To The Farmer/Rancher
If you are not familiar with the concept of direct sales, the following information might be helpful.
You, the local farmer, sell a live beef or a portion such as a half or quarter to an individual.
You feed out the beef (grain finished) or run it on grass (forrage finished), whichever you and your end customer prefer. The individual(s) will pay you an alotted price for the live animal based on either live weight (you get that number) or hanging weight (we give you that number).
When the beef is ready to butcher, you take it to your preferrred processor (of couse that would be us!) where they will slaughter the beef, let it dry age for 10 days to 2 weeks, then process it and package it for the owner to pick up. At that time the owner (your customer) will pay for the processing cost and pick up their meat.
Your beef just made the journey of farm to fork directly to the consumer without going through sale barns, commercial feed lots, or massive big industry processing plants. The meat is better because it is less stressed and you know where it came from.
For an example of what we do, you can visit our Nicolai Farms Website
To The Consumer
If you are the consumer looking for fresh, clean, and delicious locally farm-raised beef, we have a few suggestions of things you might want to ask.
We have seen a lot of different quality beef come across our cutting tables. Almost any animal will make decent ground beef, but not just any beef will make good steaks or roasts. There is a big difference due to breed, age, method of feeding (or not feeding), and general health of the animal. We can assure you that we will never send out a cut of meat that will harm you but we can't guarantee you that every steak will be the best quality. We will keep our facility clean and sanitized. We will keep our cooler at the right temperatures to get the best aging but, in the end, we are simply the butcher - cutting it up - we didn't raise it and we cannot control the flavor and tenderness ...or lack thereof.
Please, ask a few questions before purchasing a beef. Are you getting an old cow or a young heifer (2 years or younger)? Is the animal you are getting a weak cull with defects or issues or is it strong and healthy? Was this a roping steer used in rodeos for the past 5 years or is it a 20 month old that has been fed out? How many days was it fed out? Was it given growth hormones or steroids or antibiotics? Before dropping a big chunk of change , you might want to check with others who might have purchased from the farmer/rancher before. We have some great ranchers out there selling great beef, but reality is, they are not all equal.
Truly, more people need to buy from local Oklahoma ranchers. We work hard, love what we do, and add to the local economy. Most do a fantastic job and you will never get the same quality from any grocery store. Once you have tried it, you will be spoiled and convinced that straight from the farm is the only way to put beef on your table. It might seem like a lot to spend all at once, but you will soon realize that it is money well spent and you really do get a better return.
In Case You Didn't Know...
For best results, take your beef off feed for 24 -36 hours before bringing them in for slaughter. We have found that the last 24 hours, the feed does not improve their weight gain as it does not have time to digest and increase muscle. Because the cost of the amimal is usually determined by hanging weight, not live, letting it run to food the last 24 hours wastes your grain and makes a huge mess on the kill floor.
When bringing in an animal for slaughter, be sure to have it here between 7:00-8:00am the morning of slaughter. You can call us to make arrangements to bring it in the night before if you prefer.
If you are selling shares direct to customers, please have a list of owners with their contact information ready to give us when you bring the beef to us.
Call us Monday through Friday from 9am - 5pm. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have and get you on the schedule.
Before you put your calves on finishing feed, you need to think several months (even a year) ahead and check with your processor for scheduling. The winter and spring seasons are busy times of the year and slaughter dates fill up quickly.
Most people selling beef direct to consumer use the hanging weight as their base for pricing. It is easier to obtain and most processing plants have scales certified for legal trade. The hanging weight is the weight of the animal minus the head, hide, hooves, and intrails along with a lot of fluid.
Most people who are grain finishing their calves feed them out for 90 -120 days.
The amount of meat you get from a finished calf will depend on the frame, muscling, skeletal structure, fat cover, and gut fill. In grain finished calves, this can run from 50% to 60% but in forrage/grass finished calves the amount is often much lower. A rule of thumb is on a well finished calf (which will have at least a half inch of backfat or more) you can expect a meat yield of about 50% of the shrunk live weight (on empty stomach) of the animal. To get 60% on any animal, you would have to keep all the organs, the tail, the tongue, leave all the bones in your cuts, and not trim the fat.
We do process longhorns, but there is an additional fee and we cannot guarantee the horns will not get damaged.