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Articles by Alpaca World Magazine:

Australian fleece prices drop

Rachel Hebditch

The Australian Alpaca Fleece company has drastically reduced its prices to growers for their alpaca fleece due to difficult trading conditions. The drop in price offered particularly affects coloured fleeces as they have found it extremely difficult to sell commercial quantities of fleece in any colour other than white.

Their chairman Ian Winslaw explained in a letter to growers “The AAFL Board is very conscious of the disappointment at these changes that is likely to be felt by many breeders…We are urgently examining new ways to increase value-adding of our products, and thereby improve the marketability of alpaca fleece. We will, of course, continue to review raw fleece prices regularly, and to try to find ways to improve both our profitability and the returns to growers.”

AAFL are paying A$25 per kilo for white fibre that is below 20 micron with the best style and character and a soft handle with a minimum of guard hair and under one percent of vegetable matter and A$20 for coloured fleeces. For fleeces between 20 and 23 micron the price paid is A$10 for white and A$8 for coloured ; 23 to 26 micron A$5 and A$4 for colours; 26 to 30 micron A$4 and A$3.50 and for 30 to 34 micron A$1.80 and A$1.20. Similar prices are paid for Suri.

In a ‘question and answer’ document sent out by the AAFL, one question reads: The prices you are offering are below my cost of production. Perhaps I should throw the fleece away?

And the answer reads: While this may be one knee-jerk reaction, please think about the broader industry issues…the deep desire to support the development of an industry that would utilise the primary product of the alpaca: its fleece – which has to be shorn annually in any case… The Australian Alpaca Association has consistently supported the view that the existence of an Australian alpaca fleece industry is an important component of the reasonably stable registered alpaca prices over the past ten years. Put bluntly, without commercial quantity markets for our steadily growing fleece production, stud prices would be likely to fall significantly. It follows therefore that it is in all stud alpaca breeders’ interests that viable outlets and markets for fleece be maintained in Australia.