Waratah-Flats-Breeding-Goals

Waratah Flats Breeding Goals

At Waratah Flats we have well established (since 1995) long term breeding goals designed to guide our herd development into the future. These breeding goals, which are based on both phenotype and genotype evaluation, together with progeny testing, are aimed at selecting highly desirable alpaca traits to improve both alpaca conformation and fibre production within our herd.

The principle selected conformation traits at Waratah Flats are:

  • Solid upright frames
  • Well balanced proportions
  • True to type characteristics
  • Sound breeding values

The selected fibre improvement traits at Waratah Flats are:

  • Lower micron (from juniors to adults)
  • Reduced standard deviation (SD)
  • Increased fleece weight
  • Brightness of lustre

As a result of continued selection for the above traits over the last 20 years, coupled with the careful introduction of new genetics that has advanced these desirable traits, we have made some amazing progress to achieving these desired results.

Some examples of these improvements include: the lowering of the mid-side micron reading as measured across the whole herd, including all breeding alpacas.

Alpaca groups1995 2005 2015
Juniors under 1 year 18u 15.5u
Intermediates 1 to 2 years 24u 19.5u 17u
Adults 2 to 4 years 28u 22u 19.5u

Many of our 4 to 6 year old adult breeding alpacas are also under 19.5u average, with some like WF Firecracker (6th fleece) and FG Seth (9th fleece) pushing this low micron level out even longer. It is interesting to note that all our alpacas are grazed on irrigated pasture and provided supplementary feed, illustrating that this is truly genetic fineness, not just feed related.

Alpaca Breeding Values

At Waratah Flats we have also adopted Alpaca Breeding Values: through the use of progeny testing, complete herd annual fibre testing and supported by phenotypic evaluation, we have been able to progress towards our breeding goals at a steady pace. This evaluation process, coupled with the genetic history of our herd (genotype) from the IAR(NZ) registry means that we have made faster progress in reaching these goals. The lowering of the mid-side micron levels across our whole herd over the last 20 years is a good example of this process.

If you would like to learn more about establishing Alpaca Breeding Gaols or how we have applied the process of Alpaca Breeding Values to individuals within our Waratah Flats herd, then please contact us for further details.