How do you determine when to market your beef cattle and where is it sold?

Posted: February 18, 2022

We sell our beef cattle when they reach a market weight of about 1,500 pounds. Our beef is sold to Tyson, which can be found in grocery stores around the country.

Let’s start at the beginning of our beef cattle cycle. The cattle we buy for our feedlot are shipped here at about 800 pounds or when the calves are about 1-1/2 years old. We get our cattle from the same family-owned cattle business we’ve been using in Kentucky for the last 50 years. What started as our grandfathers doing business back then (on both sides of the family) is now our current third generation doing business together today.

We drive our semi-truck to Kentucky to get a truckload of up to 65 cattle. They are loaded onto our livestock trailer to make the 8-hour journey north, back to our farm. When they get here they have a feed bunk full of feed waiting.

Over the next couple of days the cattle are vaccinated, dewormed, and checked over by the veterinarian to ensure they are healthy. Then they start on a feed ration to start gaining the proper amount of weight. They begin on a starter ration of feed and then by week three they are transitioned to a full finisher feed ration for the next five months. Their ration changes as they grow to meet their weight gaining needs.
The beef cattle are typically here for 170-180 days on feed before being sold to the market. They are usually 1,475-1,500 lbs. when they get loaded on the truck, where about 32 of them will now fill it.

For beef cattle, you want them to be at that certain weight to get the best price. If they are overweight or underweight you will get docked on pay. Days on feed, weight, and overall condition will determine which cattle will go to market.

We sell the beef cattle by the truckload to Tyson Fresh Meats in Joslin, IL and they pay us by the pound. They process the cattle there and package the meat. The meat is then shipped out to grocery stores and restaurants nationwide. We have been selling our beef cattle to Tyson Fresh Meats for the last 30 years because they have consistently given us a fair market price along with prompt payment.

We will continue to raise and sell our beef cattle this way helping to provide nutritious beef to feed consumers.


Learn more about beef quality grades: