You may laugh when you read the title (I know I did). Well this was a statement that someone made to our processor when they brought their animal to him. Now both he and I understand that most people do not really know where cuts come from on an animal and how many cuts, but that statement is funny.
So how many steaks can you get from a cow? Well it depends on what types of steaks and what other kinds of cuts you may want. When we have an animal processed a general rule of thumb is that 1/2 of it will be ground beef, 1/4 will be various roasts, and 1/4 of it will be different steaks (this includes sirloin but not all of the steaks will be sirloin). Below is picture of where cuts are found on a cow.
Now after looking at this picture you can get a better idea of where cuts are. Another question asked often is why are cuts in the loin area considered to be better cuts (ie more desired and expensive). Well as you can see from the picture there is less of it. Also, the muscle in this area does not move as much and so it is more tender.
One thing this picture does not mention is Ground Beef. Ground Beef will general be trimming from around other cuts, pieces to small to be used. Or, it may be that a person does not care for a particular cut and so it is simply ground up. For example ground chuck is made from beef in the Chuck area as opposed to having a chuck roast.
Hopefully this will answers some questions. Then again maybe you have more questions now. If so please ask.
Many times people have visited the farm seen this cow and asked this question. And, the answer is “No”. This is actually Sophie one of our cows and not only one of our cows but one of our cornerstone cows. So, why do people ask if she’s our bull? Usually it’s because of her horns.
So here’s a little about horns and cattle. Horns consist of an outer covering of horn, which is keratin and other proteins (like finger nails). And a core of living bone, which has blood vessels hence “living bone”. All cattle, both males (bulls) and females (cows) can have horns. Actually they should have horns.
Now you may ask “Why do some cattle not have horns?” Well one way to have cows do not have horns is to remove the horns. This is usually done at an early age and the horn “root” has to be removed or the horn will grow back. Also, there is trait called “Polled” which means the animal is born and can not grow horns. This trait comes about by selective breeding. Personally I think cows look better with horns. I voiced this opinion to Doc. He said “fine” and that if I wanted to leave horns on the cows then I can deal with those cows. Well I was trying to put an ear tag on a cow with horns, she whipped her head around while my face my next to her horns, and suddenly I changed my mind about horns. It seems that my dad had a very good point about not having cows with horns. In addition when you have some cows with horns and some without the cows with horns will use them on the other cows and this can injure them, which is especially bad when they are pregnant.
Now back to Sophie. We decided to use Sophie as one of our cornerstone herd dams because she has the characteristics that make her a great grass fed cow. She has shorter legs, a full thick square body, and a straight back. In additionally she has great maternal instincts and has produced some outstanding calves. In fact Gearld Fry, a noted cattleman, offered me twice what we paid for her after one look. I declined.
FARM QUESTIONS BY CLIFTON
Here in Farm Questions I will answer any questions you may have about farming to the best of my abilities. Also, I will post more detailed explanations of things we do on the farm and give advice if I can. Remember: advice is free, but good advice will cost you. Just kidding. (no I’m not). So help me make this an interesting part of our web site and ask any question you want. I promise not to make fun of you.