Section 2.8: Section Summary

Alpaca are renowned for producing the world’s most sustainable luxury fiber. Alpaca Fiber can be eco-friendly, softer than cashmere, and warm as polar bear fleece.

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Section Summary

We can see from our discussion above that there is no single attribute that stands alone in its importance for assessing the quality and desirability of an alpaca's fleece. While the mantra, "fineness is everything" is often heard and micron counts extolled above all attributes, what is fineness without uniformity, brightness, strong healthy fibers, and substantial fleece weight? Many attributes must combine in order to produce what we might call our "Golden Fleece."

The key to maximizing fleece value is to work toward a balance of desirable traits:

  • A fine fleece also should be uniform. Fleeces with low-micron secondary fibers won't feel soft if thick primary fibers are mixed in; the fleece as a whole will be devalued.
  • Long, dense staples are great, but only if they are comprised of strong, healthy fibers.
  • A silky, low-micron black fleece that is "contaminated" with white fibers, offers fewer options for commercial production than one that is consistent in color.
  • Fleeces should be relatively clean. An otherwise "perfect" fleece that is full of burrs and debris will be of little to no commercial value.

The next section will delve deeper into methods for measuring and evaluating the quality of our product. In particular, we will dig into histograms and skin biopsies to develop a better understanding of how we can use those tools to help us evaluate our current herds, as well as our breeding programs and goals. Objective measurements will be invaluable as we make breeding decisions that will move us toward our goal of maximizing profit from the production of alpaca fiber.

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