U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Beef Research Program Progress Report (1988) No. 3: 24-25


Cattle leather with vertical fiber hide defect (VFHD) breaks when stretched and, consequently, is not suitable for production of shoe uppers. Typical tensile strength of VFHD leather is only 50% of normal leather. VFHD is caused by a structural defect of collagen fiber orientation in the corium layer of cattle hides. The defect was first described by Amos, an Australian research chemist, in 1958. Economic losses to the leather industry were estimated to exceed $10 million in 1973.The cost can be high because the defect is often not detected until after the expense of tanning has been incurred. The defect does not occur uniformly throughout the hide, but tends to be localized in the upper rear quarter (rump area). Often it may extend forward and downward to involve 75% of the trimmed hide.