slider-steak*Someday I will be able to harvest animals onsite (your ranch) to reduce stress of travel and being in an unfamiliar environment. Less stress means better meat quality.  Until that day I rely on Atlas Meat Company in Fort Collins to harvest and age carcasses for me to process.  I observe/monitor the process along with a USDA Inspector.

I can pick up your live animal(s) and transport them to Atlas Meat Company for $0.65/loaded mile.  If you prefer to transport your own animal(s) I will be happy to simply pick up the meat when it is ready for processing.

What to Know Before Harvest

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Withdrawal Periods

If you have treated your animal with any vaccine or form of medicine be sure to strictly follow withdrawal periods printed on the package. This is the time it takes for the animal’s body to metabolize the drug so it will not enter the human food chain. Much research has been performed on this to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of consumers.


Are you going to finish your animal at home or in a feed lot?  Will you feed out grain or grass or will you pull it straight from pasture? These are questions to consider months before you plan on harvesting your animal.  It takes 3-6 months to finish a beef and younger animals are more tender.

Finishing, or feeding an animal a higher energy diet for a short time.  When cattle are around a year old it is a good idea to start finishing them.  They must be transitioned to their new diet slowly.  Once they are on a full finishing grain ration they will gain between 2.5 and 4 pounds per day. They gain about 1 pound of body weight for every 6 pounds of feed they consume.  After 3 months they are ready to harvest.  Even animals that are “Grass Fed” spend time in a feed lot or you can grass finish at home.  Alfalfa and silage are great options to get more energy into your animal to help it gain weight for a better meat product.  Grass finished beef often spends more time in a feed lot than grain finished beef because it takes longer for the animal to reach a desirable weight.  Grain finishing provides a more flavorful and more tender meat product although it is higher in fat than grass finishing.    While marketing insists that grass fed beef is higher in Omega Fatty Acids, any form of beef contain a miniscule amount of these brain boosters.  If you are concerned about Omegas I suggest you eat fish.

If you begin feeding your animal 1,000 IU of Vitamin E three months prior to harvest the meat has a longer shelf life.  This can range, depending on animal and cut, anywhere from an extra 6 hours to three days.

Harvest Time

  • Fasting – All animals need to be fasted for 12 hours before harvest but no more than 24 hours. Be sure to still provide as much fresh water as the animal can drink. If you feed your animal one last meal it will make a mess of the harvesting floor and stop production for cleanup. Cattle ruminate the last meal they’ve eaten for about 8 hours so they won’t be uncomfortably hungry. Water is extremely important for blood removal. A dehydrated animal will have meat quality issues.
  • Stress – Reduce stress as much as possible. Long term stress and short term stress affect meat quality. Remember that happy cows will give you the most meat with the best eating quality.

The Process

  • Knock
  • Harvest
  • Evisceration/hide
  • Weigh
  • Age
  • Cut

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  • Pricing
    • $65 harvest
    • $0.65/pound hanging weight (carcass with head, hide, visceral [guts] removed). This is usually 60%-65% of the animal’s live weight with the national average being 62.5%.
    • We ask for a payment of $150 upfront to help cover costs incurred before and during the cutting process. This can be paid online through PayPal. Remaining balance does not need to be paid until the packaged product is in your hands.
  • About Ordering
    • While there are many cut options for each part of the animal, you can’t choose them all. If you choose, for instance, to keep your Rib bone-in, you cannot also have back ribs. It just isn’t possible for the same thing to be used 2 different ways. However, if you are ordering a Whole Beef you can order each half separately. That way you can have the Short Loin from one half be made into T-Bone steaks and the Short Loin from the other half be made into boneless New York Strip Steaks or a roast and keep your Tenderloin separate as either a roast or Filet Mignon steaks.

Click here for our Beef Cut Chart

If you have questions please feel free to contact us. There is no dumb question & we don’t judge.


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Click here to download the Beef Order Form

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