Are Your Alpacas Earning Their Keep?

shearpicIt’s that time of year for your alpacas to pay you back for all your time & money you have invested in their care and well being! Commercial buyers are paying anywhere from $2.00 to $60.00 a pound. As expected there are many more buyers calling for the most common and available fiber and paying the least possible price. However, the market is starting to see buyers who are calling for the highest quality and less commonly available fiber and they are willing to pay premium prices. While $40.00 to $60.00 is about 1/2 of what the mature, high quality alpaca fiber market is expected to bring, it is a big improvement and goes a long way in providing a significant revenue source for breeders who have been paying attention.

If you are not receiving enough income from your fiber and would like to improve that part of your business, help is available. It is now possible to plan out your fiber production in advance to help with your breeding decisions. We are using EPD data along with a relatively simple program that will determine fleece production qualities before the breeding takes place. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in learning more.

EPD Video #1- The Basics

This video is the first in a series of screencasts to help explain how EPD’s work and why they can be such a valuable tool for livestock improvement. I am not a scientist, PhD or math expert. I put this together as I understand the system and hopefully it will help you too.

Feel free to email us if you have any questions.

Alpaca EPD’s in a Nutshell.

EPD stands for Expected Progeny Difference. EPD is a statistical science used to predict change in livestock breeding outcomes. EPD’s are considered the Gold Standard for predicting breeding outcomes. Alpaca EPD’s have been available for widespread use for about 5 years. However, many large breeders in the US and South America have been using some form of EPD’s for a much longer period of time. The Alpaca Registry has been collecting and supervising the data collection and database that has been calculated and accumulated since at least 2007. EPD’s are here to stay.

EPD’s predict how much change is likely to occur in offspring. In addition to predicting change, the EPD program will also allow for the ranking of animals in the program. Ranking provides an unbiased comparison of animals from different breeding programs regardles of age and color.

In the case of Alpaca EPD’s, the program is based upon a large, nationally collected set of data. Science has proven that even identical pedigrees do not equal identical genetics. Alpaca breeders can only hope to improve offspring qualities using show results, skin biopsies, pedigrees and histograms. The 2012 alpaca data collection is double than what it was last year. This years calculation is crunching in excess of 1/4 million data points to arrive at it’s conclusions. Alpaca EPD’s get rid of the guess!

Click here for a PDF of our Selection Index, ranking the top 100 Males and Females by -AFD & +FW.