Subscribers Conference 2009
2009 SRS® Alpacas International Conference
The conference held from the 19th to the 21st of June in Wagga was a great success and highlighted the positive steps forward that alpaca breeders are making using the SRS® breeding system. There were over 70 people in attendance, 4 from New Zealand and, for the first time, included non subscribers as well as wool growers.
On Friday afternoon 2 sessions were held. Over 25 people sat in on the introduction to the SRS® breeding system run by Dr Jim Watts and John Pike. For those who have not heard the science before or who wanted a refresher session this was certainly very important and laid the ground work for the next two days of discussion and workshops. At the same time wool growers sat in a talk on the benefits of alpaca wethers as guards for lambs and kids. This is an area that we will need to expand to reduce the number of surplus animals on farms and get them into the wool growing areas. The Breeding Advisers in these areas are working on this service at present.
On Saturday morning Julienne Gelber, as keynote speaker, provided us all with an insight into the processing of fibre and in particular suri fibre. Julienne's talk opened up a lot of discussion and an air of excitement as to the prospects for alpaca fibre on the world market. The message is that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to pay for high quality fabrics and garments and as an industry we must make sure that what we supply, in terms of raw fibre, is of exceptional quality. The concentration on density, length, softness and lustre in our breeding will ensure that we are well placed to take advantage of the markets that are there. This was supported by Annie Georgeston, a designer, on the Sunday morning who showed us the possibilities of wool fibre in quality fabric and design.
Dr Jim Watts presented the breeding data for the last 5 years that he has collected from fleece and skin samples indicating that the density of our animals is increasing, that the primary fibres are being reduced in micron and that the goal of 17 micron primary fibres is achievable. The developments highlighted the quality of the fibre being produced, in just a couple of alpaca generations, which is very encouraging for individual breeders, SRSAI and the wider alpaca industry. Jim's talk was followed up by a series of 3 workshops where participants could get their hands on a number of animals and discuss their various traits with the Breeding Advisers who conducted the sessions. The Sunday morning workshops expanded on the previous day and highlighted the development in the fleece and helped participants look for the necessary traits in the fleeces of their animals that will assist them take their breeding to another level.
The website is an important tool for SRSAI to communicate with subscribers and the broader industry. Jeffry Farman reinforced the sales section on the website and encouraged subscribers to list their males, especially, on the site so others can see what is available and to assess the benefits of the animals for their needs. The Breeding Advisers will be suggesting to subscribers, at their next classing day, the animals they feel would be suitable to be listed.
As always the dinner on the Saturday night was well attended and a great night was had by all. Thanks to Julie Wilkinson from Barooka all the tables enjoyed a bottle of wine. We were also enlightened by Norm Smith, an SRS® sheep breeder who spoke with passion about his property and the holistic grazing program that he has established.
Breeder profiles are always appreciated as is the update of the AGE program. Then we run out of time but the getting together allows everyone to share what they are doing, to see the advancement that is occurring, to be invigorated by the positive development that Jim's talk was followed up by a series of 3 workshops where participants could get their hands on a number of animals and discuss their various traits with the Breeding Advisers who conducted the sessions. The Sunday morning workshops expanded on the previous day and highlighted the development in the fleece and helped participants look for the necessary traits in the fleeces of their animals that will assist them take their breeding to another level.
24/04/13 - Castle Hill Alpaca Show
Castle Hill Show, near Sydney, Australia, on the 9 March was another great show for SRS(R) studs. Walkley Fields (Richard Brennan) and Gunnamatta Alpacas (Sue Maynard and John Hay) had a very succesful day collecting 7 out of 10 Champions, with Walkley Fields taking out Supreme Huacaya Alpaca and Sire's progeny.
Judge Joanne Ham commented on the "super softness" of the animals.
24/04/13 - Hawkesbury Alpaca Show
Hawkesbury Show on the 20th of April was the latest in the show successes for SRS(R) herds. Walkley Fields Alpacas (Richard Brennan), Patagonia Alpacas (Ian Braithwaite and Cathi McMullen), Millpaca Alpacas (Ian and Annette Frith),Signature Alpacas(Debbie and Laurie O'Neill), Gunnamatta (Sue Maynard and John Hay) and Ngullaminya (Tom and Joan Kent) all enjoyed some fantastic successes both in the halter and fleece competitions.
Highlights of the day had to be SRS(R) breeders winning 7 out of the 10 class Championships, both sire's and dam's progeny, and to top the day off, Champion Huacaya fleece.