Section 4.7: 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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1. Industry Standards

Standards must be created based on the needs of the manufacturer. While many of the needs of the manufacturer are across the board in the worldwide wool industry, some of these needs are manufacturer-specific. The same holds true for alpaca.

2. Breeding For Fiber That Is Consistent With End Product Needs

There is a lot of information available about the characteristics of alpaca fiber. Various testing is available today. The informed breeder can now make decisions with a high degree of reliability as to the outcome of fiber characteristics. Breeding decisions should also be based on what the alpaca owner intends to do with the fiber. Coarse fiber, for instance makes the best rug. J Decisions need to be made about what to do with our “culls”.

3. Care Of The Alpaca--Environment Impacts Fiber

Proper care of the alpaca impacts the value of the fiber. Environment plays a big part in a year’s yield and potential value.

4. Shearing

If the alpaca owner does not intend to show a fleece, a commercial leaf blower usually does a great job of cleaning the fleece prior to shearing. This does not harm the alpaca nor decrease its value for commercial use. There is a high percentage of fiber throughout North America that is ruined for commercial use due to contamination that could be removed prior to shearing.

This is the best time to clean a fleece. Protect your investment! A Shearer is there to get the fiber off the alpaca. “It Is The Responsibility Of The Alpaca Owner To Insure The Quality Of The Shearing”. The alpaca owner needs to understand the needs of the manufacturer and insure the shearer also understands. The shearer can ruin a lot of fiber, mainly from making second cuts. This is avoidable. Do not let your investment be chopped into small pieces.

6. What Is The Intended End Use?

Requirements vary based on end use. Understand what the fiber will be used for and by whom. This understanding not only impacts breeding decisions, but sorting, grading, classing and shipping decisions by the fiber producer. It is vital to understand where the value and profit comes from for your fiber.

7. Transportation

This is huge! Knowing the end use will allow better decisions related to the cost of transportation. It is the desire of ACOA to assist with the formation of consolidated collection sites to be available for all commercial users. This will lower shipping costs and bring an increased profit across our industry.

8. End Product--Building Value

Each stage of the process adds value. The more involved the alpaca owner and the alpaca industry as a whole, the more value we add. Typically, those who add value see a greater portion of the profit. Be a part of the value chain-you will profit!

9. Get Your Fiber Out Of The Barn!

North America currently produces over a million pounds of alpaca fiber each season. This is enough for a viable industry. The more we work together, the more value each pound will bring and the lower the costs of transportation and production. It does not matter if fiber goes to spinners, weavers, knitters, mini-mills, commercial users or any other place within the value chain. Fiber that sits around too long will become brittle or be otherwise destroyed from insects or weather. A million plus pounds a year put in the hands of the public will increase awareness of the wonders of alpaca. This will create demand and increase profit for all alpaca owners.

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