For those of you who are selling your dexter beef as grass fed, I have some questions. How are you selling it, by the cut, by the live animal, by hanging weight etc? What are you charging and do you find consumers receptive to dexter beef? Thanks.
Sell Whole or 1/2 beef On-farm mobile slaughter delivers halves to butcher Customer pays $100 slaughter fee Customer pays $3.90 per pound hang weight Customer pays cut and wrap Customer picks up beef at butcher
Let's say . .. . being conservative. . .. . .the Dexter sent to slaughter was 700 pounds and the hanging weight is 400 lbs.
On-farm mobile slaughter delivers halves to butcher
Customer pays $100 slaughter fee
Customer pays $3.90 per pound hang weight EQUALS $1560.00 Customer pays cut and wrap (72 cents here) EQUALS $ 380.80 Customer picks up beef at butcher
Customers LOVE properly raised Dexter beef.
You have a really base minimum of a $2000 investment for freezer meat, which has less than a year "shelf" life. ( For the entire animal). That includes cuts that many people do not buy and use today. Even in large urban areas it is difficult to find customers willing to get off that kind of upfront money for frozen meat.
Let's face it. Dexters are not now. .. nor never will be a commercially viable breed. People who have built their markets and have return customers year after year are few and far between. Dexter were and should be a niche market and those who love this breed must accept that limitation and return to the homestead market that has maintained the breed. This market has almost been lost due to the greed which fueled the prices and sizes in the polled herds that removed the Dexter from it's roots.
Jamshundred, I fully agree with you, Dexters can’t compete with the typical beef animal acceptable to the commercial beef market. If they get to a point where they can then they will be Dexters in name only and lost in the crowd of all the other beef breeds that already fit the commercial beef industry model. I fully support the idea Dexters need to remain Dexters and their unique qualities need to be preserved. I do believe they have a place in the grass fed beef market. In our situation, we live in an area they gets on average 19 inches of rain a year. Dexters are perfect for us because with our native grasses we can have a viable stocking rate. If we had to go with a typical commercial breed, our stocking rate would be one cow/calf unit per 20 acres. We would not have enough land to carry the number of cattle it would take to have a grass fed beef plan. I have also come to find out Dexters have an appetite like a goat, passing over grasses to eat the weeds and nibble on the brush first, then back to the grasses. Typical commercial beef breeds over graze the select grasses and pass over other grasses and won’t touch weeds or brush. I believe it will take marketing and education to get the word out about the unique qualities of this breed and their place in the grass fed beef market. I believe it can be done.
Chest Freezers (not frost free) can easily keep well-wrapped meat for 2+ years.
Dexters are great for both homesteaders AND for raising gourmet grass-fed beef for local buyers.
The Keto diet movement is creating big demand for grassfed beef. I've got one family that buys several pigs and a Dexter or two every year and they love every cut including tongue, tail, liver, kidneys,and heart.
Horns are nice to look at, but cattle use them on each other for dominance and they bruise meat.
You can select toward the size of Dexters that fit your purpose.
Here is a Craigslist ad selling grassfed Dexter Beef in southern Oregon, a long way away from urban centers.
Yes properly wrapped and stored meat will last a very long time. I have had meat that was over 2 and it was the same as it was the day it was frozen. It must not be in the freezer with other things that would have strong odors. Ours is wrapped in freezer plastic and then in paper. I have never had an issue with horns bruising meat and I butcher a lot of intact bulls. I have a 4 stall trailer and take them in one per stall. I also have the processor put each one in there own stall until butchered so there will be no fighting. They dont hang around very long before processed. He often starts before I even pull the trailer away.