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Lingering Fineness… Alpacas get judged at "Maturity"

June 27, 2009

histoThe last article’s comment brought up an interesting point about retaining fineness. We have a term we use for that, we call it Lingering Fineness. Put this term in your repertoire of important traits to add to your breeding program.

When you think about it, Lingering fineness is one of the most important alpaca fiber traits that our industry has to offer. Alpacas have 4 traits that make it valuable in the world market place:

1. Alpaca is extremely fine

2. Alpaca is extremely lusterous

3. Alpaca is hypoallergenic

4. Alpaca comes in 22 Natural colors

Fineness is obviously at the top of the list. As fiber herds take hold, you can better believe lingering fineness will be at the top of farmer’s list of important alpaca traits. Years of FINE fleece production yeilds bigger profits for the fiber farm. Of course we want a large quanititys of fiber production from our herd also, but what good is it if it doesnt retain its lingering fineness?

Lingering fineness has been an alpaca genetic trait ignored by most alpaca breeders because, first of all, it’s extremely RARE and many breeders do not realize this genetic trait even exists, secondly, it takes years to discover that an alpaca posesses the lingering fineness genetic trait, and thirdly, our industry doesn’t typically judge older animals to assess this extremely desirable trait. This needs rectified!

Rectification is here! OR,  at least its starting to change. Again this year at AOBA Nationals older competitors were dominating the classes . Last year, a 5 year old , named Snowmass Matrix, won the Light halter Championship. At the 2009 CABA show, a 9 year old male won Judges Choice in the fleece show, his name is Rico Suave. Its great fun to see these older animals beating the “Pretty” , young alpacas. Now , we are hearing reports of a new show in the works called the “Maturity”.

An excerpt from the website

……… In other words we need the fiber to be a real CASH CROP. But how do you determine a cash crop? Not by looking at the newest yearling on someone’s farm, at least not from the point of view of a person operating a textile mill. A cash crop is something that can be counted on year after year to be the same quality, the same product. Long-term sustainable product is what the manufacturer will buy.

But how do you determine that product? We felt that a show for the more complete production animal was in order. As breeders we need a way to show others we are raising animals that maintain their fiber and confirmation for years. Therefore we are putting on The Alpaca Maturity.

I congratulate these folks for their foresight. And may I add,

Its about time!

There are many alpacas out there in the country that exhibit the lingering fineness gene worth mentioning. Im very familiar with a herdsire named Rico Suave. His skin biopsy report , performed by Norm Evans, last year revealed a 16.5 micron at 8 years old! Data like this needs to be put in the face of breeders, because , like me, I didnt know animals like this even existed. Once breeders start realizing that alpacas can retain extreme fineness throughout their lives, a whole new breeding focus will emerge throughout the industry. Its a good thing you folks are tuning into the AlpacaGuy via Twitter, you will be ahead of the curve!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2009 4:57

    Our stud, Ambersun Corazon, have shown ability to keep his fantastic fleece year after year. You’ll easily find other alpacas with lower microns, but they usually fail at staying on top. It was one of the reasons we bought him.

    Good article. Thanks.

  2. June 28, 2009 4:57

    Lingering fineness is the future of the alpaca industry. How wonderful that it is being incorporated into breeding decisions throughout the industry. It will be interesting as the industry recognizes important bloodlines with that lingering fineness, such as the Misty Maiden line. Thanks for sharing with us about Rico Suave, Don.

  3. Cooper Smith permalink*
    June 28, 2009 4:57

    Misty Maiden X Rico Suave = ???


  4. June 29, 2009 4:57

    I have met Rico Suave and felt his fabulous fine fleece… truly amazing!

  5. Arturo Pena permalink
    June 29, 2009 4:57

    I have a male who holds 23 microns at 20 years old, he was part of the first importation from my country (Peru).
    Hold finest year after year is a very desirable genetic trait that the alpaca breeders need to start looking for.

  6. June 30, 2009 4:57


    Lingering fineness is a wonderful genetic trait. However, what constitutes lingering fineness? Have any paramaters been set? What would be considered lingering fineness in a white could be considerably different in a brown, black or grey.

    How would uniformity fit into the equation? You can have a very low micron, yet it not feel as such because of lack of uniformity.

    Just some thoughts.

  7. June 30, 2009 4:57

    Ahhh , yes, defining EXACTLY what Lingering fineness would be a fun challenge. why dont you join my Lingering Fineness marketing group on AlpacaStreet and we can work on this challenge.

    Im not so sure ANY alpaca characteristic has defined parameters, does it? What is dense? What is good brightness? what is good crimp vs bad crimp, what is good staple what is good handle, and what is good micron? We know it when we see it, and we factor in its relation to color.
    One thing we both can agree on is a 20 micron in any color at age 10 is Lingering Fineness.

    These questions are very tough to quantify into an industry-wide accepted breed standard………But I know I could put some numbers to what I think is lingering…LOL

    Maybe this would an excellent subject to post about.



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