Custom Whole + Half Beef

the process of buying beef, from field to freezer

 

First things first…

Read over this blog and check out the Halves + Wholes Page in the Resources section about how much meat to expect and sample inventory sheets, how much cooler space you’ll need for pick up, how much freezer space you’ll need for storage, and our guides for filling out the cut sheets. You are about to make an investment – please be sure to learn everything you can using these resources we’ve provided. 


The Timeline and Butcher Date

The butcher date is the day that we, Hayfield Farm, take the live steer to the butcher shop. We all know what happens there. This is the date customers book with us. This is not the pick up date. Beef processing takes approximately four weeks to complete from the butcher date to pick up.

Our Halves + Wholes Page shows the approximate next available butcher date, so you can get a ballpark idea on a timeline. When you fill out your cut sheet and pay your deposit, we will email you your exact butcher date based on our schedule. We must have your cut sheet and deposit to reserve your butcher date for you.


The Cut Sheet

One of the most intimidating pieces of the bulk meat process is the cut sheet. The cut sheet is your custom specifications of how you want each section of the steer to be cut and packaged. Luckily! We have made the cut sheet forms easy to fill out. 

Half Beef Cut Sheet // Whole Beef Cut Sheet


Behind the Scenes at the Butcher Shop

Each farm that works with our local butcher, Fauquier’s Finest, is scheduled at the beginning of the year for their butcher slots. At Hayfield Farm, we send multiple livestock to the butcher each and every month.

Why do you care about that?
#1 …because it gives you an idea on timing if you aren’t ready to book just yet. If our Halves + Wholes Page says that our next available butcher date for beef is early this month, you would be correct in assuming that we have open, unreserved butcher dates for later this month, all next month, and so on.
#2 …because some farms only butcher a certain time of year – but not us! We are lucky enough (thanks to you!) to have a customer base that requires us to raise hogs and steers all year round. 

Our butcher is USDA-inspected. This means that from livestock drop-off to customer pick up, the butcher shop is required to maintain extremely strict humane and cleanliness standards under the constant supervision of a USDA-inspector. 

We deliver the livestock, the butcher takes your cut sheet and dresses, cuts, packs, weighs, labels, and flash freezes all of your beef cuts, according to your specifications. The butcher first breaks down the beef into primal cuts. Chuck (shoulder), midsection, hindquarter (round), etc.
The butcher then cuts off the roasts, loins, ribs, and other sections. Using your cut sheet specifications, the butcher hand trims all of your cuts – this is not done by machine. All of the trimmings go into a pile to be ground for ground beef. If roasts are desired, they are cut to your weight specifications. Steaks are sliced, ribs are trimmed, rounds are shaved (if you desired). You get the idea. 

Once all of the meat is cut, everything is vacuum packed with commercial grade packaging, labeled with the name of the cuts and weight, and flash frozen. Bone guards are used for bone-in cuts to protect packaging from piercing. With proper handling and storage, this grade of vacuum seal keeps beef cuts for over two years. You will not be able to get your beef unfrozen, as this is against USDA standards. 


Pricing

A non-refundable $500.00 deposit is required to reserve a butcher date with us and is paid directly after completing the cut sheet. Please do not complete the cut sheet if you are not prepared to be automatically redirected to pay the $500 deposit immediately afterward. Cut sheets submitted without a deposit are automatically deleted and you will need to fill out and submit a new sheet (and pay the deposit) to book with us. This deposit goes toward your total beef cost. 

The cost is $4.25 per pound on the hanging weight, with all processing fees included. Typical hanging weight on a Hayfield Farm whole beef is 800lbs. Typical hanging weight on a Hayfield Farm half beef is 400lbs. These weights are approximate. 

With a 400lb hanging weight on a half beef, customers can expect to pay $1,700, plus tax, total. With an 800lb hanging weight on a whole beef, customers can expect to pay $3,400, plus tax, total. Please remember hanging weights vary from steer to steer. These weights and pricing are approximate

All payments are made to us, Hayfield Farm. The deposit is paid when you complete the cut sheet. The remaining balance is paid via invoice when your beef is complete, before pick up.

A note from the farmer about hanging weights:

Hanging weights can vary greatly from farm to farm. A farm’s feeding practices, breed selection, live/hanging/finish weight goals, finishing prioritization, etc. all have a great impact on the hanging weight of cattle. At Hayfield Farm, we have very specific goals for our steer’s live weight, hanging weight, and finish weight (the weight of the meat). We prioritize finishing our angus and angus-cross steers at the optimal age of 18-24 months old (that’s a long time!) and at a live weight of 1,200-1,300lbs. Finishing simply means that the steer has gained enough weight and has developed the body composition that make it ideal for market, which means it will produce the amount of beef and quality of beef that is expected from the producer (farmer).

Improper finishing or sending steers to market too early is like painting a wall without primer. Yes, it will work, you will get a painted wall at the end of the day – but is it really the quality that it should be? No. Are you giving respect to the animal that you just raised for meat by not letting it reach it’s full potential? We don’t think so. We invest time, money, and effort into our steers to be sure that they have reached their full potential, at the appropriate age and ideal weight, and will produce the amount of beef and quality of beef that is expected by us and our customers. 

This long-term commitment to our steers pays out in premium beef. 


Pick Up

Once your beef is complete, the butcher notifies us. We will email you immediately with pick up details and send the remaining balance invoice to your email shortly after. 

  • The butcher shop does not give order status updates to us. They will only notify us when your beef is ready for pick up. 
  • Customers are required to pay the remaining balance invoice prior to pick up
  • Pick up is at the butcher shop – not at Hayfield Farm. 
  • Customers are required to pick up their meat from the butcher shop within seven (7) business days of notification.

The butcher shop, Fauquier’s Finest, is located at 11746 Ag Industrial Drive, Bealeton VA. Pick up hours are Monday-Friday 9am-4pm. 

When you arrive, check in at the front office by letting them know you are picking up beef for *your last name* under Hayfield Farm. You do not owe the butcher any payment. The staff will hand you an inventory sheet and direct you to the loading dock. They will roll out your cart filled with beef and you will load up your coolers before heading home to stock your freezer with natural, local, delicious beef!


Thank you so much for supporting your local farmer!