Friday, May 26, 2017

Beef in the Freezer?: Part 2: The Money End of the Deal

In my last post, we chatted about where to look for farmers or producers to find beef for your freezer. The next question to explore is

"How much does it cost to buy freezer beef?"

I am going to talk about the way Tall Guy and I figure beef prices for our customers.  There may be other ways to figure it, but I'm going to stick with what I know.

You will pay the farmer for the beef and the processor for the cutting and packaging of the meat!

We are the farmer end of this deal.  Once a cow is filled, meaning all parts are spoken for, we usually wait until the day Tall Guy takes the group to the processor to determine a price per pound.  On that day, we check the market value of live cattle and set the price.  You can keep an eye on beef prices by visiting any grain/livestock business.  We keep Brownfield Ag News on our phones and check prices, at least grain prices, 2-3 times a day.  If you go to this page and click on Markets, you will see a page like this

When you see these prices, you are paying for the whole cow.  This means everything from the horns, if they have them, to the tail.  Let's look at the June price for Live Cattle, and round up $1.23.9 to $1.24 a pound.  Tall Guy will usually add $.05 to that price to help cover the cost of feed, so now we are at $1.29 a pound.

The market weight of our beef cows averages around 1200 pounds.  We have some bigger, and some are smaller, but 1200 pounds is where we like them to be.  1200 pounds x $1.29 = $1,548.00 for all the meat off of one cow.  Half of that would be $774.00, and a quarter of the cow comes to $387.00.
Of the 1200 pound cow, 64% (an average) is edible meat.  In a 1200 pound cow, you would have 768 pounds of meat, a half would be 384 pounds, and a quarter would be 192 pounds of meat.

TG adds $5.00 for every quarter of beef or $20 a cow for transportation to the processor.  If you were buying a quarter of beef from us in June, we would quote you an estimated price of $392.00 payable to us before your beef is picked up from the processor.  If you follow cattle prices at all, you know that they are volatile at times, so that number can fluctuate between now and the date your beef arrives at the processor.

The processors have their own formulas for figuring the cost of processing, and I cannot speak to that specific number.  I can tell you though, that our processing cost for our last quarter of beef was around $150.00.   That would give the buyer at total estimated cost right around $542.00 to have a quarter of beef sitting in your freezer.

We should take a moment and talk about freezers because a quarter of beef will take up more room than most of your refrigerator freezers have.  If you are considering buying beef in bulk, you might also think about buying a chest or upright freezer.  If you just want to store your meat in the freezer, you might like a chest freezer like the ones here.  I grew up with a chest freezer, and about the only negative I can say about them is I was always afraid my mom would fall in ours.  See she is 4'9 1/2" and has to step on a small stool to get to the bottom of the freezer.  It was kind of a family joke ;-)
You might want to look at an upright freezer if you are vertically challenged like my mom, or you want to see everything in your freezer without digging.

Here is what a quarter of beef looks like in my upright meat freezer:

I could easily get all this meat onto two shelves, but I spaced them out so you could better see how much of each selection a quarter of beef provides.

Hamburger stacked on the bottom,

Roasts and boiling beef on one shelf,

and steaks on the next shelf.

As a bonus for making it this far, I am going to share with you one of my all-time favorite hamburger recipes:  Cheeseburger Pie!

Printable recipe

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 pie crust, baked
  • 1 lb. hamburger (or a bit more!) browned and de-greased
  • 3/4 C. onion (TG doesn't like 'em so I left them out. I LOVE onions!)
  • 1 large can mushrooms
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. Italian seasoning ( I used "a bit" more than that!)
  • 1 C. pizza sauce
  • 1 C. or more shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour all ingredients except pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baked pie shell. Bake for 40-45 minutes. at 350.
  2. Take out, add pizza sauce over pie, and bake 10 minutes more.
  3. Take out, cover the top with mozzarella cheese and set back in the oven to melt (TURN OVEN OFF!)
  4. Remove when cheese is melted and let cool and set for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve, and enjoy!
Once you have decided on the amount of meat your family needs, the last step is to choose your cuts of meat.  My next post will take you step by step through an order sheet, and I will explain each choice and give you some guidance on what you should think about as you make your selections.

To view all four posts in this series, use these links:   Part 1    Part 3     Wrap-up

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