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  1. #1
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    Nov. 1, 2010
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    Default New reason to eat BEEF!

    So I was dropping off my ten-year old custom made half chaps at the leather shop where they were made yesterday. They are a bit worn and need some stitching. I got into a conversation about leather. I was complaining about how my Ariat barn boots, which I was wearing, had lasted a whole 7 months before they started falling apart and how I will never buy Ariat boots again. The woman told me that today's leather is poor quality and that old leather is way better than new.

    She explained because beef consumption is down but leather "consumption" is up, the cattle are slaughtered younger so the leather is thinner and does not last as long. This is ALL leather from saddles and bridles to boots etc. She said Ariat uses crappy leather and even their most expensive boots are just less crappy leather. She said Stubben leather is terrible too. Better leather is more expensive and harder to find. So no matter what you buy, the leather today is not as good as it used to be.

    Maybe if people start eating more beef--the leather quality will start improving?!

    Steak anyone?



  2. #2
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    Feb. 16, 2003
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    Default

    She is correct. Better leather comes from old animals with thick hides. The meat animals are bred and fed to be marketed under two years old, still have pretty thin hides.

    And whatever the age of hides, there is MUCH competition for them. The Asian market is taking a vast quantity of any available hides from the market. They make an incredible amount of the shoes worn worldwide.

    David Freedman, of Freedman Harness, has given talks about harness, caring for and cleaning it, leather to make harness, bridles, various qualities of leather needed to produce top quality products. He has spoken of how VERY hard it is to find good hide ANYPLACE in the world now. He travels to all the tanneries worldwide, buys just the best hides after going thru their WHOLE stock. Sometimes he only finds a few, 10 or less, at each stop. However this is the only way he can keep the leather quality up to his standards. His family has been in the harness and leather business for many years. The name brand recognition is awesome among Drivers, and other folks who insist on excellent leather goods like bridles, handbags, smaller leather goods. Value stays very high on resale, even for stuff his FATHER made many years ago!

    http://www.freedmanharness.com/

    He also says the younger age of market animals has greatly reduced the quality of the leather available to make anything.



  3. #3
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    Dec. 13, 2010
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    Default

    Thank you both for the information! I always wondered why so many have complained that their expensive Ariats fell apart so soon!



  4. #4

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    I wonder how much milk has to do with it. The older animals that are killed are usually dairy cows so I wonder how much of that good older leather comes from dairy cows. They aren't going to wait for meat cows to get old before slaughtering that would just be a waste of feeding an older cow and they won't get that much more money for an older beef cow at slaughter. I personally can't wait for lab grown leather and lab grown meat and milk!



  5. #5
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    Jul. 11, 2009
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    New England
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    Default

    Remember that the ever populare Cordovan leather is HORSE leather. Codonvan leather boots and gloves are well sought after. Ariat has a whole line of them. I am not apposed to horse leather, though many people are. When I worked for Dover Saddlery eons ago we were told that unless a costomer ASKs don't let it slip that those $200 boots they are trying are are made from the butt cheeks of a horse

    Not all leather even used in sporting goods in Cow leather, differnt leathers have different qualities based on the animal it comes off of.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_cordovan



  6. #6
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    Oct. 27, 2010
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    Nevada
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony View Post
    I wonder how much milk has to do with it. The older animals that are killed are usually dairy cows so I wonder how much of that good older leather comes from dairy cows. They aren't going to wait for meat cows to get old before slaughtering that would just be a waste of feeding an older cow and they won't get that much more money for an older beef cow at slaughter. I personally can't wait for lab grown leather and lab grown meat and milk!
    Beef cows are usually not sold for slaughter until no longer productive....at least among the ranchers I know. The steers are what usually goes to the feed lots for finishing for slaughter. Heifer calves are sold, by weight, but are usually bought by ranchers for replacements for older, no longer productive cows (who go to hamburger when they do sell...and leather).
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  7. #7
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    Mar. 8, 2006
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    Default

    that explains why a lot of people say their tack is SO old at 5 years. It probably IS worn out in 5 years.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Out for Lent
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony View Post
    I wonder how much milk has to do with it. The older animals that are killed are usually dairy cows so I wonder how much of that good older leather comes from dairy cows. They aren't going to wait for meat cows to get old before slaughtering that would just be a waste of feeding an older cow and they won't get that much more money for an older beef cow at slaughter. I personally can't wait for lab grown leather and lab grown meat and milk!
    Even dairy cows are replaced a lot quicker these days....
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  9. #9
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    Mar. 3, 2007
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    North-Central IL
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cute_lil_fancy_pants_pony View Post
    I personally can't wait for lab grown leather and lab grown meat and milk!
    I'm sorry, but the thought of that gives me the heebie-jeebies



  10. #10
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    Oct. 15, 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
    Beef cows are usually not sold for slaughter until no longer productive....at least among the ranchers I know. The steers are what usually goes to the feed lots for finishing for slaughter. Heifer calves are sold, by weight, but are usually bought by ranchers for replacements for older, no longer productive cows (who go to hamburger when they do sell...and leather).
    From living in the midwest for many years, I spoke with several farmers who complained they couldn't compete against the factory farms. According to the guys I knew, the new goal is to raise beef cattle as big as possible as quickly as possible-it's the way the factory farms are doing it, so the smaller farms had to try to keep pace. Keeping the cattle long enough for them to be "older" aka with better hides was too much of a maintenance cost to make a profit with the going meat rates.

    I never liked factory farming because it was putting these type of folks out of business, but crappy leather too



  11. #11
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    Jul. 20, 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by equinelerium View Post
    From living in the midwest for many years, I spoke with several farmers who complained they couldn't compete against the factory farms. According to the guys I knew, the new goal is to raise beef cattle as big as possible as quickly as possible-it's the way the factory farms are doing it, so the smaller farms had to try to keep pace. Keeping the cattle long enough for them to be "older" aka with better hides was too much of a maintenance cost to make a profit with the going meat rates.

    I never liked factory farming because it was putting these type of folks out of business, but crappy leather too
    This really isn't true. While large companies such as Iowa Beef may own feed lots, there really isn't any "factory farming" of beef cattle as such. Mama beef cows have their babies out in the pasture and keep them until they are around 5-9 months, then they are weaned, and depending on the size/age of the calf either backgrounded on pasture for a period of 60 to 90 days then sent to the feed lot for finishing or sent directly to the feed lot. Cow/calf operations are still run mostly by family outfits, some of which are quite small. The reason that we slaughter out beef at around a year to 18 mo. old is not because of factory farming but because the consumer likes a tender beef. Cattle that are slaughter at a younger age are more tender.



  12. #12
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    Aug. 8, 2007
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    North Carolina
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    Default

    Very interesting about older cows=thicker leather, I guess I never thought about it but it makes sense. Im thinking the opposite of "eat more beef". If we eat more, then the cows still need to be young and we still get thin leather. If we eat less, they can be older when slaughtered. But, I guess that would make leather super expensive if there is such a huge demand for it already.

    I had one pair of Ariats and they crapped out very quickly. Will never buy Ariats again. One of my local tacks shops even said they hate Ariats and the only reason they carry them is because people always ask for them.



  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by equinelerium View Post
    From living in the midwest for many years, I spoke with several farmers who complained they couldn't compete against the factory farms. According to the guys I knew, the new goal is to raise beef cattle as big as possible as quickly as possible-it's the way the factory farms are doing it, so the smaller farms had to try to keep pace. Keeping the cattle long enough for them to be "older" aka with better hides was too much of a maintenance cost to make a profit with the going meat rates.

    I never liked factory farming because it was putting these type of folks out of business, but crappy leather too
    I don't think you got that story quite right.

    There is an age limit past which animals are not fed to finish, so what you say they said doesn't make sense.

    If you keep a younger animal past that age to get the better leather from the ones fed rations, it would be a losing proposition to do so.
    Why? Their meat would not be by far as good, once they are considered aged beef and the cost to feed them longer would be a waste of money.

    Every beef calf out there is born and raised out in pastures.
    You may slaughter off grass pastures without any supplement at 800 lbs, those are the artisan type beef, not that many do that, it is inefficient and generally cost more and many people rather buy cheaper beef at the meat markets AND slaughtering off grass gives you beef that, in ALL taste test that have been made over the years, blind tests where someone didn't know where the beef steak they ate came from as steak, we are not talking hamburger or further processed meats, grass fed was at the bottom.

    Now, you can finish for a few more weeks that same 800 lb animal on a grain ration, there is a whole science behind it with college degrees in feeding, then you have, from that same animal another 400+ of beef at a very cheap cost, that makes it much more efficient and with a smaller carbon footprint, so better, more sustainable than grass fed, because of the efficiency of the last weeks in a ration feeding program.

    The numbers are out there, in the USA, we produce 20% of the world beef today with 7% of the world's cattle.

    Why? Because we are so efficient and figured how to feed those rations to get that 1/3 more meat out of those cattle in a considerable cheaper way than any other way anyone ever did.
    Another advantage, that beef is also much better eating quality.

    Cow numbers today are at the same level they were in 1950, but we have learned to produce beef so much better since then, refined the meat breeds for more meat, less fat, better growth, controlled diseases, etc. that we are getting that much more meat off them.

    When it comes to how much leather is available, the reason there is less out there is because we are producing much more beef with many less cows, so there is less animals to get leather from, along with much larger demand in leather products today.

    We also use other than leather more and more, as you can see by the synthetic leather products out there.



  14. #14
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    Aug. 10, 2010
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    Default Another reason why...

    I like to buy used tack made from old thick leather.



  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    You may slaughter off grass pastures without any supplement at 800 lbs, those are the artisan type beef, not that many do that, it is inefficient and generally cost more and many people rather buy cheaper beef at the meat markets AND slaughtering off grass gives you beef that, in ALL taste test that have been made over the years, blind tests where someone didn't know where the beef steak they ate came from as steak, we are not talking hamburger or further processed meats, grass fed was at the bottom.
    I completely disagree. Grass fed beef is delicious if done right. It's not only delicious but it's better for you as the Omega 3's are higher than in grain finished beef (which has very high Omega 6's which are BAD for you) and there is less fat. Overall it is much healthier for the person eating it. Healthier for the animal too who is not subjected to the stresses of overcrowded feed lots and a highly acidic diet. No antibiotics or growth hormones are used in grass fed beef either.

    You also get meat that does not shrink as much during cooking as it's much leaner. It's a different taste for certain but I suspect the preference for grain fed is more because of how it's prepared. I can fix a grass fed steak that is every bit as good as anything from a feedlot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Now, you can finish for a few more weeks that same 800 lb animal on a grain ration, there is a whole science behind it with college degrees in feeding, then you have, from that same animal another 400+ of beef at a very cheap cost, that makes it much more efficient and with a smaller carbon footprint, so better, more sustainable than grass fed, because of the efficiency of the last weeks in a ration feeding program.
    Let me guess...the beef industry sponsored the studies?

    Anyway, they were asking about leather Bluey..not grass fed versus grain fed beef.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    I completely disagree. Grass fed beef is delicious if done right. It's not only delicious but it's better for you as the Omega 3's are higher than in grain finished beef (which has very high Omega 6's which are BAD for you) and there is less fat. Overall it is much healthier for the person eating it. Healthier for the animal too who is not subjected to the stresses of overcrowded feed lots and a highly acidic diet. No antibiotics or growth hormones are used in grass fed beef either.

    We have been around this a time or two.

    I know some say they are eating beef slaughtered off grass and like it, or even like it better than conventional ration finish beef. There is no accounting for taste, is it.

    Now, many that are slaughtering off grass are still feeding some grain for a few weeks, but on grass, so their "grass fed" cattle should not count as true slaughtered off grass only.
    They have grain rations to finish, so their meat has the good qualities you expect from finishing on grain.
    County, sadly departed now, used to be one of them.

    What I am bringing forth is that, in blind taste tests, doesn't matter who does the testing but it was not the cattle industry, most of those have been done for many years now, in research universities, those tests show ALL preferred grain finished beef, because, duh, it is a better quality product all around.

    Hormones and antibiotics?
    Again, I explained that was the war cry of the European Markets as a trade barrier, there was never any science behind the claims against that, although it took ten years for the USA to prevail.

    Anyway, you can find plenty of grain finished beef without any, goes under the natural label, many feedlots handle those, but they are grain finished just the same.
    They lose 10% in efficiency, but charge 10% more for the natural label products, so it is a washout for them and they please those customers.


    You also get meat that does not shrink as much during cooking as it's much leaner. It's a different taste for certain but I suspect the preference for grain fed is more because of how it's prepared. I can fix a grass fed steak that is every bit as good as anything from a feedlot.

    No, you get all grades of meat from grain finished beef, some drier, some leaner, some have more seam fat, that beef is graded by inspectors and the grade will tell you how dry or lean it may be when you buy it.
    Many feed for specific markets that want more prime, with more seam fat, or leaner, etc.

    Cattle slaughtered directly off grass are all about the same, lower grade.


    Let me guess...the beef industry sponsored the studies?

    Anyway, they were asking about leather Bluey..not grass fed versus grain fed beef.
    Why would anyone object to taking advantage of what we have learned to do better, especially when we get so much for for so little more resources as to make the final product better and cheaper?

    I know why you say what you do, you use that as a marketing tool to sell your beef as "special", but sorry, better it is not in standard, blind taste tests, not when you compare them.

    The reason there is less leather is, one, because of so much greater demand, two, because by not slaughtering at 800 lbs, but at 1200+ after a few weeks on a cheap grain ration, we are getting so much more meat with so many less animals, so less leather.



  17. #17
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    Jan. 13, 2005
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    Default

    Mad cow disease has also had an impact. It is sad that people almost expect that their tack is going to break after a few years. Really top quality hides are VERY expensive.

    I think the word quality is so overused it is akin to every house being an estate.
    Five Star Tack



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream Believer View Post
    Overall it is much healthier for the person eating it. Healthier for the animal too who is not subjected to the stresses of overcrowded feed lots and a highly acidic diet. No antibiotics or growth hormones are used in grass fed beef either.
    If you believe that, then I have some ocean-front property in Arizona to sell you that you're going to love. Seriously. "Organic" (which is a joke in and of itself, but I'll not get into that here), aka antibiotic/synthetic hormone free is NOT AT ALL the same-thing as grass fed/finished. A steer finished on grass is pretty much treated and medicated the same as one finished on grain, with the exception of diet. Unless the meat is specifically advertised as "antibiotic free" or "synthetic hormone free", you can bet that it is NOT.

    And Bluey is correct about the taste testing data. I was lucky enough in grad school to have a fellow student who was doing taste preference and palatability testing on beef from animals raised on various diets. Grass-fed beef has a very distinct (and NOT in a good way!) taste when compared to traditionally raised beef. Grass-fed animals do tend to have leaner meat, but this is not, IMO, always a good thing. As a professor of mine used to say, "The flavor is in the fat!"



  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montanas_Girl View Post
    Grass-fed beef has a very distinct (and NOT in a good way!) taste when compared to traditionally raised beef. Grass-fed animals do tend to have leaner meat, but this is not, IMO, always a good thing. As a professor of mine used to say, "The flavor is in the fat!"
    totally!!! we finish ours for the last 90 days on cracked corn we grow,soybean meal and alfalfa hay and get 2.5 lbs/day average gain...

    lips that touch grass fed will never touch mine <bleeech> been there,tried it,threw it out

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweiners View Post
    The reason that we slaughter out beef at around a year to 18 mo. old is not because of factory farming but because the consumer likes a tender beef. Cattle that are slaughter at a younger age are more tender.
    and Walmart determines what size of package is mose efficient/effective for their profit margins and the cuts are also made to fit that size box...ever wonder where the old family sized sirloins that were 13 inches long went ? they don't fit the boxes anymore...

    Tamara in TN
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



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