging weight. The amount of meat that can be taken home varies by breed, method of slaughter, length of hanging, etc. The weight of the hanging animal is calculated immediately after harvest and hanging. Cows “hang” 14-28 days after being weighed. This is the perfect choice and enhances the taste. Meat that can be taken home weighs 25-40% less than what is hung. This is typically due to moisture loss on hanging, breed (ratio of meat to bone and non-meat), and waste generated from gristle, bones, and slaughter. Once the final takeout meat has been weighed, the average price is determined and divided by the original quarter share payment. We have charged take-home beef at $7-8 per pound for the aforementioned situation. This includes everything from tenderloin and New York steaks to ground beef and roasts. There should be a variety of steaks, roasts, ground beef and stew meat. About half of your meat is used for ground beef and stew, 1/4 for roasts (chuck, shoulder, rump, roast beef, etc.) and 1/4 for steaks (roast beef, prime rib, T-bone, tenderloin). mignon, fillet, etc.).


Whether you buy a whole cow or a quarter cow is entirely up to you. If you are an individual living alone, it may be impossible to purchase a complete cow; Still, a quarter cow can work just for you. On the other hand, a large, meat-eating family may find that a whole cow doesn’t even keep them year-round.