If you’re not a farmer or a butcher, how are you supposed to know how much meat is in a half cow?

How many steak cuts should you expect? Are you going to be drowning in ground beef?

First things first. While farmers have target weights, cattle are not perfect clones of each other. How much meat you get in a half cow (or whole cow) depends on what that specific animal yields. Additionally, when buying a whole or half cow, each section is custom cut by the customer’s specifications. All examples provided here are just that, examples of what past customers have chosen.

At Hayfield Farm, our pricing for half/whole beef is based on the hanging weight. Most farms price their bulk meat this way. Hanging weight is the weight of the carcass, after it is cleaned and on the hook in the cold room. How much a half cow or whole cow hangs at varies from farm to farm. It depends on the breed, age, and feeding practices.

At Hayfield Farm, our whole beef hang at approximately 800 pounds and our half beef hang at approximately 400 pounds. You can expect approximately 600-650 pounds of meat from a whole cow and 250-300 pounds of meat from a half cow.

The difference in the hanging weight and the weight of the meat, or finish weight, is the parts of the carcass that are not made into product. This would be the bones that aren’t included in cuts, organs if they are not chosen, extra fat, tendons, and other trimmings that are not ideal for eating.

Below are a few inventory sheets from previous whole and half beef orders. These examples will give you an idea for how much meat you can expect from a half cow or whole cow. Since customers get to choose their own cuts, you’ll see some variances.

Whole Beef 
13 packs of stew meat
2 packs of marrow bones
129 pounds of ground beef, 1lb packs
4 half untrimmed briskets
8 packs of korean style ribs
3 packs of 2″ short ribs
11 packs of osso bucco
31 bone-in ribeye, 1″
51 pounds of ground chuck, 1lb packs
5 boneless chuck roast, 3-4lbs
12 flat irons
10 chuck eye
2 whole flanks
7 porterhouses, 1″
7 T-bones, 1″
22 boneless filet, 1″
14 NY strip, 1″
32 boneless petite sirloin strips, 1″
4 half eye round roasts
4 top round roasts, 3-4lbs
8 london broil
3 bottom round roasts, 3-4lbs
8 packs of cube steaks
7 sirloin tip roasts, 3-4lbs
2 whole tri tip
1 tongue
2 skirt steaks
3 packs of ox tail
1 hanging tender
14 packs of liver
4 packs of heart
2 packs of kidney

Half Beef
9 packs of stew meat
17 packs of 1/3 burger patties
29 pounds of ground beef, 1lb packs
1 whole trimmed brisket
4 packs of 2″ short ribs
4 packs of osso bucco
16 3/4″ boneless delmonico
50 pounds of ground chuck, 1lb packs
10 ranch steaks
6 flat irons
11 boneless filet, 3/4″
20 NY strip, 3/4″
7 bone-in sirloin steaks, 3/4″
3 packs of kabob meat
7 london broil
4 bottom round roast, 2-3lbs
1 whole tri tip
1 tongue
1 skirt steak
1 hanging tender
10 packs of liver
2 packs of kidney

Half Beef
10 packs of stew meat
3 packs of marrow bones
8 packs of beef fat
32 pounds of ground beef, 1lb packs
2 untrimmed half briskets
6 packs of soup bones
12 bone-in ribeye, 1″
44 pounds of ground chuck, 1lb packs
6 flat irons
4 chuck eye steaks
1 whole flank
12 boneless filet, 1″
9 NY strip, 1″
12 boneless petite sirloin strips, 1″
2 half eye round roasts
3 top round roasts, 3-4lbs
2 bottom round roasts, 3-4lbs
3 sirloin tip roasts, 3-4lbs
1 whole tri tip