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Grain Fed Freezer Beef Pricing Worksheet


April 1, 2024 - Beef Team

Grain Fed Freezer Beef Pricing Worksheet Sample

Beef  Pricing Example: Avg. Choice Retail Price $7.20/lb. (1/2023)

Live Weight of Steer ________________1300 lbs.        (this weight is often not known)

Dressing Percentage___________________63%           (Beef 62- 64%, Holstein 58-60%)

Carcass Weight Chilled _____________   819 lbs.        (1,300 x 0.63)           

Carcass Price_______________________$3.00 /lb.      (agreed upon $ - buyer & seller)    Final Carcass Price  _________________ $2,457          (819 x $3.00)

Live Weight Market Price Comparison__ $1.50/lb.       ($1,950/1,300# live animal)

Product Pricing Calculation

Carcass Weight     _____________________ 819 lbs.

Carcass Yield        ______________________68%              (see yield grades below)

Final Packaged Weight ________________556.92 lbs.        (819 lbs. x  0.68)

Harvesting Cost______________________ $100.00            (packer average cost)

Processing & Packaging Cost   __________$573.30             (819 lbs. x $0.70/lb.)

Total Packaged Carcass Value __________ $3,130.30                  (2,457+$100+$573.30)
Final Packaged Price __________________$5.62/lb.                      ($3130.30/556.92 lbs.)

For value comparison between this freezer beef packaged price of $5.62/lb. and the average retail price of $7.20/lb., freezer beef is priced 22% lower than retail

[1 – ($5.62/$7.20)].

Dressing Percentage   

Steers average 63% and heifers average 62%.  You can use these percentages to estimate price but actual sale is commonly based on certified scale weight of the carcass at the slaughter facility just before cutting.

Yield Grades   

Determined by four factors: (Hot Carcass Weight, 12th Rib Fat Thickness, Ribeye Area, Kidney Pelvic & Heart Fat).  The resulting carcass cutting loss is composed of mainly fat and bone trim in addition to moisture shrink in the cooler.

Yield Grade 1   Carcass yield 80% or higher retail cuts

Yield Grade 2   Carcass yield 75-79% retail cuts

Yield Grade 3   Carcass yield 70-74% retail cuts

Yield Grade 4   Carcass yield 65-69% retail cuts

Yield Grade 5   Carcass yield less than 65% retail cuts

The determination of a carcass yield grade is usually not necessary to sell freezer beef.

Packing Fee

Cutting and Wrapping generally runs between $.55 and $.80/ pound of carcass wt.

Variables include packaging type, package size, specialty cutting, etc. Pricing is generally be higher/pound when cold carcass weights are used compared to hot carcass weights.

Higher yield grades (lower yield number) result in more pounds of retail product generally resulting in more value.

USDA Quality Grades

USDA Prime: The lean is highly marbled and usually very tender and juicy.  External fat may be excessive.
USDA Choice: The lean is average in marbling and usually tender and juicy.  External fat is variable.

USDA Select: The lean contains some marbling.  Tenderness, juiciness and flavor can be highly variable.  Not much exterior fat.

USDA Standard: Very lean. Little or not marbling, tenderness and juiciness are extremely variable.

USDA Commercial, Utility, Cutter, Canner: Generally applies to older animals and not utilized for burger and 

The determination of a carcass quality grade is usually not necessary to sell freezer beef.

Purchasing Selective Cuts:

Often customers want an alternative to the standard ¼ or ½ of the carcass.  For many families, freezer space or budgets don’t allow for large quantities to be purchased at one time.  They may desire to only buy certain cuts.   In these cases, you can add more value buy subdividing the product into value boxes or special packages.  This is another way to increase the value of your product.

Freezer Beef Sales Regulations

The sale of freezer beef is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.  Be sure you understand and follow the law before you commence sale activities.

Updated beef retail pricing can be found at the USDA link below.

This worksheet breaks down each of the variables and provides examples on pricing.


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