SELECTING ALPACAS: Statistics & EPDs
There are many ways to evaluate your herd and the Herd Sires available to you. You can do your own hands-on evaluation, or you can hire an expert. You can take your animals to shows or watch others at shows and get a single judge's opinion. The problem with this type of selection is that these strategies result in a selection based on one person's preferred traits. Some people like dense fleece, some like long soft & silky fleece, some like extreme crimp, while others look for micro-crimp.
At MAPACA 2008, Brett Kaysen of Colorado State University stated that when traditional livestock farmers ask, "What makes a good alpaca?", they get many differing answers, which results in them shying away from entering our young industry. The traditional farmer looks at the alpaca industry as exotics, because a traditional selection method, such as Estimated Progeny Differences (EPDs) is NOT commonly used when selecting alpaca breeding stock.
Double 8 Alpaca Ranch is taking its first steps towards traditional selection. We are in the process of comparing and ranking our herd by using the National Fiber data available. We know where we stand "statistically" rather than by how many blue ribbons or color champion banners our alpacas have won.
You will continue to see Doug and Bonnie of Double 8 Alpaca Ranch in the show ring, but you will also see us continuing our research and developing our herd based on hard numbers and statistics.
GENETICS HOLD THE KEY TO THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY,
AND THOSE GENETICS WILL BE MEASURED.