The LASRA Consortium Project aims to construct a new, lightweight footwear, ovine (sheep), leather export platform supported by sustainable production systems for NZ ovine skins that will deliver greater revenues to farmers and skin processors within the country, counter market threats, and help sustain the NZ sheep industry. The proposition is based on a transition from supplying the global garment leather market to supplying the more lucrative and more stable footwear market.
During the time on this project, we have learned a great deal about the structure of leather, its components and the importance of different processing stages. We are now in the midst of pilot scale tannery trials, and have exciting results that we intend to share at this year’s LASRA conference.
One of the major difficulties of the proposition for ovine shoe leather is its strength. By making informed modifications to early stage processing we have made substantial improvements in the strength of conventional leather and are now leveraging these improvements through the use of alternative tannages. With improvements of up to 100% required for the tear strength in comparison to conventional ovine garment leather it is exciting to report that we have been able to meet these specifications and in some cases exceed them depending on the tannage used.
We look forward to seeing as many folk as possible to report these findings to at our conference in Queenstown this year.