How can we help you?

Southern Hide Exports understands your expectations. We know that quality , efficiency and economy play important roles in your decision process. Ideally you want more than just a supplier, you want a business partner who cares as much as you do about your market. That's where Southern Hide Exports can exceed your expectations. Southern Hide Exports' mission is to be the first choice for tanners seeking a full range of hides or skins, raw or semi processed, for their particular leather productions. Our goals are to deliver professional service, reliably, and beyond the expectation of other hide and skin suppliers. We are experts in our field and care about getting your orders done the right way, first time. We work closely with a range of important meat processors to provide you with the best possible raw materials that stand out from the rest. We process and offer a full range of hides and skins including :

1. Cattle Hides
2. Calf Skins
3. Deer Skins
4. Goat Skins
5. Kangaroo Skins
6. Wet Blue Hides
7. Brinecured Hides

Our services are integrated and have been refined over the past 33 years to the highest standard of quality. In the long run it's your future we think about. Because without you the client, we don't have a business.


Since 1974, we have strived to be at the forefront of hide and skin processing services and supply and marketing networks. We are a privately owned business, located in Sydney, maintaining a number of strategic industry relationships. We believe we're able to supply all your requirements, offering you service and quality at a competitive price.

The Australian market

Livestock are slaughtered throughout Australia; however the majority are processed in the eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. These three states account for 84% of all the cattle slaughtered. Current cattle population is around 27 million head with an annual slaughter in excess of 8 million head. There are approximately 3 million Kangaroo harvested each year, 200,000 goats and 70,000 deer.

Australian cattle have been traditionally raised on open range pastures, however increasing numbers are finished on Feed Lots. Short Fed are finished on grain feed from 30 to 69 days and Long Fed typically from 70 days to 200 days plus prior to slaughter. Approximately 900,000 cattle were on Feed Lots at the end of 2004.

We first recognized the superior qualities of Grain Fed cattle hides in 1992 and have lead the industry by processing and marketing Grain Fed (Feed Lot) hides since that time. Hides from grain fed cattle are keenly sought for Automotive and Upholstery leather and top quality Shoe and Garment leather manufacture due to cleaner grain and consistent superior quality.

Our future

We continually investigate new ways to process and transport hides with the best and most economical practices, maintaining or improving our procedures at every opportunity. We continually search for new methods to improve hide quality; from the meatworks, through processing, to our customers plants, monitoring every aspect of hide handling and treatment to ensure the best possible deliveries.

Australia's beef cattle industry

The beef cattle industry is one of Australia's major agricultural industries. It is a diverse industry, ranging from intensively managed small farm holdings in the south-east of Australia, where more fertile soils and plentiful supplies of water allow high stocking rates, to extensive large scale unfenced cattle stations where cattle rarely see a human being, except for infrequent musters.

In June 2004 the beef cattle herd was expected to number about 23.3 million, down 1% on the 23.6 million animals recorded in June 2003. During 2003 to 2004, a total of 8.8 million cattle and calves were slaughtered.

Historical overview

The first European settlers arrived in 1788 with six head of cattle. The herd grew and amounted to just over 1,000 cattle in the year 1800. During the next fifty years, however, the pastoral industry made rapid strides and had reached 1.8 million by the end of 1850.

This growth was to continue for the next 50 years and by 1900 the beef cattle herd had climbed to 8.6 million head. However, the impact of two world wars and the Depression saw numbers remain comparatively stable for the next 50 years, and in 1950 the beef cattle herd stood at 9.7 million head.

Despite the introduction of Brahman cattle in the 1930s, Australia's beef herd continued to be dominated by Bos Taurus cattle of British origin, such as Hereford, Aberdeen Angus and Beef Shorthorn, well into the 1950s. During the 1950s more Bos Indicus breeds were introduced and they, and their crossbred offspring, have proven to be well suited to the northern parts of the continent. These cattle have played a major role in the development of Australia's northern cattle herd and the growth of the live cattle trade to South East Asia. In the late-1960s, large European Bos Taurus breeds such as Limousin, Charolais and Simmental were introduced and crossed with British breed stock to produce later finishing, larger animals.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Australia had the tenth largest cattle herd in the world in 2003, with the top four being India (226 million), Brazil (190 million), China (103 million), and the United States of America (USA) (96 million). Despite its relatively modest herd (about 2% of the world's cattle population), Australia is currently the world's largest exporter of beef contributing nearly 25% of the total beef traded.


The production cycle of the beef industry has changed over the past 30 years with the introduction of feedlots. Feedlots are defined as 'a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities where cattle are completely hand fed or mechanically fed for the purpose of production'.

Feedlots made their first appearance in the USA in the 1920s but it was not until the 1950s that Australia began experimenting with the concept. In the mid-1960s commercial feedlotting started on the Darling Downs in Queensland. This industry within an industry was born out of a demand from overseas customers, for a specifically tailored, consistently high quality, year round product.

Cattle stay on this feed for periods varying from about 30 days up to about 240 days depending on the level of marbling and weight required by the particular customer.

It is expected that over the next year or two the number of feed lots will increase slightly and eventually stabilise at about the 600 mark. Total feedlot carrying capacity had risen to a record high of 926,000 head as at 31 March 2004 whilst the numbers on-feed were reported to be 666,000 head (72% of total carrying capacity), nearly half of which was in Queensland and over a third in New South Wales. Of total capacity, 55% was held by 23 feedlots, each with a licensed capacity of 10,000 head or more. At the other extreme, 17% was held by about 481 feedlots, each with a licensed capacity of less than 1,000 head.

Most of the cattle being held on feedlots at 31 March 2004 were destined for the Japanese market (which was expected to consume 356,000 head or 53% of available supply). The next biggest market was the domestic market (which was expected to consume around 249,000 head or 37% of available supply).

Type and age of Feed Lot Cattle
Description Age and Type of Cattle Average Weight
Domestic9-18 Months old Steers and heifer24-28
Short Fed20-26 Months old Steers38-48
150 days18-22 Months old Steers38-46
200 days16-20 Months old Steers35-42
Long Fed9-12 Months old Steers30-33
Yealing9-12 Months old Steers and heifer26-30


Cattle slaughter rates have increased steadily over time as the cattle herd has grown and as consumer demands and preferences have changed. In 1901 about an eighth of the 8.6 million head herd were slaughtered while in 1950 a quarter of the then 9.7 million head herd were slaughtered. In 2003 to 2004, 8.8 million cattle and calves were slaughtered, representing around 33% of the total cattle herd. In 2003 to 2004 the dairy industry was estimated to have contributed nearly 1.7 million cattle to the total slaughter. This number was made up of 270,000 beef bred cattle, 860,000 bobby calves and 560,000 cull dairy cows.

Current average dressed carcass weight for cattle and calves stands at 232 kgs, a 36% increase on the 171 kgs in 1950. Queensland slaughters the most cattle and calves at around 42% of the herd, Victoria is next with about 25% of all cattle and calves slaughtered followed by New South Wales at around d 20.5%.