How Do I Estimate Hanging Weight of a Steer?

Estimating carcass weights of live animals is a fairly easy task.
Estimating carcass weights of live animals is a fairly easy task. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Estimating the hanging weight of a steer is a mathematical calculation. Hanging weight is the carcass weight of a steer after hide, head, hooves and internal organs have been removed. Average dressing percentage is needed to estimate carcass weights. Dressing percentage reflects carcass amount in relation to the animal's live weight. It is derived by dividing hot carcass weight by live animal weight and multiplying by 100. Hot carcass weight is measured immediately after the animal is dressed, before the meat is chilled.

Weigh the animal on a set of livestock scales. If you don't own scales, weigh your empty trailer at a livestock exchange, feed company, or grain elevator. Then weigh the trailer with the steer in it. Subtract the empty trailer weight from the weight of the loaded trailer to determine live steer weight.

Multiply the live steer weight by .62 to derive estimated carcass weight, since the average dressing percentage for steers and heifers is 62 percent.

Compare estimated carcass weight with body condition of the live animal. Lower your carcass weight estimate if the animal's ribs are showing. Raise your estimate if you cannot feel any of the animal's bones. The normal dressing percentage range is 55 to 67 percent.

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