Tuesday, June 30, 2009

taking advantage of the sun,_Lexus

Time to get the camera out, and take advantage of the beautiful sunshine.
We knew this boy was going to be good the day he was born, we had to give him a great name, and at the time, my husband ROb was telling me how one day he would like to own a Lexus.
Well that seemed a great name at the time, and Lexus has grown out to be a fantastic male.
Almost ready to work.
Lexus sired by Cristiano. this is his third fleece, they grow alot of fleece, as this is only just 6 months worth.
20.2 4.6 22.8 97.5 20 22/02/07
19.2 4.4 22.9 97.8 19 24/08/07
19.2 3.3 17.1 99.6 18.1 28/03/08
19.4 3.9 20.1 99.3 18.7 5/08/08

He is eager to be a stud male, and this spring we will probably get him working.
He was born 22/6/06, so his microns are holding well, this is what we are endeavouring to do, is to breed males that do not blow outmuch.
Cristiano his sire, is now 18.5 yrs old, and was one of the original Peruvian Imports in 1995, from the Alianza herd in peru.
He has been a great asset to our herd and also to many herds around the world, with alot of his progeny being donors for their ET programs.

Baby Dolls are now resident of New Zealand, at Yealands Vineyard

The day was a beautiful day here, gorgeous sunny, a little bit of heat, been a real delight after the wet weather we have been having.
The sheep just seemed to know they were to take an adventure.
As we set up the loading ramp, and trailers in place, the sheep gathered and watched, and when it was time, they all scooted in, as if to say, lets go, we are ready.
The plane was delayed only slightly, but we had plenty of notice of this, so we delayed the loading.
The weather though in NZ was shocking over night, which also meant a delay when they arrived, but it was not for long, and they should now be on the beautiful green grass of home...Yealand estate in the South Island of NZ.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Doll Sheep- AQIS given permission to load

The sheep has had heir last check up this morning.
All are looking really good.
AQIS is extremely pleased with the quarantine,
the management of the quarantine, and the condition of the sheep.
THey are bound for NZ tonight, and all is looking good.

'We Love Baby Doll Sheep!!!!!!

Last day for the Baby Doll Sheep, they are just so cute, they are like mischievous elves, sticking together, they have so much charachter in their faces, They have been great to look after, and we just love them.
Today is their last day here, a huge clean up today, (very different to alpacas), and AQIS will come at 10am this morning, and give permission for us to load.
How exciting for Yealands Estate in New Zealand, a Vineyard, and award winning Wine producer.
Congratulations to both Linda Pwer and her husband in Australia, and Peter & Diane from yealands.
Ed will pick these guys up tomorrow morning.'Keenan will be there as Importer to accept the sheep, and then they will be off to the South islamd.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vallon's Quest

..has been tested one of the finest alpacas tested in Australia to date at 12.6 micron.
He is growing out so beautifully, i checked his fleece today, and it is so beautiful, a gorgeous high lustre, super soft handle, and super high frequency crimp.
Vallon has produced some very stunning, super fine fleeces in his progeny.

Vallons Quest and another alpaca called Illustrious, are the pride of our herd.
18 years of breeding and concentrating on certain traits, when selecting males.
We started with Stefano, who really stamped the offspring.
He also drew a line in the sand, and basically his genes were so strong, that he cut out two colours, blue eyes, and from his generation on, all his progeny bred forward, and not throwing back.
Stefano, a Full Accoyo male, was amazing in some of the fleeces that were produced from him.
Cristiano, woul go over his progeny and visa versa, which turned out to be a perfect combination, with wither male complimenting the former.
Progeny from both these male have been reconised for their high density, lower SD, and high S/P ratios, and have been used in some of the large alpaca ET breeding programs, around the world. Patche'came in over these, and he just added, bone, and fined the progeny up more, producing the most super softest handle. Little to Nil guard hair or medullated fibre (coarse fibre), polishing the progeny off again.
El Condor, sometimes came in again throwing a higher amptitude and more the broader (or woder), crimp style, coming like horseshoes, coming back at itself, whilst the others produced almost merino style high frequency crimp.
The ultimate came though when we purchased Vallon De Oro', a recent Peruvian import.
What took our eye when we selected him, although compact, due to the altitude he was bred at in Peru.
He had the most densest fleece, a high frequency crimp, high lustre, beautiful legs, and conformation, and coverage.
He has now taken our herd to one more step, with all his progeny producing premium fleeces, super dense, and a beautiful merino style crimp.
very high frequency, a sparkling lustre. He also seems to tap into those colours behind the dam, which is really good, as my endeavour is to consistantly prodyce colours the same quality as the whites.
Take a look at this guys histogram, he is a dream alpaca. Can we keep producing more like this boy?
I look at this years progeny, and YES, instead of producing two to this standard last year, we have produced at least a dozen. I winder how fine we can really go.
ALthough this boy has come in at 12.8 Alpaca actually feels like 4 microns finer than Sheep's wool.
If this yarn was purchased as sheep, it would be measuring 8.8 microns.
How much finer can we go.
But it is not just the fineness, it is the charchter these fleeces are displaying, as i am discribing these fleeces to appear like merino, the second fleeces coming through are just like that.

This is what every alpaca breeder should be aiming for with their breeding dicisions.
We cannot wait for this guy to start working.
His dam also has produced some our best alpacas as well, so he should make a huge impact, like his sire....Jolimont Vallon De Oro

Some sun for a change -it has been a cold winter

I thought this was cute, as some males came up to play.
the sun is out and we have some heat in it as well.
It is nice to see the green grass again, after a very dry summer.

Alpacas arrive at Alpacalandgoed

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Understanding -Fibre Testing Technology terms

Fiber Testing Terminology

Normal Distribution
The graph of a normal distribution, the normal curve, is a bell-shaped curve. Many biological phenomena including animal fiber diameter distributions for single-coated animals, result in data distributed in a close approximation to normal. Hence, statistics applicable to normally distributed populations (mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation) are used to define these fiber diameter distributions. The normal curve is symmetric about a vertical center line. This center line passes through the value (the high point of the bell) that is the mean, median and the mode of the distribution. A normal distribution is completely determined when its mean and standard deviation are known.

Approximately sixty-eight percent of all me
asurements lie within one standard deviation of the mean and approximately 95.0 percent of all measurements lie within two standard deviations of the mean. More than 99.5 percent of all measurements will lie within three standard deviations of the mean.

Fiber Diameter Measurement and Distribution
Fiber diameter is measured in microns. One micron is equal to 1/1,000,000th of a meter or 1/25,400th of one inch. Mean Fiber Diameter (MFD) is in common use internationally. MFD, Standard
Deviation (SD) and Coefficient of Variation (CV) all relate to the (approximate) normal distribution of the animal fiber diameters. SD characterizes dispersion of individual measurements around the mean.

In a normal population, 66% of the individual values lie within one SD of the mean, 95% within two SD’s and 99% within 2.6 SD’s. Since SD tends to increase with increasing MFD, some people prefer to use CV (=SD*100/MFD) as a method of comparing variability about different sized means.

Comfort Factor
Comfort factor is the percentage of fibers over 30 microns subtracted from 100 percent. Ten percent of fibers over 30 microns corresponds to a comfort factor of 90 percent.


Fiber curvature is related to crimp. Average Fiber Curvature (AFC) is determined by the measurement of two millimeter (2mm) snippets in degrees per millimeter (deg/mm). The greater the number of degrees per millimeter, the finer the crimp. For wool, low curvature is described as less than 50 deg/mm, medium curvature as the range of 60-90 deg/mm, and high curvature as greater than100 deg/mm.

Typical values might be illustrated by a 30 micron Crossbred wool fleece with typically low curvature and broader crimp with a frequency of approximately two crimps/cm. In contrast, a 21 micron Merino fleece typically has a medium curvature and a medium crimp with a frequency of approximately four (4) crimps/cm. A 16 micron Superfine Merino fleece typically has a high curvature and a fine crimp with a frequency of approximately seven (7) crimps/cm.

Definition of Medullation
A medullated fiber is an animal fiber that in its original state includes a medulla. A medulla in mammalian hair fibers is the more or less continuous cellular marrow inside the cortical layer in most medium and coarse alpaca fibers. By definition (ASTM), a kemp fiber is a medullated fiber in which the diameter of the medulla is 60% or more of the diameter of the fiber.

Medullation Measurement
Medullation measurement can be performed using either a projection microscope or the OFDA 100. Using IWTO nomenclature, a kemp fiber is classified as an “objectionable fiber” when measured on the OFDA 100. The OFDA100 measures opacity and therefore only white or light colored fibers can be measured. A reasonable assumption is that colored fibers have similar levels of medullated fibers as their white and pastel counterparts.

Spinning Fineness
This number (expressed in microns) provides an estimate of the performance of the sample when it is spun into yarn by combining the measured mean fiber diameter (MFD) and the measured coefficient of variation (CV). The original theory comes from Martindale, but the formula used comes from Butler and Dolling and normalizes the equation so that the spinning fineness is the same as the MFD when the CV is 24%.

Length & Strength
Length is measured in millimeters (mm) and the reported measurements readjusted to an annual growth period. Strength is measured in Newtons/kilotex (N/ktex) and is the force (measured in Newtons) required to break a staple of a given thickness (measured in kilotex). On the earth’s surface, one kilogram exerts a force of 9.8 Newtons (= 1kg * acceleration due to gravity measured in meters/second2). Kilotex indicates thickness in terms of mass per unit length expressed as kg/km.

Intrinsically, alpaca fibers appear to be very strong, an average of 50 N/ktex or better is not unusual. From a processing point of view, a mean staple strength greater than 30 N/ktex is considered adequate for pro-cessing wool on today’s high-speed equipment.

Resistance to Compression
The resistance to compression (RTC) of alpaca fibers is measured in kilopascals (Kpa). A pascal (Pa) is a unit of pressure equivalent to the force of one Newton per square meter. In the commercial sector, RTC values >11 kPa are considered high, 8 to 11 kPa medium, and <8>

Position of Break
Truly sound fibers break in the middle section of the staple. Intrinsically, alpaca fibers appear to be very strong, in the 50 N/ktex range. A mean staple strength greater than 30 N/ktex is considered adequate for processing wool on today’s high-speed equipment.

Clean Yield
Yield is based on bone-dry, extractives-free wool (alpaca) fiber or wool (alpaca) base (WB). Many different “commercial” yields are used in the international marketing of wool fibers. These are values calculated to predict the amount of clean fiber obtained after commercial scouring and/or after combing. Allowances are typically made for grease, ash, vegetable matter, and moisture. Various percentages of moisture are added in these calculations of commercial yield, which in some cases (very clean wool or some alpaca yields) may result in the clean yield exceeding 100%.

GIFT- alpaca fleece testing- how to get the most $ return on your fleeces

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Friday, June 26, 2009

GIFT alpaca fleece- what this lates fibre testing technology is about.-pt 1

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Dog Attacks on Alpacas

Last weekend i received a phone call from a fellow breeder, to tell me a friend had lost one of his valuable potential stud male alpacas to Dogs or foxes over night.
He was heart broken, and has since got his shooters licence.
as the city is moving out to the country, we are hearing more and more alpacas are being taken by dog fox attacks.
you usually do not see what does the damage, as it is usually early hours in the morning.
I have been called out a few times to assist others who have had attacks. Yes, alpacas do guard sheep flocks, goat herds, cows so they can deliver the calves, chickens, etc.
The places i have been called out to assist, and they witnessed the attack, they said the herd gathered together, and one or two of the alpacas, then went out to protect the herd, in each occasion i have seen, the alpacas have been caught in fences in the process of protecting the herd.
and of course once caught they are usually mauled by the dog or fox.
there are incidences of not just one alpaca being taken. I have read of one occasion of 17 alpacas taken ion one night.
In all cases that i know of where people have witnessed or discovered the attack whilst the attack was happening, there was always more than 1 dog, or foxes.
There can be packs of dogs or a few foxes, and even a pack of dogs can take down a cow or a horse.
With the ones that go to protect the herd, this explains why usually the most healthiest and strongest alpaca is the one that was taken.
We all are going to be affected by this one day.
and if affected, we should send our sympathies, not be mocked or spread rumors.
If one knew the alpacas were going to be attacked that night, the breeder would have been there to kill The dogs or foxes, and would do anything in their power to protect their alpacas, as we all love our alpacas.
You have no way of knowing that this can happen, or will happen, and if it is going to happen, when.
It is not lack of good animal management, it is not negligence, it is not at any one's fault.
Each Alpaca carer /owner love their animals so much, i know i would do anything top protect our alpacas.
There are some local breeders that take advantage of others bad luck to try and turn this to their own advantage. A prominent UK along with his Australian associate also has tried to use others bad luck, to try and gain extra business to their own advantage.
These same people have acted so irresponsible about the health of their own alpacas, not shearing their black alpacas in one of the hottest summers in Australian history, with the intention of making extra weight for UK screening.
The alpaca's welfare was not taken into account.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alpaca Fleece - how to make money from alpaca fleece

how to increase your $ return on your fleeces, is information on GIFT, which is the latest technology for producing premium fleeces which gives us the highest returns in Australia for our Ultra fine and Super fine fleeces.

This also can happen in your country, as well, and the more breeders that produce ultrafine and super fine fleeces the more we can aim for more of these premium fleece bales to supply some of the high end fashion industry, although these are commercial industries.

The home industry too and the whole alpaca fibre market will gain by producing the finest, and softest handling fleeces are going to produces the softest and finest spun wool which will always command highest demand and price.

I can send you information to give out to breeders and a DVD, if you require

To view 5 mins of the 11 min DVD you can see on my website on the green banner below, and further information on GIFT can be accessed through clicking on the website links for GIFT

We are trying to organise a seminar in the US and Canada for Paul Vallely the man who is behind GIFT, hopefully by the end of the year.

WHY GIFT, it is so easy, for anyone to do, by just taking 3 fibre samples across the body and sending this away to Aust

Currently, Paul is the only fibre testing in the world that can do this test, and reports that give you and other breeders the direction on how to select premium producers, of dams and herdsires, by taking out the environment in the fleeces histogram tests, which leaves the genetic traits which do not change in a life time.

Please click and read, because i think this technology is a great asset for any breeder who would like to know the quickest and easiest way to produce premium fleeces and to maximise their return on alpaca fleece.

Alpaca fibre0- trying to analys the quickest way to prodyuce premium fleeces

Our results
suggest that consideration of some skin traits may lead to moderate genetic gains and be worthwhile
including in breeding programs for Strongwool Merinos, but they do not lend support to notions that
consideration of skin traits will produce dramatic increases in fleece weights with concomitant large
decreases in fibre diameter.

from the paper
P. L. Hynd¹, R. W. Ponzoni² and J. A. Hill¹

Alpaca fibre- how to breed for premium fleeces

Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Vol. 12, 6-10 April, 1997
P. L. Hynd¹, R. W. Ponzoni² and J. A. Hill¹
¹ Department of Animal Science, University of Adelaide Waite Campus, Glen Osmond, SA 5064
² South Australian Research and Development Institute. GPO Box 397, Adelaide, SA 5001
There is widespread interest in the use of skin properties for the selection of superior Merino genotypes.
This is despite the fact that no selection experiments to date have demonstrated beneficial effects on
production traits from selection based solely on skin traits. Two studies have examined whether the
inclusion of skin traits in a realistic selection program improves the rate of genetic progress towards a
breeding objective emphasising fleece weight and fibre diameter. Both indicated little benefit from
including the skin traits.

Alpaca-Wool Technology - Skin follicle testing vs classer assessed to ultimately produce premium fleeces

Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding
Volume 44, Issue 3 1996 Article 1
Wool follicle and skin characters-their
potential to improve wool production and
quality in Merino sheep.
PI Hynd RW Ponzoni† R Grimson‡
KS Jaensch D Smith†† R Kenyon‡‡

c 1996 Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0043 - 7875/96 Wool Tech. Sheep Breed., 1996, 44 (3), 167 - 177
Wool Follicle And Skin Characters -Their
Potential To ImproveWool Production And
Quality In Merino Sheep

Phil I. HyndA, R. W PonzoniB, R. Grimsonc, K. S. Jaenschc, D. SmithC and R. KenyonB
A Department of Animal Science, University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, Glen Osmond
South Australia 5064
South Australian Research and Development Institute, GPO Box 397 Adelaide South
Australia 5001
South Australian Research and Development Institute, Turretfield Research Centre,
Rosedale, South Australia 5350.
This paper investigates the relationships between objectively assessed skin and follicle
characters, and objectively measured fleece characters, in the South Australian
Strongwool Merino strain. The relationships between objectively-assessed skin
characters and classer assessed skin and staple characters were also investigated.
The results of these and other studies indicate that genetically high producing sheep
with low fibre diameter, tend to be those with high follicle density, high secondary1
primary follicle ratio, evenly-seated follicles arranged in distinct, large follicle groups.
The follicles of these sheep tend to have a low degree of curvature and produce fibres
with low crimp frequency, low paracortex content, low sulphur content, but with welldefined
crimp. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that sheep with light (thin?) skins
tended to produce more wool of lower diameter than heavy (thick?) skinned animals.
This is in direct contrast to previous findings of moderate positive genetic correlations
between skin thickness and both fleece weight and fibre diameter.
Skin quality, subjectively assessed by a classer, had a moderate to high heritability
(0.36 and 0.24 at 10 and 16 months of age, respectively) and was closely genetically
associated with clean fleece weight (r = 0.65 and 0.57 at 10 and 16 months of age,
respectively). As such, skin quality could be a useful indirect indicator of fleece weight.
It also means that selection for clean fleece weight should result in an improvement in
skin quality. The latter is contrary to the belief of some in the industry, that selection
for fleece weight will result in a deterioration in skin quality.
It is recognised that a number of skin characters (objectively and subjectively assessed)
are associated with economically important wool traits. However, it is doubtful that an
increased (or sole) emphasis on them will bring about rates of genetic gain greater than
what can be achieved by direct measurement of, and selection for, the economic traits
in question.
Paper presented at the June 1996 Wool Forum on "Demands of Wool and
Woolgrowers Beyond 2000" convened by the SA Stud Merino Sheepbreeders' Association,
SARDI (Turretjield Research Centre) and Rampower Wool Breeding Services.
Hynd et al. 167
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
168 Wool Follicle And Skin Characters
It is recognised that a number of skin characters (objectively and subjectively assessed)
are associated with economically important wool traits. However, it is doubtful that an
increased (or sole) emphasis on them will bring about rates of genetic gain greater than
what can be achieved by direct measurement of, and selection for, the economic traits
in question.
Keywords: Wool follicle, skin characters, Merino sheep
The breeding objective of many wool producing enterprises is to increase the
production of finer, stronger fibres with improved style characteristics, on sheep which
have high live weight and which are resistant to fleece rot, fly strike and internal parasites.
The selection criteria used to achieve these objectives should be as direct as possible
because the closer the association between the selection criteria and the traits in the
breeding objective, the more accurate will be the selection of genetically superior animals,
and consequently the faster will be the genetic progress.
However, the use of indirect selection criteria can be useful in the following
*When the heritability of the indicator trait is sufficiently greater than that of the
trait of interest and the genetic correlation between both traits is also sufficiently high.
*When an indirect measure is a cost-effective alternative to a directly measured trait
(e.g. coefficient of variation of fibre diameter appears to be a cost-effective alternative
to staple strength measurement).
*When early selection of animals is required, and fleece measurements at an early
age are poor indicators of adult performance (Atkins and Mortimer 1987).
*When additional information not available by any other means can be obtained by
an indirect trait (e.g. fibre diameter variability as an indirect indicator of fleece rot
*When a final selection decision is required between animals which have similar
objective measurements.
Often classers use visual assessment of characteristics believed to provide an
alternative to, or adjunct to, objective measurement. Characters such as handle, lock,
crimp definition, crimp frequency, dust penetration, tip structure and skin quality are
frequently part of the assessment.
This paper examines the genetic relationships derived in the South Australian
Strongwool Merino Resource flock experiment at Turretfield, between objectively
measured skin traits, subjectively assessed skin and fleece characters, and objectively
measured fleece characters. First an examination is made of the logic behind skin
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 1996
168 Wool follicle and skin characters-their potential to improve wool
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
PI I. Hynd et al. 169
Why Skin Characters?
Over the years, sheep classers have emphasised the importance of considering skin
characteristics as indirect criteria in sheep selection programmes. This emphasis on
skin is well-placed in that it is the skin that nourishes and supports the massive population
of fibre-producing follicles. A wide range of skin characters has thus been measured
and their relationships with important economic characters determined. Follicle density,
secondaqdprimary (SP) ratio, skin thickness, primary follicle density, follicle curvature,
follicle depth, and follicle group size have been measured in a number of selection
flocks, and the genetic correlations determined between these traits and fleece traits
(Brown and Turner 1968; Gregory 1982; Davis and McGuirk 1987).
Despite moderate to high heritabilities of many of the follicle characters and moderate
to high genetic correlations with fleece characters, selection based on individual follicle
characters such as SiP ratio has not resulted in the anticipated changes in fleece characters
(Jackson et al. 1975; Rendel and Nay 1978). We hypothesised that compensating
changes in other characters not under selection were negating the positive movements
in the character under selection. For example, selection for high S/P ratio would be
accompanied by corresponding changes in the size of follicle bulbs, the result being no
overall gain in the total amount of follicular tissue in the skin, hence no change in the
total amount of fibre produced per unit area of skin. Similarly, selection for increased
follicle depth would be expected to result in increased bulb size with a concomitant
decrease in follicle density, the result again being no change in total follicle tissue per
area of skin. Interestingly, tandem selection for follicle depth and density did increase
fleece weight, supporting our contention that the only programmes which will increase
fleece weight are those that result in more follicle tissue in the skin.
Skin thickness assessment was considered for some time to be a useful indirect
indicator of the productive capacity of the sheep. Indeed, Gregory (1982) provided
data which indicated that there was a moderate, positive genetic correlation (0.39)
between skin thickness and clean fleece weight in SA Merinos. He concluded that skin
thickness could be auseful early selection criterion for high producing animals. Recently,
Ponzoni et al. (1995) showed that there was a high genetic correlation between
subjectively assessed skin quality and clean fleece weight, suggesting that skin quality
might be a useful indicator of fleece weight. There is currently considerable interest in
the idea of selecting sheep which display the so-called 'soft rolling skins'. It is claimed
that breeding from these animals results not only in dramatically increased fleece weights,
but also in large fibre diameter decreases, and in an improvement in staple structure,
staple character, and processing performance (J. Watts, personal communication). This
issue is discussed further in other papers in this Wool Forum.
Before indicating the relationships between skin and follicle characteristics from the
Turretfield flock, we need to examine the biology underlying follicle development in the
foetus and the determinants of fleece weight.
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 1996
Hynd et al. 169
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
170 Wool Follicle And Skin Characters
Follicle Initiation In The Foetus
Follicles are formed from epidermal cells which have been stimulated by, as yet
unidentified, chemicals produced largely under genetic controls. The positioning and
size of the primary follicles is determined as early as day 60 in the foetus, but this
appears then to determine the subsequent positioning and size of the secondary follicles
which form from day 86 to 90. Again genetic controls operate to instigate branching of
these original secondaries from day 100 to birth. The extent to which follicle branching
occurs is a significant determinant of follicle density, S/P ratio, fibre diameter, fibre
length, and clean fleece weight (discussed below).
Determinants Of Fleece Weight
The quantity of wool produced per annum (W) by a sheep is determined quite simply
by the formula:
L = fibre length growth rate (prnld)
N = follicle density (follicles /mm2)
CSA = mean fibre cross section area (pm2)
S = specific gravity of wool
A = the fleece-bearing skin area (mm2)
By far the greatest determinant of CFW, within a strain or flock of Merino sheep
producing wool of a similar type, is wool per unit area (i.e. the product of CSA, L and
N) (Williams 1987). We need to examine how these 3 components relate to each other,
and how we might manipulate the relationships to increase output without increasing
fibre diameter too greatly. However, first it is necessary to know to what extent the skin
and follicle characters are determined genetically (i.e. what are the heritabilities of the
characters). These are indicated in Table 1.
Table 1 Heritability and standard error estimates for skin and follicle
characters measured at ten months of age in the Turretfield sheep.
Skin weight
Follicle density
Mean bulb area
Total bulb area
Bulb area standard deviation
Bulb area coefficient of variation (%)
Paracortex %
Mean fibre area
Fibre area standard deviation
standard error
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 1996
170 Wool follicle and skin characters-their potential to improve wool
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
l? I. Hynd et al. 171
The heritabilities of skin weight, follicle density, and bulb areacoefficient of variation
were low (<0.20), while mean bulb area, total bulb area, bulb area standard deviation,
fibre area standard deviation and paracortex percentage were low to moderate (0.20 to
0.35). Only mean fibre area was highly heritable (0.45).
Relationships Between Density, Diameter, Length And
Clean Fleece Weight
Table 2 shows the genetic relationships between follicle density, fibre diameter, staple
length and clean fleece weight in our experimental flock at the Turretfield Research
Table 2 Genetic correlations between follicle density and objectively
measured fleece characters at 1 OA and 1 6B months of age
- -- - - --
Character Genetic correlation
Yield 0.37A
Clean fleece weight 0.54
Fibre diameter -0.37
CV of fibre diameter -0.09
Staple length 0.12
I Staple strength 0.07
A Upper value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 10 months of age
B Lower value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 16 months of age
Selection of sheep on the basis of increased follicle density would be expected to
result in an increase in the clean scoured yield, increased clean fleece weight and reduced
fibre diameter. Clearly these are beneficial outcomes but how might one select high
density sheep?
Table 3 shows the relationships between follicle density and some subjectively
assessed characters 10 and 16 months of age. High density sheep can apparently be
identified by selecting sheep with good skin quality (as assessed by the professional
sheep classer involved in our project), good handle, and very well-defined crimp (a low
score for crimp definition represents better crimp definition). Similarly selection for
high follicle density will probably result in an improvement in all of these style
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 I996
Hynd et al. 171
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
1 72 Wool Follicle And Skin Characters
Table 3 Genetic correlations between follicle density measured at 10
months of age, and subjectively assessed characters* at 10A and 16B months
of age.
Characters Correlation
Lock 0.06*
Skin quality 0.34
Visual colour 0.07
Handle 0.16
Condition 0.05
Crimp definition -0.62
A Upper value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 10 months of age
B Lower value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 16 months of age
* See Appendix table for the scoring system used by the classer
Is Skin Weight (Thickness) A Useful Predictor Of Fleece
Given Gregory's (1982) finding that skin thickness was fairly strongly correlated
with clean fleece weight, we expected a similarly strong relationship between skin weight
(an indicator of thickness) and clean fleece weight in our experiment. This was not the
case, and in fact there was a slight negative correlation between skin weight and clean
fleece weight (Table 4).
Sheep with heavy skins tend to be genetically lower yielding, lower in clean fleece
weight, higher in fibre diameter and higher in staple length and strength. Of the classer
assessed characteristics, only crimp definition was moderately related to skin weight
(sheep with heavier skins have poorer crimp definition i.e. a higher score). In summary
these results suggest that sheep with lighter (= thinner?) skins, tend to be superior in
terms of objectively measured fleece characters, and tend to have greater crimp definition.
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172 Wool follicle and skin characters-their potential to improve wool
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
P I. Hynd et al. 1 73
Table 4 Genetic correlations between skin biopsy weight at 10 months of
age, and objectively and subjectively assessed* characters at 10 and 16
months of age.
Character Correlation
Yield -0.29*
Clean fleece weight
Fibre diameter
CV of fibre diameter
Staple length
Staple strength
Skin quality
Visual colour
Crimp definition
A Upper value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 10 months of age
B Lower value represents correlation with fleece character measured
at 16 months of age * See Appendix table for the scoring system used by the classer
Is The Fibre Cell n p e A Useful Predictor Of Fleece mpe?
There is evidence indicating that genetically high producing animals tend to have
distinct follicle groups comprising primary follicles in straight lines on the margins of
the groups (Williams 1987). The follicles are uniformly seated and are relatively straight
and deep in the skin (Nay 1966; Nay and Johnson 1967; Nay and Hayman 1969; Nay
1970). High crimp frequency arises from highly-curved follicles, and these crimped
fibres contain a high proportion of paracortical cells (Fraser and Rogers 1955). These
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 1996
Hynd et al. 173
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
174 Wool Follicle And Skin Characters
paracortical cells contain a higher concentration of sulphur, a feature of low-producing
sheep (Williams 1987). It was thought that for these reasons estimation of the paracortex
percentage could provide a useful indicator of not only the genetic fleece growing
potential, but also of some of the "style" characteristics. We took the opportunity to
examine the genetic relationships between paracortex percentage in the fibres of our
experimental sheep at the Turretfield Research Centre, and a range of objective and
subjectively assessed fleece characters (Table 5).
Table 5 Genetic relationships between the paracortex percentage in fibres
measured at 10 months of age, and objectively measured, and subjectively
assessed* fleece characters measured at 10 and 16 months of age.
Character Correlation
Clean fleece weight
Fibre diameter
CV of fibre diameter
Staple length -0.17
Staple strength
Crimp frequency
Skin quality
Visual colour
Crimp definition
A Upper value represents correlation with fleece character
measured at 10 months of age
B Lower value represents correlation with fleece character
measured at 16 months of age
* see Appendix table for the scoring system used by the classer
- -
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174 Wool follicle and skin characters-their potential to improve wool
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
J? I. Hynd et al. 1 75
Sheep with a high paracortex percentage tended to have lower yield, lower clean
fleece weights (at 10 months only), higher fibre diameters, lower staple lengths, lower
staple strengths, and higher crimp frequencies. These sheep also had lower lock (i.e.
more tippy, hairy staples), lower skin quality score (i.e. tighter, less pliable skin), and
poorer crimp definition (i.e. higher score). We also found that there were high genetic
correlations between paracortex percentage and follicle density (-0.40) and between
paracortex percentage and total bulb area (-0.31).
These results are in accord with the findings of Jackson et al. (1975), that sheep
with less curved follicles and fibres (i.e. less paracortex) tend to be the genetically high
producing animals. The heritability of paracortex percentage was moderate (0.33 ii
0.07), and it's variance high, suggesting that considerable progress should be achievable
in decreasing the paracortex percentage and improving the fleece characters indicated
in Table 5.
What Skin And Follicle Characteristics Should We Be Aiming
Summarising the above results it appears that the following genetic associations
exist between fleece characters and skin and follicle traits:
High clean fleece weight
Low fibre diameter
High staple length
low skin biopsy weight
high follicle density
high total bulb tissue density
low paracortex percentage
low skin weight
high follicle density
low mean bulb area
low variability of bulb area
high skin weight
high mean bulb area
high total bulb tissue density
low paracortex percentage
High staple strength high skin weight
low paracortex percentage
Can Skin Analysis Improve The Accuracy Of Selection Of
Superior Animals?
As indicated in the Introduction, the most accurate means of selecting superior animals
is usually to measure directly the traits in the breeding objective. While a number of
indirect traits (skin and follicle characters) can be shown to be genetically associated
with the important traits of fleece weight and fibre diameter as well as anumber of style
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Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
1 76 Wool Follicle And Skin Characters
characters, unless they provide substantial additional information which is properly
used, selection procedures placing excessive emphasis on them could only serve to
reduce the rate of genetic gain!
Of all the characters measured in this experiment, follicle density is the most promising
in that it is genetically associated with high fleece weight, high clean scoured yield, and
low fibre diameter. Such animals could be selected for indirectly by selecting sheep
with high skin quality, or, more accurately by selecting sheep with good crimp definition
(Table 3). However, either means would slow down the progress in relation to what
could be achieved by directly selecting for high clean fleece weight and low fibre diameter!
It remains to be seen whether or not the additional cost of skin measurement is
beneficial. At present the answer appears to be negative, although skin analysis is
making an important contribution towards our understanding of the combination of
characteristics likely to be desirable in sheep breeding programmes.
The authors wish to thank all those who have been involved in the collection and
processing of skin samples in the Turretfield base flock experiment, including Bronwyn
K. Everett, Selena M. Doran, Jenny Bennett, Natasha Penno, Vanessa Brownrigg,
Samantha van Barneveld, Clare Nicholls and Fiona Withers. Dr D. R. Gifford, Mr P.
M. C. Ancell and Mr J. R. W. Walkley left the South Australian Research and
Development Institute in 1994. They made an enormous contribution to the planning,
initiation and conduct of the project until then. This work was funded by the Wool
Research and Development Corporation (now the International Wool Secretariat).
Atkins K. D. and Mortimer S. I. (1987). The relationship between hogget and adult
wool traits in Merino sheep. Aust. Assoc. Anim. Breed. and Genet. 6, 79-82
Brown G. H. and Turner H. N. (1968). Response to selection in Australian Merino
sheep. I1 estimates of phenotypic and genetic parameters for some production
traits in Merino ewes and an analysis of the possible effects of selection on them.
Aust. J. Agric. Res. 19, 303-322.
Davis G. P. and McGuirk B. J. (1987). Genetic relationships between clean wool
weight, its components and related skin characters. pp 189-206 In 'Merino
Improvement Programs in Australia' (Proc. of a national symposium Leura,
NSW). Edit. B. J. McGuirk (Publ. Aust. Wool Corporation).
Fraser A.S. and Rogers G.E. (1955). The bilateral structure of wool cortex and its
relationship to crimp. Aust J. Biol. Sci. 8, 288-299.
Gregory I. P. (1982). Genetic studies of South Australian Merino sheep. IV. Genetic,
phenotypic and environmental correlations between various wool and body traits.
Aust. J. Agric. Res. 33, 363-373.
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol44 1996
176 Wool follicle and skin characters-their potential to improve wool
Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996
I! I. Hvnd et al. 177
Jackson N., Nay T. and Turner H. N. (1975). Response to selection in Australian
Merino sheep. VII. Phenotypic and genetic parameters for some wool follicle
characteristics and their correlation with wool and body traits. Aust. J. Agric.
Res. 26,937-957.
Nay T. (1966). Wool follicle arrangement and vascular pattern in the Australian Merino.
Aust. J. Agric. Res. 17, 797-805.
Nay T. and Johnson H. (1967). Follicle curvature and crimp size in some selected
Australian Merino groups. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 18, 833-840.
Nay T. and Hayman R. H. (1969). Aust. J. Agric. Res. 20,1177-1187.
Nay T. (1970). Follicle characteristics in a group of Merino sheep selected up and
down for fleece weight. Aust. J. Agric Res. 21,951-954.
Ponzoni R. W., Grimson R. J., Kaylene S. Jaensch, Smith D. H., Gifford D. R., Ancell
P. M. C., Walkley J. R. W. and Hynd P. I. (1995). The Turretfield sheep breeding
project: messages on phenotypic and genetic parameters for South Australian
Merino sheep. Aust. Assoc. Anim. Breed. Genet. 11,303-313.
Rendel J. M. and Nay T. (1978). Selection for high and low ratio and high and low
primary density in Merino sheep. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 29,1077-1086.
Williams A. J. (1987). Physiological consequences of selection for increased fleece
weight. pp 481-494 In: 'Merino Improvement Programs in Australia' Edit. B.
J. McGuirk. (Aust. Wool Corp. 1987).
I Scoring System Used For Subjective Assessment Of Characters.
Lock 1 (tippy, hairy), , 5 (square, blocky)
Skin quality 1 (very tight), , 5 (best, pliable)
Visual colour 1 (yellow), , 5 (lustrous, white)
Handle 1 (harsh, brittle, , 5 (very soft)
Condition 1 (very dry), , 5 (greasy)
Crimp definition 1 (very well defined), , 5 (crimp hardly visible)
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Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Vol. 44, 1996

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Miss VIP

She does everything, from worming alpacas, cleaning quarantines, vacuming poo piles, mowing grass, landscaping, laying vinyal and carpet, courier work, cleaning blocks, building pagolas, what more to add to her list

A beautiful couple

Thanks Josh for making my girl so happy

Alpacas have arrived in Luxembourg

nd alk

Just received an SMS, from Yvonne & olivier, they are just leaving Belgium on their way to Luxembourg to pick up the alpacas, they flew in overnight, (Monday night , Luxembourg time), and they will be there at 9 am in the morning to pick up their alpacas.

Black Onyx, Snow Drifter Montoya, Aailyah, Kasarni.
it is so exciting, for them.
I hope the weather is kind, and the alpacas have rested well over night, i hear they have been fed some beautiful fresh lucerne, and are watered.

First Quarantine for Keenan & lisa, and all has gone well.
Congratulations to you all.
Another quarantine starts next week.
Well done

Alpaca Fibre production - Premium fleeces.

(RIGHT-Rae Ming fleece
Bottom 5th fleece of Seduction)

Whilst studying Fleece, and looking further into the GIFT technology, i was asking Paul Vallely who is behind "GIFT", why is all the Publications on Skin Follicle Testing, so dated. The most recent papers written by Independent Researchers, is written in 1996.
Surely, with so much marketing pushing people into subjecting their alpacas to skin sampling, and yet Independent research says the complete opposite to what the marketing tells you.
The answer to me was-:
we have to look at the sheep industry for the research notes and any research on fleece.
The sheep industry over the past 200 years have also made mistakes, and we alpaca breeders like to pride ourselves of not making the same mistakes other industries have made.
We are young enough to look at History, and save many years of breeding any mistakes, which take many years to correct.
Skin Follicle testing in the sheep industry now is nil.
This method is considered outdated, Sheep breeders no longer use this method to help make their breeding goals.
There are only 2 known complete machines that can test for the Skin Follicle testing in Australia, The only machione available to the wider community is now being put into moth balls, and only will be used for research if required.
There is no demand for this testing in the sheep Industry, and a small number of alpaca breeders are the only ones that are looking into this for their breeding dicisions.
The University that has done this research in South Australia, says that there is more to the fibre, than just the skin.
The fleece above the skin is being affected by many other factors, that the skin is only part of the story.
Looking at the papers that can be viewed, written by Independent researchers, say that we need to look at the genetic traits and identify the alpacas that have low variation betweebn fibres, and along the length of the fleece, which will ultimately identify the premium fibre producers.
It is such an exciting process to view your GIFT tests and even though by eye, and feel, both Elyse and i had already selected these alpacas as what we felt to be premium fleece producers, to have this confirmed is satisfaction that we are and have been identifying the right alpacas to bring our herd forward.
Many breeders now around the world are also starting to use this latest research and Technology to help make their breeding dicisions.
It is the alternative to what has been marketed, but importantly, it has been prooven in the sheep industry, and been in production for over 10 years. This makes this technology as the leading technology for Premium, and elite fleece production.
Alpaca breeders then can make the right breeding dicisions, which will ultimately make their alpaca farms profitable, as they start supplying the Ultra fine Bale.