Not all of the cow makes it to the table. On average, a 1,000 pound steer will only weigh approximately 61% of it’s live weight once it makes it to the rail. This approximate 39% loss during the slaughter and dressing procedure is a result of the animal being bled and the hide, head, hooves, viscera, lungs and heart being removed. The remaining 61% is often referred to as the “Hanging Weight” or the weight “On the Rail”. But, the loss doesn’t stop there.
Once the carcass is on the rail it begins to leach moisture (shrink) which accounts for additional weight loss. This along with the fat and bone removed during the cutting account for an additional 18% loss. In summary, a steer weighing 1,000 pounds on the hoof will average around 430 pounds of retail cuts (steaks, roasts, ground beef, stew beef, etc).