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price per pound??

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#1 Lora



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Posted 12 November 2008 - 01:35 PM

Bill F (or anybody else in the meat end of sheep)......the price of lamb at the auction is $1.05 per pound (obviously live weight LOL) I have a few folks wanting to buy lamb from me...and I want to make sure I am getting at least what I can get at the auction....but don't have access to a scale for live weight. Do you know what live weight ends up (about) hanging weight?? Or is there a price per pound for hanging weight that is good and fair?? I want folks to pay their own kill/cut/wrap....and I have very nice lambs....just getting into the meat market and boy does word travel fast.




#2 denice


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Posted 12 November 2008 - 03:45 PM

Where I am there are very few butcher facilitites that will butcher lamb so I have ended up taking the lambs myself and dropping them off giving the butcher the info on who to call about cutting ect. The butcher facility has a scale so they are weighted when I unload them. Hanging weight is usually 40 - 48% for lambs in my experience. I never ask less than 125.00, if folks want something smaller than "fat" it is still 125.00 because I have most of the expense in the lamb already. You also have to remember to adjust price according to feed costs ect and remember there are lots of folks out there that will pay a premium for home grown, organic ... You may be able to call your local butcher and ask how they charge if they sell 1/2 lamb or whole lamb to get a price per lb. Just my thoughts. Hope they helps

#3 NorthfieldNick


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Posted 12 November 2008 - 11:11 PM

I charge $5.25 per Lb hanging weight, but that includes the $40.00 slaughtere fee & $1.00/Lb cut & wrap fee. I just butchered 15 lambs, and they averaged a 47 Lb hanging weight- range was 35 (crazy ewe lamb who just needed to go) to 52 Lbs, with most in the 42-48 Lb range. I don't feed any grain, and I generally have enough pasture to not have to feed hay. I do feed the ewes some alfalfa right around lambing, but that's it. I aim for a 45 Lb lamb- that seems to be the size most of my custom-cut customers like.

Last time I weighed my lambs right before they got butchered, I was getting a 45-50% hanging weight. Those were big NCC cross lambs, though. My Cotswold crosses are a bit lower, I'd guess.

This time, I ended up grossing about $150.00 per lamb. That's BEFORE I take out my time, wormer, etc.

If you want your customers to pay their own slaughter, cut & wrap fee, I'd think about charging a flat rate per lamb, as Denice suggested.

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#4 Bill Fosher

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 06:22 AM

There are some legal issues that you may or may not want to know about.

First, if you're going to sell the product based on weight, you must weigh it on a legal-for-trade scale. Most slaughterhouses have one and use it to weigh carcasses, which is why lamb is so often price on hanging weight.

Second, when you sell lamb you are supposed to either pass on a checkoff fee or remit it to the American Lamb Board. This checkoff fee is based on liveweight. They have been known to come after small producers for this fee, so it is worth thinking about how you can comply with this law. The fee is $.005 per pound, plus 30 cents per head at the time of slaughter. So if you sell a live lamb to a customer, technically you should deduct half a cent per pound of liveweight, and your customer, who owns the lamb at the time of slaughter, should remit that amount plus half a cent per pound on any gain that takes place while he owns the lamb, plus 30 cents.

Third, if you're trying to avoid product liability by selling a live lamb and having the customer pay for cutting and slaughter, it won't work.

Now, to try to answer your question :rolleyes: Hot hanging weight will generally be in the 47 to 50 percent. Some individuals will be much higher, others much lower. Cold hanging weight can be a much lower percentage of liveweight. A 50-lb lamb carcass that hangs in a cooler for three days will lose two to five pounds of moisture, depending on fat cover. Depending on how your slaughterhouse captures the hanging weight, whether the head is on or off, whether kidney-pelvic fat is left in place, how organs are handled, the range could be much greater.

I am charging $4.50/lb for USDA slaughtered, cut, wrapped (vacuum sealed), and delivered whole lamb carcasses. A half-lamb order incurs an additional $10 flat fee. On the whole lamb, this figures back to a farm gate price of about $1.40 per pound liveweight. But out of that farm gate price, you also need to figure that I have spent a lot more time on marketing the lamb, and that only the best lambs can bring this sort of price. I am doing better than the auction, but like Ben, I think I am not valuing my time well enough.

#5 DeltaBluez Tess

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Posted 13 November 2008 - 12:48 PM

Last year I charged $2.75 per lb, hanging weight and they pay the butcher kill/wrap fee ($72). I had more customer than lambs. I also sold live lamb $100-125 and they pick up at the farm.

This yr, my charge will be $3.00 per lb, hanging weight. Live lamb will be the same as last year.

I have repeat customers so that makes a big difference. The lambs were Cluns and weighed out at 45-65 lbs hanging weight.
Diane Pagel
DeltaBluez Stockdogs

Carnation, WA

#6 trailrider


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Posted 13 November 2008 - 06:59 PM

Last week we took in 2 lambs for 2 customers. I charge $4 per pound cut wrapped and frozen. Usually I take off a few pounds for shrink during the few hanging days. Our butcher charges about $50. This price has not changed in 15-20 years. Maybe it is time to increase my earnings.

#7 Lora



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Posted 14 November 2008 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for all the input everybody. I have decided to butcher a couple for good friends and sell the rest at the auction for now. I obviously need to get a "plan"! I did one lamb last year for a good friend and word just got out!

Bill...I went on to the American Lamb Board web site....looks like a great site and a place to refer folks for recipes and information. Anyway, I can not find any information about the fees you were talking about. Can you tell me where to look/go? Also, are there any books you recommend for small farmers on effective sheep production?

What started out as "sheep for training dogs" is now turning into....sheep to pay some bills.

Thanks again,



#8 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 14 November 2008 - 12:21 PM


Try this webpage: American Lamb: Remittance Process
There is a link to the form under How It Works: Collection and Remittance.

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