Objective Measurements to Identify Superior Characteristics of US Alpaca

Using Objective Measurements to Identify Superior Characteristics of US Alpaca and Assist in Making Long-Term Breeding Decisions

Principal investigator:

Angus McColl
Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories

Lupton CJ, McColl A, and Stobart RH, 2006, Fiber characteristics of the Huacaya alpaca, Small Ruminant Research 64, 3, 211-224.

Using objective measurements to identify superior characteristics of U.S. huacaya alpaca and assist in making long-term breeding decisions. Angus McColl, C. J. Lupton, and R. H. Stobart, 1 Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories, Inc., Denver, Texas A & M University System, San Angelo, and University of Wyoming, Laramie.

A study was conducted to establish a comprehensive profile of U.S. huacaya alpaca fiber characteristics that will be useful for educational, promotional, policy, selection, and breeding purposes. Specifically, the ranges, means, and distributions of all important fiber characteristics and body weights of U.S. alpacas were measured and calculated using internationally accepted objective test methods. Animals in specified age ranges and of known sex representing six geographical regions in the U.S. were weighed and sampled in approximate proportion to their population density in the respective regions. Fiber samples were shorn from the mid-side of six hundred and six alpacas representing female, male, and castrated male registered animals in the three age categories: one- and two-year-old and adult, and then sent to the commercial testing laboratory. Each sample was measured for average fiber diameter (and SD and CV), comfort factor, average fiber curvature (and SD and CV), medullation (white and light fawn samples only), lab scoured yield, average staple length (and SD and CV), staple strength, position of break, resistance to compression, color differences (colored samples) and brightness and yellowness (white samples).Summary statistics are presented in Table 1. In addition, data were analyzed (results to be presented in a refereed journal article) in terms of sex, age, region, color, and their interactions.