Q:

What does hanging weight mean in the context of beef prices?

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Quick Answer

Hanging weight refers to a dressed steer resulting in an average 40 percent reduction from live weight, which increases the effective price per pound. A 1,200-pound live steer purchased for $1,000, once dressed, results in a price per pound increase from $0.83 to $1.39.

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Full Answer

Each major step in processing beef causes the price per pound to increase. After dressing, the carcass is hung to age for about 10 days, which reduces the weight through evaporation. The butcher prepares the cuts of beef and, depending on the fat content and the cuts made, weight decreases by 35 to 40 percent. A 1,200-pound live weight steer with a hanging weight of about 720 pounds has a boxed, or take-home, weight of approximately 430 pounds. The $1.39 hanging weight price per pound increased to $2.33 per pound in boxed weight.

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