Australian Cattle

1. Brine Cured Hides.
2. Wetblue Hides.
3. Pickled cattle hides.
4. Wetblue Splits

The Australian cattle herd is distributed over most of the continent except for the desert interior. The range of climate, topographic and pasture type is highly variable. About half the herd is on pastures north of the tropic of Capricorn. On the coastal fringes rainfall is generally plentiful. In the north, a monsoon weather pattern assures prodigious rainfall for the five to six summer months of the year and dry conditions during winter. Inland, where individual cattle holdings often cover thousands of hectares, climatic conditions are arid to desert, with extreme summer temperatures and sparse pasture growth.

The cattle in the southern regions graze more extensively on improved pastures in developed areas, where commonly the herds are polled or de-horned and are controlled by fences, including barbed wire fencing. In the north and in the interior the cattle herds range freely over large areas, much of it covered with bush and scrub which invariably scratch hides. The majority of cattle in the north are not polled or de-horned and so horn rakes are more common.

Each different state has its own cattle branding regulations. Tasmania and southern West Australia are practically free of brands. Brand incidence and size are small in the south-east; brands are larger and more frequent elsewhere and particularly in the north.

The cattle tick infests, to a lesser degree, all of the tropical areas, excepting the arid heartland, extending down the east coast to New South Wales. Yet within those tick-prone tropical zones, there are areas which, by successful control measures, are free of ticks. Although the cattle tick is the biggest single cause or parasitic damage to hide quality there are other varieties of parasites which, of restricted range and incidence, also take a toll on hide quality.

All these factors, climate and pasture, fencing and bush, branding regulations and parasites are broadly grouped as environmental damages. Cattle are often trucked long distances in Australia from area of origin to place of slaughter. A further movement occurs from the place of slaughter to the place of hide accumulation and processing; and yet another from hide accumulation t point of shipment.

When the broad geographic and topographic nature of the subject is considered, together with stock movement, and division of Australia into zones according to cattle hide characteristics and quality, is necessarily arbitrary, broad and even fluid, rather than fixed. The boundaries are loose, varying season to season but in a general sense the characteristics listed below, are indicative of the production in each area.


Tasmania - Cool climate, ample rainfall, European breeds, brands not compulsory, free or nearly free of brand marks. No cattle tick, minimal parasite damage, generally clean grain – best area of Australia, Generally de-horned or polled.

Victoria and border areas of New South Wales - Temperate, ample rainfall, European breeds and dairy breeds, Victoria: brands not compulsory, body brands infrequent, Most brands, where any appear, small and in butt area. Border areas of New South Wales are similar to Victoria. No cattle tick; minimal parasitic damage. Generally good clean grain quality. Differing from Tasmania mainly in appearance of small butt brands on about 20-30% of animals.

New South Wales - Temperate, heavy rainfall along coastal areas, declining progressively inland to arid western reaches. Predominantly European breeds, beef and dairy types. Brands not compulsory but body branding is popular, most commonly on the butt area and 40-75mm high. Cattle tick does occur in light degree, particularly in animals from the north, and may occur in areas further south as a result of stock movement from farms to distant meatworks. Some horned stock inland but mostly dehorned or polled.

Southern Queensland - Subtropical, heavy coastal rainfall, principally in the summer months. Dry to arid inland climate in winter months. European and tropical breeds in the south, mainly beef animals but some dairying on the southern coast. Branding is compulsory 30-65mm, appearing anywhere on the body and often in multiple series. Cattle tick along the coast, extending inland in rainy summer seasons. Some other parasitic damages, particularly pin hole. Cattle both horned and dehorned. Within this area there are many “Tick Free Areas”.

Northern Queensland - Tropical, and in the summer in the far north, sub-equatorial. Monsoonal weather pattern with heavy rainfall throughout the area in summer. Frequent rainfall throughout the year near the coast. Zebu, Brahman and other tropical and tick resistant breeds predominate. All beef production, negligible dairy production. Compulsory branding, appearing anywhere on the body and frequently in multiple series in a wide variety of sizes, mostly large. Northern Queensland is entirely within the tick zone. Most herds are not de-horned. Horn rake, scratch and parasite damages are common.

Brine Cured Hides

Our cattle hides are sold on the basis of 100% machine pulled 80/20 or 90/10 Sound/Cut selection.This include:

Fresh green hides are delivered daily from the meatworks to our warehouse where they are brine cured. Brine curing guarantees proper preservation with the addition of specific fungicide and bactericide to ensure proper shelf life of the raw hides. After approximately 12-24 hours draining the hides are graded by weight and type and packed onto ISPM certified wooden pallets. Each shipment can be supplied with a declaration certificate ISPM 15 if required. Pallets will weigh approximately 1,000 kgs.

We guarantee the highest quality product and all hides are subject to the strictest quality control.

Type and Weight Grades
Description Weight Range Average Weight
Ox & Heifer 14-18kgs16/17
Ox & Grain Fed Ox 20 kgs up24/28
23 kgs up28/32
23 kgs up33/35
25 kgs up35/37
30 kgs up38/42
30 kgs up43/45
Light Cows 18 kgs up 15/16
Heavy Cows 18 kgs up 22/24
Casualty Cow & Ox 14 kgs up 22/26
Faulty Cows & Ox 14 kgs up 20/24
Bulls 30 kgs up 43/53

Weight ranges and average weights are established at the time of processing. Weight ranges are given in good faith but without guarantee.


Trimmed, faces, ears, lips and tails are shortened or tail root trimmed. Necks can be "U" shaped or straight cut as is found with “Halal” slaughtered cattle. All misshapen and cut skins classified as Cuts/Seconds. Typical selection allows 10% - 20% seconds or cuts packed all-in but included for sale without any discount.(see A.H.S.L.E.A. standards ) Torn, diseased and or slippy and or dead hides excluded, packed and sold separately. Only large Meatworks production of machine pulled hides. All breeds are included, Brine Cured with hair on.

Sound hides are free of any cuts or holes in the Prime but may have up to 3 cuts or holes in the Offal, and no major grain side defects, with good shape and pattern.

Cut hides may contain unto 3 cuts or holes in the Prime and/or damage to the grain or loss of hair, not exceeding 3 small patches, each less than 90 mm in size, and could include one short shank or irregular patterned neck.

Casualty hides are from cattle which have died before normal slaughtering at the Meatworks or slaughtered at Pet Food Establishments. Casualty hides generally show some grain side defects such as drag marks or affects of disease and scarring otherwise they are 100% Machine Flayed.

Faulty hides can show hair slippy, grain defects, poor butchering and excess flay marks, badly misshapen, deep horn marks and/or disease affected hides.


Trimmed brine cured using 95% plus brine salinity and the addition of fungicide and Bactericide. Brine Curing is carried out for approx 16 hours in Raceways and 12 hours in drum processors to achieve minimum 95% salt saturation. All loads are sampled for analyses. Hides are left to drain for a minium 8 hours (typically 12 hours).

Hides are processed either as un-fleshed (conventional) or Trimmed and Fleshed (T/F). Generally Australian conventional hides carry about 20% fat for mid weight hides from 18-35 kgs and up to 30% fat for heavy grain fed hides over 35 kgs.

Standardard Specifications for Export

Wetblue Hides

Our Wet Blue (chrome tanned) hides are produced under contract by Walfertan Processors at Aberdeen New South Wales in a typical 36 hour process using state of the art wooden drums equipped with automatic controls and a computer controlled dosing system.

Wet Blue Hides produced can be offered either as full substance whole Hides or alternatively as Grains split in Wetblue according to your substance requirements. Additionally we have a regular production of Lime Split Grains which can be delivered in either Pickled or Wetblue condition.

Green hides are delivered daily to the tannery, trimmed and weight grouped prior to tannage. Weight grouping allows us to match the precise liming, bating and tannage processing to indivual weight ranges. Hides are then machine fleshed and trimmed again to remove excesses, chrome tanned before conveying through the sammying machine to squeeze out excess moisture.

The chromed tanned hides are individually examined after sammying and visually assessed for grain characteristics and packed separately under three primary grain selections; A, B and C Grades. 4th and Reject Grades are packed and sold separately. No distinction is made between ox or heifers and the two are grouped and marketed as a run of ox/heifer types. Cows and Bull hides are not available in wet blue condition.

Wet Blue hides are packed on “jumbo” ISPM certified wooden pallets and plastic shrink wrapped for protection. Each shipment can be supplied with a declaration certificate ISPM 15 if required. Pallets are approximately 110cm x 110cm x 210cm and will weigh approximately 2,000 kgs.

We can offer Wet Blue full substance hides (un-split), Wet Blue Grains (split to your specification typically 1.6mm or thicker) and un-trimmed Whole Hide Drop Splits (split in Wet Blue)..


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Pickled cattle hides

Pickled hides are from the same meatworks source as our wet blue hides and are prepared in the same manner as wet blue processed hides except they are green fleshed and lime split. After liming, de-liming and bating, the hides are pickled in a salt, formic acid and sulphuric acid bath for 12 hours to achieve full and even pickle penetration to pH2.5 along with the addition of fungicides to ensure complete protection of the skins during storage and transit. This product is suitable for vegetable, chrome and other tannages.

Pickled hides are packed on “jumbo” ISPM certified wooden pallets and each shipment can be supplied with a declaration certificate ISPM 15 is required. Pallets are approximately 110cm x 110cm x 210cm and will weigh approximately 2,000 kgs.

Our current production comprises Pickled Grains produced from New South Wales and Victorian Grain Fed meatworks ox hides estimated average size 49/52 square feet and estimated average substance of 1.7/2.0mm.

Wetblue Splits

Our Wet Blue (chromed tanned) Whole Hide Drop splits are the by-product of our grain split production. Drop splits are produced from whole hides, 100% machine pulled Australian meatworks or New Zealand freezer hides, “Run” of production selection 80/20 sounds/cuts. Our main production is whole hide un-trimmed drop splits produced from wet salted hides over 23 kgs (averaging 19 kgs in Wetblue). Applications for our whole hide drop splits include suede, PU coating and upholstery leather manufacture. The substance indication is measured in the butt area as belly and shoulder measurements are variable. Estimates of size are indicated in square feet. Splits are packed in weight ranges, and an average weight per piece is indicated in square feet.

Whole hide drop splits are packed on “jumbo” ISPM wooden pallets and plastic shrink wrapped for protection. Each shipment can be supplied with a declaration certificate ISPM 15 if required. Pallets are approximately 110cm x 110cm x 210cm and will weigh approximately 2,000 kgs.

Typical Drop Split weight grades
Weight Average (kg) Est Avg Substance in the butt (mm) Est Average size (sqft)
7-9 1.2/+ 2.6/3.0 28/32
10-12 1.8/+ 2.6/3.0 33/35
12-15 2.2/+ 3.0/3.5 35/37
16-19 2.2/+ 3.5/4.0 38/43