Slaughtering removes the head, blood, hide and inedible parts from the animal. In beef, veal, and lamb, it will account for an average loss of slightly less than half the original live weight of the animal. The slaughter loss in hogs averages about one-quarter of live weight.
Example: If your steer weighs 1,100 lbs. live, it will most likely weigh 638 - 715 lbs. when slaughtered or "dressed". This is 58% - 65% of the live weight.
After slaughter, the carcass will weigh considerably less than before. The percentage remaining can be estimated:
Beef 58% - 65%
Veal 58% - 64%
Pork 73% - 75%
Lamb 48% - 52%
Processing is the cutting of the dressed" or carcass meat into ready-to-cook portions. Processing accounts for another loss in weight as excess fat and bones are trimmed away. Not only does trimming make meat more appetizing, it also reduces required freezer space and often eliminates further preparation in the kitchen. The more fat and bones removed for convenience, the greater the decrease in pounds. The fatter the carcass, the lower the final weight of the table-ready cuts will be.
Example: If your pork carcass weighs 185 lbs., expect approximately 111 - 139 lbs. of closely trimmed, mostly boneless eating meat after processing. This is 60% - 75% of the dressed weight.
After processing, your table-ready meat will weigh less than the carcass did before processing. The percentages of closely-trimmed, mostly boneless cuts remaining from dressed weight can be estimated:
Beef 50% - 65%
Veal 65% - 75%
Pork 60% - 75%
Lamb 45% - 60%