Select Page

Carcass weight terms – what do they mean?

by | Mar 4, 2024

Live weight, dressed weight, HDCW… have you heard these terms before and wondered what exactly they mean? These terms may not be relevant to most people, however if you are purchasing meat in bulk these terms can be used as a marketing tool to confuse you. It’s important to understand them so that you can make a fair comparison and get the most bang for your buck.

Here is a quick definition of each of these terms:

  • Live weight: Is the weight of a live animal directly from the paddock prior to slaughter.
  • HDCW (Hot Dressed Carcass Weight)/Dressed weight: Is the weight of the carcass after initial slaughter before chilling. It excludes the weight of the hide, head, hooves and internal organs.
  • Aged carcass weight – Aging a carcass loses up to 5-7% of weight through water loss, depending on the time it’s aged for.
  • Delivered weight – This is the actual weight of your delivery.


As an example, a typical live weight at slaughter for our herd is 450kg. This same animal will have a dressed weight/HDCW of approx. 250kg. And finally, after packaging, the total delivered weight is approx. 200kg. Our prices are transparent, and we only charge for what we deliver, however it is not uncommon to see sides of beef sold on HDCW, in which case our equivalent price would be $18.80/kg.
So it is buyer beware, when prices are advertised as low as $15 per kilo for a side of beef, know that you are paying $15 per kilo for bones, trimmings, and chilled weight loss that you will not even receive. Transparency is important to us, and we want our customers to understand our processes and pricing. Our price per kilo for our meat is delivered, dry-aged carcass weight, so you only pay for what is delivered to your door.