Hanging Weight versus Final Weight

Several people have asked me about the difference between hanging weight versus final weight (what they take home). So I will try to explain.

Hanging weight (or rail weight) is what you would see hanging in the butcher's cooler.  It is after the hide, organs etc. have been removed.  Most farmers sell it by the hanging weight since it is a hard number to measure it by.  There is no advantage of trying to make an animal heavier to gain more pounds like it could be with a live weight (as they are standing).

Most hanging weights are going to be 60% - 65% of live weight.  However, based on your cutting instructions (bone-in or deboned and how much fat is trimmed) the final weight (or take home weight) is going to be less than the hanging weight.  This is going to be approximately 60 to 65% of the hanging weight.  This would be comparable to what you find in the grocery store.

So, as an example and using round numbers, here is a comparison of hanging weight converted to final weight and prices.  Again, these will all vary based on several factors but would get one close.

1/4 hanging weight is 200#'s and it cost $3.00/pound = $600.

200 #s of processing at $.60/pound = $120

Total cost of 1/4 = $720

Take home at 60% of 200#'s would be 120 lbs.

Final price = $6.00/pound for hamburgers, roasts, all steaks, etc.

Plus, you know where it comes from, how it was raised and where it is processed.  Remember, these aren't actual prices.  But the math works the same.