How Many People Can a Cow Feed?

How many people can a Cow Feed? Everyone loves feasting on beef. In the sub-continent, people cook many beef recipes to feed large gatherings and it is served during wedding festivities as well. Beef has become an indispensable part of most events and most Muslims slaughter steers and goats on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

When cooking a meal for hundreds of people, one is likely to ask how much beef he needs to cook for the people gathered. So, here is the answer to on average, how many people can one cow feed?

How Many People Can A Cow Feed?

First of all, we would like to correct you that mostly steers and calves are slaughtered for beef, not cows. If we talk in numbers, an average steer produces 440 lbs of beef which is sufficient to feed roughly 2300 people, if each individual is served 3 oz.

A cow can feed 2300 People, However, this is not set in stone that a cow would feed 2300 people, the number can vary greatly due to multiple factors like the size of the cow and the serving.

Sounds impressive, right? A single cow serving thousands of people. Beef is not what cows are usually known for, modern-day dairy cows produce six and seven gallons of milk every day. Dairy cows are not usually slaughtered and raised for milk production. Male cows are kept and raised for beef.

Read Relevant Calculation How Many Cows on 5 Acres?

How Much Meat Can You Get From a Single Cow?

There is no accurate answer for how much beef one can get from a cow as each cow weighs differently. It is obvious that the amount of meat is influenced by the weight of the cow.

There is a simple formula that helps you calculate the meat you get from a cow (weight of cow) * 0.36.

This does not always bring accurate results but farmers can use this formula for average calculation. Let’s make you understand the phenomenon with an example, calculating the amount of meat is not as simple as you think.

For instance, a 1000 pound steer will weigh about 61% of the live weight once it is hanged on the rail. 39% of the bodyweight is lost when slaughtered, skinned, drained of fluids, and has the head and internal organs removed.

Study Reveals, The weight is lost during the dressing procedure when the animal is being bled and the hide, head, hooves, viscera, lungs, and heart being removed.

Even when the beef makes it to the rail, it loses additional weight when the meat begins to leach moisture and shrink. The additional 18% weight is lost during the cutting procedure when fat and bones are removed.

So, that’s how a 1000 lbs Steer on hoof is reduced to approximately 430 pounds after cuts. If served ½ lbs per person, the meat would be sufficient to feed 860 people.

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How Many People Can a Beef Cow Feeds?

Some cattle breeds are raised just for beef production. Each breed weighs differently depending on the size and breed.

Here, we are going to tell you how many people can beef cattle feed. This calculation is based on 3 oz serving per person.

Angus – Everybody knows about the Angus breed and Angus beef is quite famous in the US. An Angus cow usually weighs about 1194 lbs and has usable meat of 430 lbs and can feed 2293 people.

Charolais – This beef breed of cattle weighs a whopping 1311 lbs and produces average usable meat of about 472 lbs which is enough to serve 2517 people.

Hereford – You will get 404 lbs of beef from an 1124 lbs Hereford cow which can feed 2155 people.

Limousin – Limousin is reared for beef and a 1205 lbs cow would give 343 lbs of beef which can feed 1829 people.

Simmental – A 1250 lbs Simmental can feed up to 2400 people which has estimated usable meat of 450 lbs.

South Devon – A 1214 lbs cow of this breed has an estimated beef production of 437 lbs which is sufficient to serve 2330 people.

This is an estimated calculation using the formula, the actual results may vary slightly based on different factors involved.

How Many Cows Would be Required to Feed a Family?


On average, an American consumes 222 lbs of meat annually. If we take a family of four into account, how many cows should be slaughtered to feed the family for a year?

The beef produced by an average cow is about 440 lbs, so, it would take 2 cows to feed the family for a year.

Key Takeaway

It is summed up that the average beef cow produces roughly 440 lbs of beef, 220 lbs of which goes to steaks and other prime cuts whereas the other 220 lbs are the ground meat. An average 1200 pound steer can feed up to 2300 people if each person is served 3 oz serving.

Resources

  • R Robinson has done his degree in Agronomy and Animal breeding from the CAU (China Agriculture University). He is serving as a livestock expert in local farms.

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