• Fibre Diameter Distribution Characteristics of Midside (Fleece) Samples and Their Use in Sheep Breeding

    The relationship between fibre diameter mean and distribution was studied in a large dataset of midside samples from hundreds of flocks. The implications of the relationships are discussed in relation to using these measurements in sheep breeding programs. Some modifications to current phenotypic parameter estimates are suggested. more »
  • Variation in Fibre Diameter Profile Characteristics Between Wool Staples in Merino Sheep

    Two experiments were conducted to examine the variation in fibre diameter profile (FDP) characteristics between staples. The mean values of all the FDP characteristics were not significantly (P > 0.05) different between staples prepared using the same and different staple preparation techniques. The residual correlation coefficient’s between staples prepared using the same staple preparation technique for all FDP characteristics ranged from r = 0.60 to 0.96. The correlation coefficients between staples prepared using different staple preparation techniques ranged from r = 0.37 to 0.97. These results indicate that it may not be sufficient to segment a single staple for estimation of certain FDP characteristics to examine differences between individual animals. One staple is sufficient to estimate the average FDP of a group of animals. FDPs generated using different staple preparation techniques can be accurately compared for most FDP characteristics. more »
  • What Can Your Farming Neighbor Teach You About Your Alpaca Farm?

    I live in rural south-central PA, previously one of the top counties in the state for agriculture and most specifically for dairy farms and fruit orchards. Forty years ago, everyone in the dairy business followed the same business plan. Most milked a herd of 150-300 head per day, grew their hay and crops and sold their milk directly to a general buyer. There was a local farm veterinarian that would make calls for milk fever and calvings. Most farmers used the same reliable bull or contracted with a neighbor to use their animal. AI and Frozen Embryos were not part of our everyday vocabulary. more »
  • Luxury Hair Fibers for Fashion Industry

    The fashion industry has been captivated by natural fibers, particularly animal hair fibers due to their specific characteristics—such as fineness, warmth, suppleness, visual appearance, and finally mystique—since ancient times. Animal hair fibers protect the animal from extreme weather particularly at high altitude/low temperature, and thus generally their production is not as high as fine wool fiber from sheep. The limited production and unique characteristics lead them to be used in the fashion industry to enhance the aesthetic and prestige look of garments. Being utilized in luxurious fashion industry, they are also known as luxury or exotic fibers. To reduce the cost of the end product and impart novelty, these hair fibers are used often in conjunction with either sheep’s wool or other natural fibers. These blends produce special effects, such as additional beauty, texture, colour, softness, resilience, durability, and luster, on garments. Luxury hair fibers are exceptionally fine (8–16 μ) and are in high demand for the production of fashion garments and accessories, which led to brink of extinction of luxury hair fibre-producing animals such as antelope in Tibet. To help sustain the luxury hair fiber industry, this chapter considers the existing luxury hair fibers in the fashion market and their potential applications. more »
  • Fibre Diameter and Insulation in Alpacas: The Biophysical Implications

    Fibrous fur or fleece coats have an important role in insulating animals and aiding in the maintenance of homeothermy. Alpacas, raised for fibre production, are selected towards the finest fibre to improve the wearability of their fibre in garment form. The thermal consequences of reducing the fibre diameter on the external insulation are unknown, and may have a negative effect for the alpaca's thermal balance. We hypothesised that for a given fibre density, finer fibres would trap more air and provide lower thermal conductivity when exposed to low wind speed, but would be less robust, and so provide less insulation, when exposed to higher wind speed, than thicker fibres. We measured the thermal conductance of eight pelts of similar fibre density but with varying fibre diameter at 0, 1, 2, 4 and 6 m/s wind speeds. Thermal conductivity was similar between pelts of different fibre diameters (P = 0.58) at low wind speed. Conductance increased more in pelts with finer fibres at the high wind speed than in pelts with thicker fibres (P = 0.02). Thus at the same fibre density, finer fibres result in increased heat loss at high wind speed. Increased heat loss at higher wind speed would result in the animal requiring more energy to maintain heat balance below the lower critical temperature, which will reduce fibre production efficiency. more »