Cattle management factors that affect hide quality
Low quality hides from beef producers are plaguing the leather industry. Today's hides contain too many brands, scratches, and veins. Cattle hides are of poor quality due to producers' concern about the carcass, rather than the hide. Producers are losing money due to the damages on their cattle hides. Leather tanneries purchase hides from packing plants, and then, use only the undamaged part of the hide. Tanneries must recover the hide cost through the products made from the useable portions of the hide. Therefore, the leather products produced must cost more than the hide itself. This study's objective was to try and identify the effect that different management practices have on hide quality.
Twenty groups of cattle were selected from Wrangler feedyard and Southwest feedyard, which are owned and operated by Cactus Feeders. The groups were selected according to gender, origin, and production practices. The individuals from each group were tracked through the kill floor at IBP, Inc in Amarillo, Texas. Hides (n=l,774) were marked and evaluated for defects. Information was gathered on each group. Information was analyzed using regression analysis, so a prediction equation could estimate a variable's effect on hide quality. Cattle information included breed type, sex, city and state, feedlot data, medications, implants, carcass data, miles of travel and time traveled.
Live weight and gender were found to affect (P< -05) the weight of the hide. As the weight of the animal increases, the hide weight increases also. Also, heifers' hides were found to be lighter than steers' hides. Several other factors were found to affect the weight of the hide, but they were all weight related. Weight of the hide is a significant factor due to the fact that the hides are grouped according to weight and sold. Heavier hides have a higher value.
Days on feed were found to affect (P= .06) the amount of veins in the hide. Veins are a problem to the tanneries since they appear in the final product. According to the study, fewer days on feed results in a lower amount of veins in the hide.