Small Ruminant Research | 2021
Sheepskin leather quality characteristics of South African breeds
Abstract In order to investigate the physical leather quality characteristics of different sheep breeds, skins were obtained from Dohne Merino, Dormer, Dorper, Meatmaster, Merino, South African Mutton Merino (SAMM) and White Dorper yearlings from two separate growth studies. The cured skins were stored for 18 months (Group 1) and 9 months (Group 2) prior to tanning. After tanning, samples from the butt region of the skins were taken to determine the tensile strength and distension properties. While sex, was found to have little effect (P\u2009>\u20090.05) on the physical characteristics of the leather in both groups, breed was found to have a more defined effect. Leather samples from White Dorper, Meatmaster and Dorper sheep had higher tensile strengths than that of wool breeds (∼15.23 N/mm2 vs. ∼9.31\u2009N/mm2, respectively; P\u2009≤\u20090.05). In both production groups, White Dorper skins exhibited the highest breaking force (207.3 N and 280.5 N) and percentage elongation at break (103.5% and 77.2%). Alternatively, Merino, SAMM, Dohne Merino and Dormer skins showed weaker properties which reduced the extent to which these skins could be shaved without breaking, resulting in thicker leather with weaker characteristics than that of the hair sheep breeds. The leather properties of hair sheep breeds more closely resemble the industry stipulations for nappa leather products; while poorer quality skins from wool breeds are less desirable and may require different tanning processes to achieve an improved product.