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juliepoudrier

Live weight vs. dressed weight

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I used to know the general "rule" for this, but can't remember it (senility is he**). Can anyone help? I have someone who wants a lamb that will dress out at about 25 pounds. I'm assuming a 50-60-pound lamb would come close? Thanks!

 

J.

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Closer to 60 if you're working with a non-meat breed or cross.

 

I've got to clean out my freezer - it's all frozen up (it's old) - and then I'll be taking some lambs down myself. I can't wait - I miss lamb.

 

Did anyone at the get together notice the conspicious absence of Speckle Face? She's dead, she's dead, the wicked witch is dead . . .actually I sold her for b-b-q. Little did the guy know I would have paid HIM to take her . . . True justice would have been to put her in my freezer and let the dogs partake of her.

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Hi Julie,

 

The market around here for a 25-lb lamb is very fussy. A 25-lb lamb is okay; a 27-lb lamb is not. If you're dealing with that kind of hothouse market, then a general rule is not going to do it -- you need a lot of experience with your own lambs before you can call one perfectly. If it's okay to go as high as 30 pounds, I'd look at the 60 pound liveweights.

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Yet another reason to live here not there! They just keep adding up . . .

 

I've never had a problem. Most people here don't really have much experience with freezer lamb. That's a bad thing in one way because it reflects the lack of a real commercial market for freezer lamb (well, or any lamb). But it's getting better - interest in local farm raised products is rising every year, thank goodness.

 

What people here are most interested in is grass raised versus conventional rather than the cut being a certain way. Most people ask me what the norm is, both in terms of how much meat they'll get and also what cuts to order.

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Hi Julie,

 

The market around here for a 25-lb lamb is very fussy. A 25-lb lamb is okay; a 27-lb lamb is not. If you're dealing with that kind of hothouse market, then a general rule is not going to do it -- you need a lot of experience with your own lambs before you can call one perfectly. If it's okay to go as high as 30 pounds, I'd look at the 60 pound liveweights.

Hey Bill,

Thanks Bill. We actually told them they should come out and pick the lamb themselves and we can weigh it then and give them a fairly decent estimate on the dressed weight. These folks aren't particularly fussy. They want a lamb to cook for a cookout (not on a spit though) so just need it small enough to fit in whatever apparatus they plan to cook it in (I don't remember off the top of my head what that was). We'll have it butchered for them; the only thing they were real specific about was "around 25 pounds" and that they wanted the internal organs. I've actually not had anyone ask for a lamb quite that small before, but I think it has more to do with their prep/cooking facilities than that the lamb has to be within ounces of X weight. Frankly, I don't think I'd want to be bothered with a buyer that required 25 pounds vs. 27 pounds--not unless they wanted to pay me a lot of $$! :rolleyes:

 

J.

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Yeah, I mean how hard it is to make two pounds of ground fall off the planet if it's that important? Or have the butcher trim shanks a bit higher? I'm having trouble understanding why they'd punish you to that extent.

 

I've sold to Middle Easterners who like a light lamb - they roast quarters in the oven. So they have no problem with the lamb's target weight being just that.

 

ETA: I'm not doubting you - I'm just wondering, so I can add it to the list of Reasons I Never Want to Live in the Northeast. :rolleyes:

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These lambs were fat, milkfed, baby lambs going to a hothouse market -- picture a watermelon with legs. They were sold whole, head on, organs hanging, and were roasted whole. So if two pounds of anything were to go missing, it would have been pretty obvious. I can't imagine the microsurgery involved in butchering a 25-lb lamb carcass.

 

The reason we are always given for the extreme price drop is that there's a corresponding drop in market demand for the larger carcasses. One buyer told me that it was because they couldn't get more than a 25-pound lamb into the oven in one piece. But if I were buying a lamb for my Easter table and I had the choice of a 25-pounder for which the farmer had been paid $162.50 (so would presumably retail for close to $200) versus a 27-pounder that the farmer had been paid $108 for, I think I would get over the whole not-fitting-in-the-oven thing. Two pounds more meat for $50 fewer dollars would be a pretty strong incentive to buy the bigger one in my book. But I am not aware of the traditions involved and didn't want to deal with selling lambs directly to these customers, so I just played the cards as they were dealt and got very good at identifying lambs that would dress out at 24 or 25 pounds.

 

This market hasn't been a consideration for me since I stopped lambing inside in the winter, as most of the demand for this kind of lamb falls around Easter. But there was one buyer who wanted 15 to 20 of these lambs every week year round. I just felt that even for the higher price, by the time fees and transport were deducted, I was selling the lamb short versus growing it out. Still, it was awful nice to put a load of 50 or 75 or those guys on the trailer and come home with a few thousand dollars in my pocket.

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We ourselves cut up a small lamb for Easter - I get two leg roasts for the table and then ask for the rest to be divided in stew-style bone in chunks. The processors seem to be able to handle working the small carcass just fine and never have made a complaint. My previous butcher used to give me a big discount, in fact, if I brought four or more of the little ones, because "it was like a vacation."

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