Buying half a cow

One of the first question someone asks themselves before buying a large quantity of beef is “how much beef will I get?” That question is usually followed by, “If I buy a half or quarter, what part am I getting? The front half or back half?”

Since pictures speak so much louder than words, we thought we’d do our best and actually show you how much beef you get with a quarter and half. We also wanted to put it in perspective, so these pictures feature our standard, no-frills refrigerator that is in our kitchen. 🙂


As you look at these photos, please keep in mind that farmers butcher cows at different weights and sizes. At Clover Meadows Beef, we make it easy for customers by not using agriculture industry-lingo and instead telling you the amount of of beef you’ll actually get for your refrigerator or freezer (quarter = 110 lbs, half = 220 lbs, and whole = 440 lbs). Some farmers talk about actual live weight (that includes meat, bones, blood, etc), which is totally fine, but that’s not what you’ll be taking home. If you decide to buy a cow from a farmer, make sure you know exactly what you’ll be taking home before you buy so you can make space in your refrigerator or freezer in advance.

Buying a Quarter Cow:

Here’s what our refrigerator looks like with a quarter beef, which is 110 lbs of beef. As you can see, it’s a lot of beef, but it all fits in the freezer (without the freezer shelf or ice bucket).  This includes about 50 pounds of hamburger, and the rest of the beef comes in a variety of cuts like steaks, roasts, ribs, and brisket.

Buying Half a Cow:

So, what if you buy half a cow? What does that look like in your refrigerator? With a half a cow, you’ll get approximately 220 pounds of beef. It includes 100 pounds of ground beef, and the rest of the beef are in cuts like steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, and tenderloin.

Just for fun, we included a dozen eggs and a half gallon of milk in this picture so you would have some additional perspective 🙂

And what if you buy three quarters or a whole cow? If you do, you’ll have a LOT of beef and you’ll need a freezer. We didn’t take a picture of a whole beef with our refrigerator since it wouldn’t all fit.  With a whole cow you would get approximately 440 pounds of beef. It will be approximately 200 pounds of ground beef, and the other 220 pounds are in cuts like steaks, roasts, ribs, brisket, tenderloin, etc. On average, we’ve found that a whole is great for families of three or more that eat beef with four or more meals a week. With a whole, these families save tons of money and have beef for a year.

Do you have a question about buying a cow? We’d love to help! and let us know if you have questions.

Want to learn more about purchasing and preparing specific cuts of beef? Check out our