The area around Denver, including Greeley, Colorado, is a good center for hides. Cattle are apt to find their way there onto the feedlots from surrounding states. Mostly ranch cattle, still many move in off the ranges. This part of Colorado might be included with the Midwest, although it is doubtful. We mention it here because of its importance to the industry, for Denver has a large stockyards and many meat packing operations.
(Source: Hides & Skins. National Hide Association. Page 133)
It is reported that there is a marked improvement in hides from Idaho and Montana. What brought about the change? The advent of fed cattle may have had someting to do with it. While this is still range country to a large extent, nevertheless a considerable number of the animals are moved onto feed lots, some from other nearby states. This means earlier to market.
Wherever you find cattle on the range, you will invariably find branded stock. Such is the case in Idaho and Montana. Because of the extent and size of the loans made to cattlemen, the banks insist on branding so that the animals may be properly identified. However, we are told there is a tendency, in some instances, toward smaller brands. This, of course, makes the hides more valuable from a leather-making standpoint.
The predominant selections are heavy branded steers and heavy branded cows.
In summer months, steers will average around 66 to 70 pounds and cows 54 to 56 pounds. During the winter months, steers will average 76 to 80 pounds and cows 60 to 65 pounds.
Brine curing, fleshing, and the use of the hide stripper (by some meat packers) have helped, in certain instances, to produce more desirable hides and to reduce shipping weight. More, however, can be done along these lines.
(Source: Hides & Skins. National Hide Association. Pages 135-136)