The beef Exchange

cheaper than retail more convenient than wholesale

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  • During the 14-day dry-aging process (carcasses hanging in the cooler before cutting and packaging), the carcass will shrink a total of 4 to 6 percent from the original HCW. Additional moisture and trimming losses can be expected as carcasses are broken down into retail cuts and ground beef. Specific cutting instructions (boneless vs. bone-in; 90 vs. 80% lean ground beef; roasts vs. ground beef; use of flank steaks and brisket vs. ground beef; etc.) will affect both the amount of beef product (retail yield) and type of cuts placed into packages.



A general rule of thumb for carcass beef is

25% bone and trim loss,

25% steaks,

25% roasts, 

25% ground beef.

The packaged beef take home weight is approximately 40 percent of the animal’s live weight, or 75 percent of the HCW.

The forequarter represents approximately 55% of HCW.

The hindquarter represents approximately 45%.

A 1300-pound Grade 3 steer yields an 806 pound carcass and 638 pounds of retail cuts (79%)

Of the 638 pounds of retail cuts:

59% are roasts and steaks

41% is ground beef and stew meat






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