Potential for hide quality improvements
Schraeder, Christopher E.
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The initial producer (cow-calf) is generally motivated to be more concerned about carcass quality than hide quality, and therefore brand to prevent theft. However, with the need for better quality hides in the leather industry, branding is a major issue in dealing with preventable damage. It is believed that branding does help in deterring theft but there should be a better way to identify livestock while also preserving hide quality. This study tries to determine the potential for using alternative identification methods in place of branding. This is estimated by analyzing what factors are present to induce producers to brand. These factors will include the value and benefits that cattle producers receive when they use branding to identify their cattle, both monetary and aesthetic. Three surveys were constructed and submitted to 1608 cattle producers, 33 cattle inspectors, and 3 cattle rustlers. Personal interviews were conducted with cattle inspectors and cattle rustlers. Responses on returned producer surveys were encoded in spreadsheet format and analyzed via frequency analyses and logit modeling. Responses on inspector surveys and interviews were quantified and discussed in detail. Responses of cattle rustlers were used throughout the paper to provide anecdotal evidence to producer and inspector statements. By considering these analyses, it was shown that a producer who owns a large number of cattle and who is aware of monetary loss due to branding , but does not consider the brand damage a problem, will brand his/her cattle more than other cattle producers. The models in this study indicate that theft does not influence branding. The study has shown that cattle producers are willing to substitute the use of microchips in cattle identification for a monetary incentive, with an estimated average incentive at $13.54 per head.