How much meat can I expect to get?

Please note, all examples are estimates only. Dressing percentage and yield will vary from animal to animal.

Short Answer:

Quarter Beef - 100 to 110 lbs.

Half Beef - 200 to 220 lbs.

Whole Beef - 403 to 443 lbs.

Quick Explanation:

There are two factors associated with how much you will pay and how much meat you will get: Hot Carcass Weight and Yield


Hot Carcass Weight - is the amount you pay for.  For our example we will use an average of 62% of live weight. A butcher ready animal weighs 1300, you would pay for 806 lbs for a whole beef. 

Yield - is the amount of meat that goes into your freezer after having been cut to your specifications. This is generally 50%-55% of the Hot Carcass Weight (with a margin  on either side). On a whole animal you are putting approximately 403 lbs of meat in your freezer.

Here is another way of explaining it:

The average ready-to-butcher animal weighs 1,300 pounds. This varies on every animal, depending on breed, finishing and management of the producer marketing the animal.

Once the animal is butchered and hide, head and internal organs removed, it usually weighs about 62 percent of the live weight. This is called the hanging weight, hot carcass weight, or HCW for short. On a 1,300 pound animal, HCW would be approximately 806 pounds.

Most producers figure the quarter/half/whole price based on the hanging weight.

After the beef hangs and ages for two to three weeks, which tenderizes and develops flavor in the meat (and also shrinks a little as some of the water evaporates) the carcass is broken down further, and excess bone, connective tissue and fat are removed.

Once the animal hangs, the butcher cuts according to customer specifics.  Yield - the amount going into your freezer - averages between 50% and 55% of hanging weight, with a margin on either side.

Here is a link with even more information for you to study: