• Sources of Variation in Fibre Diameter Attributes of Australian Alpacas and Implications for Fleece Evaluation and Animal Selection

    Sources of variation in fibre diameter attributes of Australian alpacas and implications for fleece evaluation and animal selection were investigated using data collected in the years 1994–97, from 6 properties in southern Australia. Data were analysed using REML (multiple regression analysis) to determine the effect on mean fibre diameter (MFD) and coefficient of variation of MFD (CV(FD)) of age, origin (property), sex (entire male, female), breed (Huacaya, Suri), liveweight, fibre colour, individual, and interactions of these effects. The mean (n = 100) age (range) was 4.2 years (0.1–11.9), liveweight 72.0 kg (12.0–134 kg), MFD 29.1 μm (17.7–46.6 μm), CV(FD) 24.33% (15.0–36.7%). A number of variables affected MFD and CV(FD). MFD increased to 7.5 years of age, and correlations between MFD at 1.5 and 2 years of age with the MFD at older ages were much higher than correlations at younger ages. Fibre diameter 'blowout' (increase with age) was positively correlated with the actual MFD at ages 2 years and older. There were important effects of farm, and these effects differed with year and shearing age. Suris were coarser than Huacayas with the effect reducing with increased liveweight; there was no effect of sex. Fleeces of light shade were 1 μm finer than dark fleeces. CV(FD) declined rapidly between birth and 2 years of age, reaching a minimum at about 4 years of age and then increasing; however, CV(FD) measurements on young animals were very poor predictors of CV(FD) at older ages, and the response of CV(FD) to age differed with farm and year. Suris had a higher CV(FD) than Huacayas on most properties, and MFD, liveweight, and sex did not affect CV(FD). Fleeces of dark shade had higher CV(FD) than fleeces of light shade in 2 of the years. It is concluded that there are large opportunities to improve the MFD and CV(FD) of alpaca fibre through selection and breeding. The potential benefit is greatest from reducing the MFD and CV(FD) of fibre from older alpacas, through reducing the between-animal variation in MFD and CV(FD). Sampling alpacas at ages more »
  • Alpaca Evaluation

    An alpaca evaluation sheet. more »
  • Producing Better Alpaca Fleece – The Benefits of Using the Alpaca Across-Herd Genetic Evaluation (AGE) System

    The Alpaca Across-herd Genetic Evaluation (AGE) project has successfully established a most important genetic improvement tool for a commercial livestock industry. This report describes this achievement and its importance to rapid genetic improvement in the alpaca industry. This research is of benefit primarily to Australian and New Zealand alpaca breeders to show them the progress achieved with the establishment of an Alpaca Across-herd Genetic Evaluation system and to encourage them to enter their alpacas into the AGE system. An AGE commercial service has been established for the Australian alpaca industry. This service is a world first for the alpaca industry. In the analysis of March 2008 there were 100 herds, 1879 progeny and 3872 alpacas. more »