Thursday, September 17, 2009

In this day and times, every business looks to increase profits, and decrease expenses, but in alpaca farming, how can we do this.
Lets have a look at alpaca farming in a business sense.
I can graze continually between 7-10 alpacas to an acre, where we are in Nar Nar Goon.
An average alpaca lets say is 24 micron and cuts 3 kilos a year, 1/2 of this is seconds and the other half firsts. we get maybe at best $1 kilo for our seconds, and approx $5 a kilo for firsts in this micron range.
The price of these females on average will be approx $AUS2-3000
for easy calculation sake, we will say 8 pregnant females, resulting in 4 female offspring at $3000 each and 4 male offspring ar $500 each.
So my return per acre is $AUs 14072 for the year, and is farming $20000 worth of stock.
On the other hand if the females were some of our best females, now as mature alpacas are 21 micron ($40 a kilo at 5 kgs per year, (but these alpacas most of the fleece goes into the first, with just scraps
going to seconds, but to be fair lets say 4 kgs into firsts), same female ratio female babies $5000 at birth and $10000, $15,000, $20,000 at 12 months old), for this exercise we will work on $10,000 and the males will most certainly sell for stud males, I am always conservative with my prices.Say @2000 at birth, and a minimum of $20000 at 2 years old.
so we are just going on the production year.
That is $39,208 return on that year and the paddock is farming $119,000 worth of stock.
Next year though when the babies have also been shorn there is a different story again, lets look at fleece along, my high quality offspring have produced on average 14-15 microns, bring me $60 a kilo % kgs on average, and my progeny from the average quality dams, mated to the same sire are now producing fleece worthy of the Superfine bale, returning $40 a kilo.
high quality dams 32 kilos @ $40 kilo = $1280
8 ultrafine progeny 40 kilos @ $60 kilo = $2400
return on fleece alone for a year is $3680
compared to
8 24 mic 12 kilos @ $ 5 kilo = $ 60
8 seconds 12 kilos @ $ 1 kilo = $ 12
8 x 4 kgs 32 kilos @ $ 40 kilo = $ 200
8 seconds 8 Kilos @ $ 1 = $ 8
Total return for fleece only that year $ 280

That is how we can increase returns on our land.

Of course that is the commercial prices.

Talented breeders are value adding their fleeces, and gaining higher returns on the fleeces, than qwuoted above.

But again, breeding Ultrafine and Super fine fleeces, will produce fibre that can lend itself to some very beautiful garments
Recently at a meeting at AAFL, Australian Alpaca Fleece ltd, they showed me some of the latest designs of beautiful tops, jumpers, suit coats, and i have never seen anything so finly woven, it eas finer than cotton, and some had been dyed in the most beautiful pastel shades.
The high lustre gleaming through, and the way the fabrics draped, flowing with the most gentle breeze.
One look at what our fine fleeces are producing, one walks away in aure, knowing that this is a magnificant fibre.
I went home to my alpacas that are producing the fleeces that are going into the Ultrafine bale, and you can hardly feel the fibre it is so soft, and yet so alive, and nourished.
The lustre almost blinds you.
I know this is the way forward, and that is to produce this super soft handling, versatile fabric

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