Use of Land

  • Comparative Productivity and Grazing Behaviour of Huacaya Alpacas and Peppin Merino Sheep Grazed on Annual Pastures

    Adult Huacaya alpaca (mixed sex, mean±S.D., age 5.2±2.7 years, live weight 72.0±9.5 kg) were grazed with Peppin Merino sheep (castrated male, age 3±0.1 years, live weight 54.0±3.9 kg) for 2 years on improved annual pasture at commercial grazing pressures (10–17 dry sheep equivalents/ha) near Melbourne, Australia. Alpacas and sheep gained weight during the first year and then lost weight (proportional loss: alpacas 22%, sheep 20%, NS) before commencing weight gain. Twice the alpacas gained when the sheep lost weight (P more »
  • Dry Season Forage Selection by Alpacas in Southern Peru

    Two hundred eighty adult female alpacas (Lama pacos) and 200 tui alpacas (young alpacas 3-7 months of age) were grazed on a Festuca-Calamagrostis association at the South American Camelids Research Station, La Raya, Peru, during the dry season and early wet season of 1981 (June-December). Vegetation was sampled monthly during this period for herbage yield by species. Fecal material from both adult female alpaca and tui alpaca was collected monthly for microhistological analyses of food habits. Alpacas were primarily grazers rather than forb eaters during the dry season and early wet period of 1981. Forage classes consumed were different for adult and tui alpaca. Tui alpaca consumed more grass-like plants and forbs than adults during the driest months. Diet indices revealed the following as highly selected, common forage species: Eleocharis albibracteata, Poa. sp., Calamagrostis heterophylla, C. vicunarum, Alchemilla pinnata, Muhlenbergia fastigiata, and Carex spp. Highly selected, trace species were P. gymnantha, M. peruviana, Stipa brachiphylla, Ranunculus limoselloides, and Trifolium amabile. Festuca dolichophylla had been considered by range managers as highly preferred species overall. However, because it was the most abundant species (73% of the total forage yield), F. dolichophylla had a low selection index during the dry season. Alpacas consumed remarkable quantities of grass seeds (up to 20% of the diet) during the driest months of the year, apparently compensating for low quality forage. more »
  • Eat it Neat!

    At Benleigh, Allan Jinks commenced the layout plan 10 years ago, when he planted Tagasaste, more commonly known as Tree Lucerne around the perimeter of a paddock. Two barriers of chicken wire, 60 cm apart and 1 metre high protected the young plants, with the intention of allowing the alpacas to eat the tops as they grew, thus making them more bushy. Ultimately more chicken wire was placed over the top, and the bushes grew to fill the wired cavity. The result has developed into an alpaca-manicured "box" hedge. more »
  • Facility Layout

    There are a number of things to consider when laying out your facility. If you are lucky enough to already have barns and/or fencing in place then you will need to adapt to what exists. If not, here are some options to consider and how we addressed them at Sunset Ridge Alpacas. One feature we highly recommend is a 10' wide lane separating your pastures with a gate to each pasture and two additional gates to close off the lane. With all four gates closed you can create a 10' x 10' pen. With three gates open it is relatively easy to herd the animals from the open pasture into the lane. Feeding them grain in the lane makes this even easier. Once in the lane the third gate is closed. The animals are easily herded up and the fourth gate closed to create the catch pen. This is much easier on you and much less traumatic for the animals. more »
  • Paper Laneways Project is a Win-Win for Farmers

    A group of Corowa farmers who have rehabilitated ‘paper laneways’ on their farms say it is a win-win situation for landholders, the government and the environment. The Restore and Rehabilitate Priority Paper Laneways in the Corowa Shire project focused on turning paper laneways, which are old road reserves owned by Crown Lands, into corridors dedicated towards rehabilitating native vegetation, and according to NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen, it has been a complete success. more »
  • Setting Up Your Alpaca Farm

    One of the primary topics we are asked about when prospective alpaca owners come to visit us is how we chose to set up our alpaca area, what we like about the set up, and what we’d do differently if we had to start all over again. Making the investment upfront to have an organized layout with the proper tools on hand will save you time and money in the long run, and allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your business –your breeding program and the marketing of your products! The information below sets forth some suggestions and features to consider. more »
  • Soil Fertility Key to Soil Cropping and Pasture Issue

    Plant nutrition remains the key to successful agriculture. Correcting soil deficiencies, like phosphorus, sulphur, nitrogen and potassium are essential for highest possible yields of pasture and crop for any environment. More fertile soils, as a consequence of correcting soil deficiencies, is also an important part of having the highest soil quality. Fertilisers like urea, superphosphate, MAP and DAP, often referred to as conventional products, are frequently by far the cheapest way to correct deficiencies. Conventional fertilisers commonly contribute to adding to soil organic matter via their effect on greater plant biomass, including root systems. Animal manure, such as poultry or feed lot, can equally correct soil deficiencies plus supply some organic matter. more »
  • Successful Pasture Management

    The aim of being successful as a grazier requires the manager to be successful in the task of growing grass. Growing grass is the engine room in driving the profitability and sustainability of the grazing system. Once grass can be grown then it is up to the capacity of the manager to maximize the benefit of this resource. It is very important to understand what the ideal requirements of the animal are, how much energy they require and what the pastures can achieve at various stages of growth. It should always be the objective of the manager to keep the animals above a reasonable condition score in order to maintain the animals' productivity, their capacity to breed, and their capacity to maximize weight gain and fibre production. more »