Market boom within spitting distance

Warwick Daily News 
By: Marian Faa
Photo: By Mandy McKeesick
 
Photo Caption: Julie and Sue belong to local grower cooperative Alpaca Artisans.

Original content from Warwick Daily News.  

ALPACA farmers are craning their necks for overseas shores, as fleece production volumes reach the tipping point that will allow them to break into the world market.

Julie Hockings' alpaca flock began with two, but 20 years later she now runs more than 150 of these long-lashed animals over multiple properties in Dalveen.

As one of the country's most established alpaca farmers, Ms Hockings is excited to see the industry on the cusp of something big.

"For the past two decades we focused on breeding better quality fleeces but now we are looking to grow our herd so that we can get enough volume of alpaca fleece to be able to compete on the export market,” she said.

Countries like China and Italy hold alpaca wool in high esteem.

But despite having the biggest alpaca flock outside South America, Australian farmers have been unable to produce enough volume to attract these markets, which has been a struggle for Australian alpaca farmers.

Read the rest of this story at Warwick Daily News.

Australian alpaca numbers set to double as Chinese demand grows

Xinhua Net
By: Jiaxin
Photo: Courtesy of Alpaca Culture

Original content from Xinhua Net.

SYDNEY, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- China's soaring demand for Australia's alpacas has seen the industry explode, Australian Alpaca Association president Ian Frith told Xinhua on Thursday.

According to Frith, there are currently around 500,000 of the long necked animals across the country, but he expects that figure to reach well over 1 million during the next three to four years.

"The fleece is in big demand at the moment and the suppliers are struggling to keep up," he said. "We've had a number of Chinese visitors out to our farm."

Unlike regular wool, the highly sort after alpaca fleece can be worn against the skin as it's much softer.

"It doesn't give you that prickle effect," Frith explained. "It can be used for blankets, clothing, rugs and even in carpets."

This year, the industry body will send a small delegation to visit a number of Chinese mills sourcing alpaca fiber.

Read the rest of this story at Xinhua Net.

Alpaca industry seeking to double Australian herd numbers within years

ABC News
By: Jennifer Nichols
Photo: By Jennifer Nichols/ABC Rural
 
Photo Caption: There is little not to love about alpacas, from their fleece, to their personalities and their meat.

Original content from ABC News.

A transformation is underway within Australia's alpaca industry as it attempts to double the size of the nation's herd within the next few years.

The attractive animals, characterised by long, graceful necks and expressive eyes fringed by ridiculously long lashes, are farmed for their genetics, meat, and fine fleece.

Once the domain of hobby farmers, the industry has become fully sustainable and has never been stronger, according to Australian Alpaca Association president Ian Frith.

"It's really on an upward curve [and] fleece sales are excellent at the moment," he said.

"Supply can't even meet demand which is very, very encouraging and the prices are good.

"We had a lass out from China the other day to talk to us, from one of the mills, and they're 3,000 tonnes short annually of alpaca fleece.

"There have been some very, very good animal sales into Asia by some of our breeders who've done an excellent job of promoting the alpaca industry overseas, and the meat side's going well so all up the industry is thriving."

Around 2,300 alpaca breeders have registered more than 200,000 animals in Australia but Mr Frith estimated the national herd would already be twice that size, with plans to top one million alpacas by 2021.

"Now we've got people [with] large farms that are really doing exceptionally well for themselves," he said.

"You can be a successful alpaca farmer with 50 to 60 good genetic animals or you go the broader acreage and run them just like sheep.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at ABC News.  

Christmas lights delights from around Adelaide’s suburbs

news.com.au      
By: news.com.au
Photo: By Keryn Stevens/AAP, Courtesy News Corp Australia      
 
Photo Caption: Charlize, Nadine, Hayden and Isla with Audrey the alpaca in front of their Christmas lights in West Lakes Shore.
 
Original content from news.com.au.

MESSENGER reporters Celeste Villani, Ashleigh Pisani, Michelle Etheridge, Dixie Sulda and Jessica Brown travelled around Adelaide to find the best Christmas lights displays.

Here they are:

WEST

IT’S not every day you see an alpaca in antlers.

But venture down Keesing Place and you are likely to come across Semaphore’s own celebrity alpaca Audrey taking in the thousands of Christmas lights.

She takes a starring role as a reindeer in the stunning lights display in the West Lakes Shore cul-de-sac, where residents have come together for the past five years to transform their street into a Christmas mecca.

“It (the display) brings the whole street together,” says resident Nadine Crampton, who owns Semaphore Pets and Garden.

Read the rest of this story, view the photos and watch the video at news.com.au.