Post Number: 1
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 04:21 am: |
I'm currently doing part time research for Texas A&M. We are assisting USDA assess the impact of livestock production on water quality. The 2002 Agricultural Census listed deer and elk production as part of the livestock category. In order to compare deer and elk production to other livestock groups we convert number of livestock as reported in the Ag Census to 1000 pound animal units; i. e. how many deer, elk, chickens, etc does it take to make a 1000 pounds.
In order to make the conversion to 1000 pound animal units we assume an average weight per animal and divide into 1000. The more common livestock groups have numerous publications listing harvest weights from which an average weight per animal can be estimated, but I've failed to find the same type of information for farmed deer and elk.
Would appreciate any information or direction you would care to provide
Post Number: 568
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 - 03:50 pm: |
Based on my on farm live weights over the past couple of decades:
Adult Cows (5 yrs. or older)
500 to 700 lbs. in good condition with an an average of about 585 lbs.
Adult bulls (7 yrs. or older)
800 to just over 1100 lbs. in good condition with an average of about 965 lbs.
Elk weights, just like cattle weights, can vary greatly from farm to farm and as a rule wild free roaming elk usually weight a little less than farm raised elk.
Post Number: 3
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2008 - 07:40 am: |
Very helpful. Your values confirm what I've seen in the literature. Unfortunately the USDA Census data doesn't differentiate between elk for slaughter and that used for antler or other uses. From the literature, it appears slaughter for meat usually occurs at about 18 months, which might be a little lighter than your animals.
As you say, weights will vary widely. The last bull I shot was as a kid in Colorado, and we estimated it weighed between 800 and 900 pounds.
Thank you for your time.
Post Number: 374
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2008 - 04:48 pm: |
Autry must have great genetics, or perhaps feeds his critters well, cause his average weights are well above industry norms. ME thinks most farms dont feed so well and are so-so genetically.
AS someone who has processed literally thousand of elk over the years, Cows over 550 pounds are rare, although I have had a few that went over 800#! Most cow elk adults are in the 475# to 525# range on a year around basis. YOu can safely use 2 elk cows make one animal unit.
Bulls can vary considerably, but I would put the range at from 600 to 700 for ages 4 years or less. I dont process older bulls cause the meat is too chewy...... so 1000#ers are possible but at a very low rate I would expect. Since young bulls out number old bulls significantly,I would say 1.6 bull elk makes an animal unit. that is a average weight of say 625#, but that may still be a bit high.
the literature is wrong about the 18 month age of slaughter unless you are reading New Zealand info. NZ reds are 18 months average. North American elk dont yield worth a darn at 18 months and + 30 months in a better number if one wants to make any money on a slaughter.
FYI: estimated weights on elk ARE ALWAYS HIGH, particularly with a winter coat. the fuzzy buggers are all fluff, and limp, dead weight is tough to guestimate.
Although my info is more limited I probably could dig up fallow deer and northern whitetail deer averages if desired.
Post Number: 4
Posted From: 22.214.171.124
|Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 - 05:34 am: |
Thanks Antler333! If you have anything on deer average weights, it would be appreciated.
I've read so many pieces of literature over the past couple of weeks, I may have confused the 18 mo harvest age with another species - I'm doing emu and ostrich as well as a host of smaller critters. I'll probably use a smaller average weight as you suggest.
Post Number: 5
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 - 09:34 am: |
Just re-read some material, and it is bison bulls harvested at 18 plus months. Thanks for the correction.
Post Number: 187
Posted From: 188.8.131.52
|Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 - 12:00 pm: |
Over the years we've found most elk cows weigh 275-350 lbs. hanging wt. after being quartered. Not sure how that translates exactly to live weight. Avg. hanging wt. is right around 300. Almost always these are post-weaning cows 5-10 years old, usually butchered in August.
The only live wt. I've done on elk was last December post rut, took at that time a 4.5 yr. bull to get weighed at the local FS with antlers sawed off. He weighed 820 lbs., and that was unhooking the trailer from truck and just weighing the trailer so there was no variables from the truck trips. Pretty confident he'd of easily weighed over 900 pre-rut, and the antlers would of added another 30, which happened to score 430 SCI and change at the Central Reg. a couple weeks ago, and I'd estimated them at 420 last yr. on this forum, so I'm not going to inflate body wts.
Would think he'll easily weigh over 1,000 soon if he doesn't already, and don't think it's that rare at all for farmed bulls. I've had 2 bigger bodied 4 yr. olds over the years that stand out in memory, although no official wts. on them, but I'd agree alot of farmed 4 yr. olds are around 700.
I think it'd be a rare wild bull that topped 800, but that's just a guess.
Can only comment on wild whitetails in WC Illinois. We used to weigh them on an electronic grinder scale, which was very accurate. Most does range from 50-150 lbs. field dressed. We don't shoot fawns, so no fawn wts. in there. There is such a thing as 200 lb. live wt. on wild does. Some of the older mature does coming off the prairie type soils seem to be the ones that can get that big fairly consistently.
Big range on wild bucks. My biggest bodied field dressed was right at 230 in Mid Nov. Most are 125-200 field dressed, if you only shoot 3.5 yr. olds and older, with the occasional 2.5 yr. old oops, my bad thrown in there.
Got a couple older bully type wild bucks now, one I've been getting pics of for 4 yrs. now, think he's 6 yrs. old with dud antlers I'd love to weigh this fall, as I think he'd go over 300 lbs., but problem is, he's apparently much smarter than me, .... no big surprise there.
The correlation between big bodied and big antlered seems to be weak, so when you're talking good genetics, it depends on what your end market is.
Post Number: 172
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 - 02:18 pm: |
My rule of thumb is live weight multiplied by .625 equals hanging weight. I have had bulls and cows in the same weight category that David is describing. Rich is seldom if ever wrong but the feed in Colorado may produce different results than in Tennessee or Wisconsin. Hope to see all of you at the convention.
Post Number: 376
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Sunday, July 27, 2008 - 12:18 pm: |
Your yield ratio figure of .625 for ELK (elk only)is certainly applicable to properly fed animals, particularly the bulls. Good fed bulls and perhaps cows can be consistantly over .60. I will gladly buy your +.62 critters for a premium price if you have any to sell!
Realistically, however, the industry average is not as good. More like .57-.58 for cows and .58- .60 for bulls. The lesser the yield ratio, the lower the weight of the resulting carcass and the edible meat, and a diminishment of per pound value of the meat since transport and processing costs are partially fixed
hmmmmm, This is probably a good time to discuss what the meat business looks for. All these numbers mean that if your young bull weighs 700# live weight then a .625 yield ratio gives a hanging carcass that weights 437.5#, a dandy result! especially if a three yr old! After deboning and trimming the carcass, final yield is about 70% usable products of meat & organs. so the final number is about 306# of salable edibles from a 700# critter (or 43.75% of the live weight)
As an interesting aside: I have noticed that industry leaders (yourself, Mr Autry etc.) invariably have better yields than the regular folks. Leaders know that proper feed will achieve better results, for meat, for antler, for breeding, for virtually any aspect of the critter. That is why they are leaders I guess, dduh.
To get a dandy result, you must feed them well consistantly, then the genetic potential has a chance to fully manifest itself. A calf growing to a +2 yr old adult MUST have the best feed available to achieve a signficant portion of its potential. MOst people skimp too much, hence antlers and meat yield are disappointing.
Unfortunately, many things block genetic potential: feed quality, injury, climate, competition, etc. Try to mitigate as much of the adverse conditions as possible to achieve excellence.
Please remember, the meat business provides a floor value to the elk business, and I think potentially to the general deer business as well, although I am sure the deer people might want to ignore it right now. Without a meat business you have a roller coaster ride with very high prices and then very low prices. Ask the elk people what the value of an elk was in 2004...... Ask the horse people what the value of horses has done since the horse slaughter provisions were recinded...... Thanx to BO.......
With all that ............. support you local meat maker. Culls are still culls, even if the breeder prices are temporarily tempting.
EAT MORE MEAT!