Australian Alpaca fibre, limited quantity & premium quality
September 09, 20151 min read
The importation and commercial breeding of alpacas into Australia started about thirty years ago.
Today in Australia, there are approximately 175,000 registered animals in Australia which is the largest population of alpacas outside of South America.
With Australia's experience in breeding sheep, alpacas have thrived in Australia and produce world class fleece which is in high demand for fashion and home wares.
Alpacas are shorn once a year, from September in the north to end November in the south and on average the fleece yield is between three to four kilograms from each animal. The clip is very clean and lanolin free. After shearing, the alpaca fleece is "classed" to grade it into various categories and is then washed in a natural organic detergent to remove dirt and vegetable matter.
Even with a good yield from each animal, the relatively small numbers of alpacas in Australia means that the annual alpaca fleece clip is approximately 150 tonnes which is very small by commercial textile standards.
The limited supply of quality alpaca fleece restricts the quantities of commercial bedding products that can be manufactured for local and international markets.
Australian alpaca fleece is very rare and is less than one percent of the world's alpaca fleece production which in itself is also very small. With the global production of alpaca being less than one hundredth of one per cent of sheep's wool, alpaca fleece is a very exclusive and rare natural fibre with demand exceeding supply many times over.
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