12 Oct 2010

Alpaca fibre quality on the rise

9:34 pm on 12 October 2010

The improving quality of New Zealand alpacas and the fibre they produce was a feature of the national Alpaca Expo held in Christchurch at the weekend.

The country's 12,000 to 15,000 alpacas produce about 20,000 to 30,000kg of fibre a year, some of which is exported.

The fibre of the South American animal is sought after for clothing because of its fineness and softness.

Expo co-convenor Stephen Davy says the event attracted more 300 entries from breeders around the country and a record 160 fleece entries.

He says the judges remarked on the lift in quality they've seen in the past few years.

Mr Davy says some alpacas at Sunday's auction of breeding animals fetched more than $20,000.

New Zealand alpacas have also done well in recent European shows, including winning national championships.

Mr Davy says so far there's been no co-ordinated selling structure for the fibre, and there are different opinions in the industry about whether that's the way it should go.

He says alpaca fibre prices can vary widely depending on quality, colour and micron measurement, but raw fibre can fetch anywhere from $10 to $20 a kilo or more.