Meat hanging in the first cooler room of the processing facility. Freshly slaughtered animals are on the left, day-old animals on the right.

Source: Wikipedia

Learn about the terminology that farmers use regarding meat weight.

Understanding Weights & Pricing

Farmers may discuss three different weights with consumers: live weight, hot carcass weight (HCW) also called hanging weight, and final weight (also called retail weight and take home weight). Here are the definitions of those terms.

Live weight- the weight of the entire, living animal

HCW- the weight taken immediately after slaughter, but before final trim. HCW ≈ 60% of live weight.

Final weight- the "take home" weight after trim and cutting into useable portions. Final weight ≈ 65% of HCW.

For example: If Live weight = 1100 lbs.

then HCW ≈ 660 lbs.

and Final weight ≈ 430 lbs.of meat

Some farms base their pricing on HCW, which confuses some consumers.

For example: If the price is $2.50/lb. HCW

and the HCW = 660 lbs.

then the price/lb. is $3.85/lb. for the 430 lbs. you take home.

(assuming 660 HCW at 65% yield).

Last updated December 8, 2014