How much meat do you get when raising pigs for meat?

Raising pigs for meat on a small property is a great way to put some food in your freezer. Organic pastured pork is leaner and healthier and just tastes better than the 'store-bought' kind.

So, how much meat do you get from your typical pastured porker? Here's a breakdown of the yield (cuts and quantities) from my own experiences raising pigs for meat. This analysis will help you plan your freezer space and also help you set prices for your pork.

This example is an average from actual piggies raised here at New Terra Farm. Your actual yields will vary depending on the breed of the pig, it's weight, and the particular retail cuts you choose.

We measured this pig with a pig tape before sending him off to the abattoir, and estimated his live weight at 220 lbs. The abattoir told us he had a hanging weight (carcass weight after slaughter with the head removed and carcass cleaned) of 160 lbs.

Measuring girth with a pig tape

Hanging weight is the weight you use if you are raising pigs for meat and money; this is the weight you base your price on when selling your pastured pork by the whole or half-carcass. This is also the weight you use when calculating your cost per pound.

Here's the retail cuts from this pig:

  • loin (chops or roasts) – 30 lbs

  • shoulder (chops or roasts) – 12 lbs

  • bacon – 24 lbs

  • hams – 40 lbs

  • picnic roasts – 10 lbs

  • ribs – 2 lbs

  • trim (as ground pork or sausage) – 12 lbs

Total retail cuts 130 lbs

The exact yield of each cut from your personal piggie will vary, but this will be close enough to let you set a price per pound for the various retail cuts.

You also want to know the breakdown so that you get back what you put in at the abattoir; once or twice some hams have 'gone astray' when I got my piggies back (from an abattoir I no longer use).

It may seem obvious, but if you are selling pork by the cut, you will charge a higher price for the premium cuts loin. Everybody wants pork chops, and you can't fill every order with just chops alone; each pig will yield only got 30 lbs. or so.

So, how do you sell the other, less-popular cuts? We like to sell our pastured pork in box orders of about 20 lbs or so. We put some of each pork cut in the box, and charge a price per pound higher than the price we charge for whole or half-carcass. 20 lbs. of pork will fit in most refrigerator-top freezers.

I created the Porkluator spreadsheet  to help me figure out costs and prices for my pastured pork. It's included with the 2019 edition of the
How to Raise Pigs on Pasture handbook.

We've been putting pigs on pasture for 15 years here on New Terra Farm. If you want a step-by-step guide to plan, market and manage your own flock of pastured piggies, check out Pigs on Pasture

Special Offer: get my Pigs on Pasture book free in the Start Farming Pack. Get a lot of valuable small farm information for and a great deal
The Start Farming Pack special book offer

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