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Do you eat your own meat produce, beef in particular?

  • 29-10-2021 2:20pm
    Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭

    Do you eat you're own beef or lamb?

    What's you experience? heifers or bullocks, lambs, weathers etc, even breeds. What's good and what's bad.

    If you don't then why not?

    In a separate thread I asked about abattoir and butcher. This triggered another chat about the type and quality of meat.

    I'm about to get a 500kg bullock myself.

    This is my read on it; as a dry stock part time farmer I purchase weanlings at 400 euro, let it eat grass for 8 months, no additional feed. Bring to abattoir, give him 350 euro and then I have 300kg of grassfed, homegrown beef i.e. 750 euro = 300kg beef (2.50 euro per kg).

    The beef we purchase in the supermarket is bullock or heifer beef. We sell the stock to the factory and they take a cut as well as the packagers, distributers, supermarkets and then we purchase it back at a premium (e.g cheapest mince beef 7 euro per kg).



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,136 ✭✭✭Dinzee Conlee

    Lot of meat in a heifer / bullock - would you be able to get through it in 9-12 months?

    We killed a lamb once or twice, but we don’t eat that much lamb (more beef) so I felt it wasnt worth it… we also had lamb too often when I was small, so my family were all half turned off lamb/mutton for years…

    I have a neighbour won’t touch beef now, cos they used always kill an animal and then almost be under pressure to get it eaten in time for the next one to go into the freezer. It was beef every single day…

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,904 ✭✭✭Hard Knocks

    We’ve killed our own lambs, generally ewe lambs (had 1 ram lamb that left a slight taint) have bought 1/2 an AAX heifer and a full pig

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,024 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    Used to kill a lamb when I was a lot younger but the smell was enough for me. Heard different stories about the smell being due to it not being castrated or not being a mountain lamb.

    Never done beef, but would be more likely to keep half and sell half to the butcher.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,023 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    We''ve always killed our own lambs and have never had the taint, but we manage them well and they're always gorgeous. People are being turned off lamb because of the taint, it's a shame .

    Some like the strong taste but plenty don't and that's the problem. I've seen lots of lambs in the factory lairage that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole so I don't eat lamb when I'm out for a meal now

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,545 ✭✭✭White Clover

    Back in sheep here with about 5 years and have been having our own lamb since. Some of my siblings had been proclaiming for years that they didn't like lamb, stating strong taste etc.

    A family dinner was being had and a leg of our own lamb was one of the meats on the menu. I convinced them to try some and they couldn't believe how delicious it was.

    They're hooked now!

    I prefer a wether lamb around 50 to 52kg with a good covering of flesh.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,714 ✭✭✭893bet

    But you could also keep the 350 in your pocket and sell the 300kg of meat to the factory which would be 1300 or so in your pocket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭n1st

    Yes you're correct, I left this out of my initial info.

    Sell at 500kg to factory e.g 1000 euro (4 euro per kg, 250kg carcass, 2 euro per kg). 600 euro profit to purchase all the meat you want e.g. 90kg of mince or 13kg of steak (50 steaks).

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,023 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    It's the most delicious meatthere is, ours would be 45 - 50 kg, male or female doesn't matter but they have to be vendeen

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,714 ✭✭✭893bet

    Plus you have saved the 350 you need to spend to kill. You are not accounting for the true cost correctly.

    The true cost is the cost you could have made in factory ie the 1300 I estimated (conservative if it’s a 300kg carcass). Plus the 350 you will pay to get them killed. Plus any costs you paid during ownership, e.g transport home from mart, test, dosing, etc.

    we did it at home when I was young and my mother was withered from mince and stews. Not as much sirloin and fillet as you would think!

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,464 ✭✭✭✭_Brian

    We reared and killed pigs for years. Last year we killed a 600kg heifer for the freezer. Have another heifer to go in.

    hope to get a few pigs in spring to rear too.

    Have chickens for eggs too.

    if you start wondering about cost just go buy your meat in Aldi or Lidl, it’s not the cheapest source of meat, it’s quality your aiming for.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭n1st

    Yes I presume my estimates are inaccurate but it does give an overview.

    Understood about too much meat for one family but I do plan on gifting alot of the beef to family and friend. I might mention selling some to the butcher too but I don't think I'll have much problem using the premium cuts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,024 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    Might be due to the one that was killed was the runt. This would have been one which would have been worth very little at mart so a family friend butchered it.

    Don't lamb any sheep now, bring in young ewe lambs and run them through to sell for breeding season the following year.

    Have kept pigs in the past and butchered one of them successfully.

    I think the strong flavour is preferred by the Muslim community who would be big buyers of the lamb.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,545 ✭✭✭White Clover

    The Muslim community only eat Rams as far as I know.

    The butcher that kills for me said that he wouldn't touch a ram lamb after July.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,023 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    Chefs say there's a season for eating lamb from april to august, they're taking no chance of getting a taint at that, It's a pity because, managed properly, there as good any day of the year

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,545 ✭✭✭White Clover

    Ring on at 2 days old is the way to change that mindset.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,904 ✭✭✭Hard Knocks

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭cjpm

    Not much. The hardest part is finding the teats to get the clusters on ‘em. Once you master that you’re laughing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,024 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    That'll be the reason then - the runt lamb would be left to run until late in season before butchering.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,615 ✭✭✭Birdnuts

    We kill our own lambs and poultry. When I have more time from the day job in a few years, I hope to be doing the same with our trad beef breeds

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,464 ✭✭✭✭_Brian

    Very little really, protection from the Fox round here is the main task, if you have pine marten you will have to work a bit harder to protect them.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭n1st

    1 bullock. Amazing amount of prime beef. I'll calculate the retail price later

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,024 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    What makes Vendeen stand out for you? Not a breed I'd be familiar with here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,023 ✭✭✭✭wrangler

    Better taste just, it seems tohave the right fat cover compared to Charolais or texel

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,950 ✭✭✭Kevhog1988

    Im looking into selling my lamb in lamb boxes ready for the freezer. Has anyone experience of that?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭AntrimGlens

    Hi Kev,

    Yes we do it. Is it easy, absolutely not. Very few people now want a full lamb unless they're farming families as they don't have the freezer capacity to take a full lamb. Those farming families that have the scope to take a full lamb, invariably kill one of their own or get one from a neighbour.

    As other posters have said, there's a real divide with lamb, those who love it and those who can't bear the smell or taste of it. If one person in the household doesn't like it, then it won't be bought for anyone else in the household and that's just how it is.

    Is there money in it? A bit. This year is not a good year to start out. If you take the price of a live lamb at the factory now and what you could actually turn it into in meat sales there's little in it. These prices are Sterling so work it out in Euro for your own situation.

    24kg(half weight) lamb is best for meat boxes, people want to get a decent bit of meat on a lamb leg or rack, so 21-22kg needs a bit more fleshing out. A 24kg lamb at best will translate into 14kg of saleable meat, plus a couple kgs of bones for stock and maybe some fat for suet/dumplings etc. There are some very good calculators on the AHDB website that will let you see what yield you can expect from each cut and what you need to be retailing it at.

    Take a 24kg lamb at £5.95 is £142. It's £27 to get a lamb slaughtered and delivered to my butcher in a refrigerated lorry (plus my travel to abattoir). It's £25 to get the lamb cut up and bagged (£2 more if I want it vac packed and labelled with weight, date, logo and cut type) which is required for restaurants. If you want to supply restaurants you need to use an EEC approved facility which very few small butchers/processors are, due to the audit requirements. I then have to collect the lamb from the processor/butcher and store it either in my cold store or freezers and the electricity costs of running those aren't cheap. I use DPD for couriers and they're a flat rate of £12 plus VAT for a next day delivery within NI up to 30kgs weight within one box.

    Your box and label will cost you about £1 unless you buy a minimum order of about 5,000.

    That's £194 straight away. I sell a full lamb at £180 so at this years live lamb prices I'd be losing money. Our e-commerce website costs us £32 month and we use Stripe for payment which takes about 2% of transactions fees, but it's better that you get the money up front rather than someone haggling with you at the door for a few pound off.

    Does everyone want a half or full lamb box - NO. Most of our orders are for single cuts or small boxes, say couple of legs and a rack, or twelve chops and couple kgs mince and couple kgs diced lamb, roughly about £50 of an order. You need to be selling an average of £12.90kg to break even, our mince is the cheapest cut, retails at £7kg and dearest is lamb rump at £20kg.

    This invariably leaves you with all the other cuts, so you have breasts, neck rings, shoulders etc. that very few people know how to cook and don't want the hassle of cooking. This goes for the chefs too. Chefs nowadays haven't a balls notion how to butcher animals, unless it comes to them in a vac pack with instructions they don't want to know. I've hosted over twenty chefs here on the farm for farm walks, with tasting sessions and they love our story and what we're doing with the animals and provenance and low carbon etc. etc. They love our product and want to stock it, but they aren't prepared to pay a premium over what they can buy it from the processor for.

    They buy legs/racks etc at around £15kg and these would be the dearest/premium cuts. I retail these cuts at £19kg and they're not prepared to pay it, despite telling me that the provenance of what they buy is unknown, the quality fluctuates very badly from one week to the next and a few of them have good reason to believe what they buy comes from Scotland.

    We've had to go into making convenience meals to utilise the other cuts, so that means finding a company to manufacture them for you and then all the marketing that goes with it, but this is where you make a margin. On a lamb curry dish I can turn a full lamb carcase into £622 before other ingredients and input costs, so there is room there if you can get outlets and have a quality meal.

    Then there's all your marketing & social media. I initially thought that it would be a small bit on facebook and orders would come rolling in. Boy was I way wrong. It's paying a design/branding team to get your back story and brand right, constant posting on Facebook, Instagramming your meals and recipes, sponsoring local teams, giving away samples to parish/school draws, giving loads of samples to chefs for free, taking a stall at farmers markets to get your brand out there.

    I think Siamsa Sessions on here also tried it recently but don't know if he's still at it. Hopefully that will give you an idea of what it takes because I thought all orders would be local in the nearest towns and villages, but they're not at all.

    PM me if you want any more info.

  • Registered Users Posts: 559 ✭✭✭Fine Day

    Was the beef blast freezed for you. We put a heifer in the freezer here too every year. Great job & we love it. Had stew beef today. I can't understand why people are against doing it. People are of the mind set that you have to eat the meat in under 12 months, we often had a bit than ran well into the second year & it was prefect. We always get it blast freezed by the butcher.

  • Registered Users Posts: 214 ✭✭farmerphil135

    something to watch out for when getting an animal butchered is how much meat you get back. We’ve been caught before and know quite a few that have been caught. You should get 70-76% of the carcass weight back in meat depending on bull or bullock. 250kg carcass should yield 180kg of beef

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,745 ✭✭✭Jjameson

    That would depend on the grade and flesh on the carcass? There’s a few contributing factors here to consider but I think a butchers type o+ type well fleshed heifer would do well to leave you 70% of carcass weight (cold weight)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,745 ✭✭✭Jjameson

    Alway do a few vendeen ewe lambs here every year. Late autumn or spring 55kg and minimal meal. Meat nice flavour and texture, a bit darker and leaner than you’d find in the shop and a daysant sized chop! Haven’t done a heifer here for donkeys years as moved to just fattening bullocks but there’s a great debate of Hereford vs Angus ongoing with some relatives at the minute that I’m hoping to gain from being the casting vote..

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  • Registered Users Posts: 564 ✭✭✭n1st

    No we didn't and I never heard of it, sounds good.

    I have a 200 litre standup freezer which now has the bulk. Ill turn the bags at the weekend.