The amount it costs to butcher a cow depends on several factors, including the country you’re in, whether that be the USA, UK, New Zealand, or elsewhere; the state you’re in if you live in the USA; the weight of the cow you want to be butchered; how you want the meat processed, as well as a couple of other costs too.
As an average, it costs between $0.50 to $0.90 per hanging weight pound to butcher a cow, though this doesn’t take into account any additional costs you might pay. In total, to butcher a cow you can expect to pay between $500-$700.
Let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of costs.
The Cost of Butchering a Cow – A Breakdown
The kill charge is the fee paid to slaughter, gut, and skin the cow to get it down to hanging weight. You can expect to pay between $70 to $100 for this.
One thing to keep in mind is that the cost for skinning and gutting can vary per butcher. Some butchers won’t charge extra for skinning and gutting (or at least it would have already been factored into the price) unless you want the cow skinned in a certain way.
Cut and Wrap Fee
Like most costs when it comes to butchering a cow, the cut and wrap fee is largely determined by geographical location.
In more rural areas, where there are more butchers and farmers, you can expect to pay $0.50 to $0.75 per hanging pound weight. In areas that are closer to cities where demand may outweigh supply, expect to pay as much as $1.00 per pound of hanging weight.
Whether you’re in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, or any other US State, the proximity to the city matters.
Some butchers will come to you while others require you to transport the cow to them. If the butcher is coming to you then this should already be factored into your pricing.
If you’re going to them then you need to consider all the transportation costs involved, which could amount to $0.50 to $1.00 per mile.
Again some butchers will shrink wrap everything and the cost will already be factored in (you might have started to notice a pattern at this point).
Other butchers charge extra – as much as $0.50-$0.75 per pound.
If you require any special processing, such as processing the meat into beef sticks, jerky, or sausages, you can expect to pay additional costs.
3 Ways to Save Money When Getting Your Cow Butchered
- Shop Around: Even if you live in an area with just a couple of butchers, it’s always worth shopping around and getting a few estimates. As long as you know the weight of the cow you want to be butchered, you should be able to receive a solid estimate.
- Build Relationships: Every butcher needs to make a living, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t treat some customers better than others. If you build a solid relationship with your butcher, sometimes they are happy to offer you small discounts, especially for repeat business.
- Spread the Word: Striking a deal with your butcher whereby you get a discount if you spread the word and recommend their services to others and they get a new customer out of it is common. This has worked for others and will continue to work.
How Much Meat Can You Get From Butchering a Cow?
Some people think that if a cow weighs 1,000 pounds then you will get nearly 1,000 pounds of meat. Unfortunately, this number is a long way off.
As a significant amount of a cow’s weight comes from its bones, fat and hide, you can expect to receive approximately 40% of its live weight. So, a 1,000-pound cow will get you 400 pounds of meat. Or a 1,200-pound steer will get you 480 pounds of meat.
This is calculated as follows:
- The percent of the live cow weight that becomes carcass weight is approximately 62-64%
- From that carcass, you can then expect an expected yield of retail cuts 55% to 75%
It’s no surprise that some cuts, especially boneless steaks and roasts, cost significantly more than others.
How Much Can You Sell a Butchered Cow For?
Whether you’re selling halves, quarters, or single cuts, it is important to first know your cost of production.
Once you have worked this out, you can expect to make about $4.00-$5.00 per pound if you are selling direct to consumers, which should result in a tidy profit.