Farmers want to put alpaca meat on your plate

The West Australian
By: Jenne Brammer
Photo: By Megan Powell, The West Australian

Photo Caption: Chris and Tara Ravenhill with animals from their WA Prime Alpaca herd.

A specialist alpaca meat industry is emerging in WA to add an extra source of income for producers.

Alpacas are typically bred for their soft silky fleeces, but by capitalising on the value of meat from animals which are not suitable for breeding, the industry can become more commercially robust.

Bedrock Alpacas owners Chris and Tara Ravenhill, and Kallaroo Alpacas at Albany, have started the business WA Prime Alpaca to process and distribute WA alpaca meat.

About seven other WA producers provide alpacas to WA Prime Alpaca, and Mr Ravenhill said there was plenty of room for more to come on board.

Alpacas provide a lean, low-cholesterol, vitamin-rich meat that is sold in specialty restaurants and through select gourmet butchers. Typically, alpacas sent for processing are young males, and females not suitable for breeding, aged between 18 and 30 months.

The alpaca meat is processed at Corrigin Meat Works and DBC near Bunbury, which have the necessary camelid licence.

“As well as breeding for their fleece, or for stud animals, pets or livestock guards, meat production produces a further source of income for alpaca producers,” Mr Ravenhill said.

“There is plenty of demand, the main challenge is for the industry to produce a consistent supply.”

He said while there was export demand for the meat, current production was consumed by the local market.

An opportunity to try free alpaca sliders, prepared and cooked by Frasers Restaurant chef Chris Taylor, will be available in Forrest Place at the annual Farmer On Your Plate event tomorrow.

Hosted by the Farming Champions Group from 9am to 3pm, the event will have plenty of WA-produced foods to try and buy.

Farming Champions chairman Mary Nenke, a Kukerin farmer and owner of Cambinata Yabbies, said Farmer On Your Plate showcased WA family farming, agri-tourism and rural communities.

Read the original and view the photos here.