The Alpaca Coalition of America has established a Premium Bale Project to show the American textile industry that alpaca breeders are producing low micron, low standard deviation fleeces that could be used in the finest textile and knitwear applications.
ACOA is to sponsor the collection of two bales of elite white huacaya to sell by auction to the highest bidders in the textile industry.
The two bales are:
Premium Plus - a bale under 18 micron average fibre diameter, with an aggregate standard deviation of under 4.0, a comfort factor of not less than 98% and a maximum staple length variation of one inch around an average of 3.5 inches. Vegetable matter contamination will be at a very low level (on a scale of 1-5, at 2 or less) and each fleece will be tested for tensile strength. No juvenile fleeces will be accepted.
Premium - a bale under 20 micron average fibre diameter with an aggregate standard deviation of less than 4.0, a comfort factor of not less than 98% and a maximum staple length variation the same as the Premium Plus bale. Vegetable matter contamination will be at a very low level (on a scale of 1-5, at 2 or less) and each fleece will be tested for tensile strength. No juvenile fleeces will be accepted.
Growers will be invited to submit three samples from each fleece they would like to contribute, shoulder, mid-side and rump. The samples will be tested with the OFDA 2000 for a testing fee of five dollars per fleece.
Meanwhile a press release, dated September 5, from the Australian Alpaca Fleece Ltd states that the first container of Australian alpaca fibre has arrived in the UK and that the feedback from the customer is really good and that they are satisfied with both quality and value. They also state that they have European customers looking for container quantities of clean fleece, including lower quality lines.
The prices paid to the growers for white fleeces in which 75% of the fleece is under 22 micron is the equivalent of £3.26 and for colour £1.92.