[alpaca_fibre] Re: Sire Reference Program

  • From: Mary Forte Goodman <mary@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2004 19:33:43 -0400

What's the G.A.I.N.?  ps. hi, how are you doin'?  mary
At 09:26 PM 3/31/2004, you wrote:
>Hi Ian,
>I am getting ready to do biopsies at our shearing day in May. I have
>everything I need to take the samples. I was going to send them to the
>histology lab at OSU for slides to be made and then read them myself,
>but would prefer to send them to a lab in the US that already
>understands reading them for S/P ratio and density. Tell me about the
>processing you have available: how and where to send the samples, cost,
>and exactly how and what they will report.  Thanks!
>Also, The G.A.I.N. will be up and running by June.  Any of your list
>members who want to send in all of this phenotypic data that they are
>collecting for the sire reference site can submit the data for their
>sires, and or their hembras as well, and get computer generated reports
>of EPDs for all of the important traits that they want to select for and
>make genetic predictions about the offspring for.  Any who don't know
>about what EPDs are and their value for accelerating genetic gain in
>their herds can read the chapters on genetics in your upcoming
>International Alpaca Handbook, or the articles I wrote for Alpacas
>Magazine in 2002 and 2003, or the article on EPDs on Mike Safley's
>website excerpted from his book, or they can come to my lectures at the
>AOBA National Conference in Louisville.
>P.S. Don't tell me the handbook is really being printed ALREADY!
>Dr. and Mrs. Wayne C. Jarvis            "In the beginning, God
>created.... "
>                                                               Genesis
>home@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx           www.sixthdayfarm.com
>Everyone talks about genetic improvement, at Sixth Day Farm we're DOING
>-----Original Message-----
>From: alpaca_fibre-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>[mailto:alpaca_fibre-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ian Watt
>Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:03 PM
>To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: [alpaca_fibre] Sire Reference Program
>I am delighted to announce that I have found a laboratory to undertake
>the follicle and density counts for alpacas both here and in Australia.
>I have also secured a website to be called alpacasiresUSA.com which
>will be the home of the new sire listing I wrote to you all about
>several months ago.
>I have extended the original concept to now include some phenotype
>features that may help disclose the underlying genotype of sires of the
>future. I am awaiting a response from Elizabeth Paul and will, in all
>probability, include details of gum, toenail, point and eyelid colour
>in the sire disclosure list. I would be very interested if anyone has
>any comments about this aspect of the project.
>I am pasting the new program guidelines into this email for you to
>peruse and consider. If you have any comments, I would greatly
>appreciate you airing them on this site so we can all share the
>Incidentally, another 20 odd breeders have joined the list as they
>attended a workshop in California several weeks ago. New workshops are
>planned for Maine, Colorado and Virginia later this year.
>And the International Alpaca Handbook is finally off the presses and at
>the bindery awaiting binding!!
>Ian Watt
>Selection of sires is possibly the single most important breeding
>decision any owner makes in striving for excellence in their alpaca
>The impact of a sire across a herd is more significant than any other
>single breeding decision.
>The American alpaca industry uses more sires across its national herd
>than is probably necessary. Supporters of a wide gene pool for the
>industry would dispute this, but, from a production perspective, it is
>hard to argue an alternative point of view.
>The lack of a breed standard (for the industry) allows the broadest
>possible interpretation on what comprises an acceptable conformation. A
>show standard goes beyond what is, or could reasonably be expected of,
>an animal primarily devoted to fibre production ie the show standard
>aims at a much higher level of conformation correctness than is usually
>reflected in a fibre production breeding emphasis.
>Breeders who aim for fibre excellence in their alpacas often lack the
>tools with which to make informed and productive genetic selections.
>Too often males are offered for service that have little or no
>supportive objective data that provide objectively obtained information
>for the female owner and breeder. This information may not be important
>to many breeders (at the moment) but will become increasingly important
>as the rate of genetic improvement becomes harder and harder to
>achieve. This is reflected most dramatically when the phenotype
>differences between animals being considered for joining are not
>immediately or apparently obvious.
>Breeders seeking superior fibre characteristics and production will be
>looking for more than show results and perceived quality than is
>currently the industry standard in the United States.
>Breeders aiming to sit inside the top 20% or better of the national
>herd (any national herd) will seek more and more objectively measured
>information to aid their individual selection processes.
>Professionally oriented breeders will adopt a much more challenging
>approach to the selection of sires and this will also apply to the
>introduction of new female genetics into the individual herd as well.
>This program is designed to not only apply objective assessment data to
>both male and female selection criteria but to also show a way for
>progressive breeders to position themselves for the future in terms of
>breeding and selling advanced fibre genetics.
>The following criteria suggestions are aimed at sire selections but can
>apply equally to female selection protocols as well.
>This program is about placing fibre as a higher priority than
>conformation by objective measurement and the underpinning of
>conformation correctness through strict adherence to a standard.
>The Program
>Because the influence of any sire is far greater across the national
>herd than any individual female, it is important that sires be
>rigorously examined for possible genetic conformational weaknesses. It
>is important that these traits be identified as health and welfare
>issues rather than cosmetic or environmental differences or effects.
>There is currently no industry conformation standard in place to
>measure sires (or females for that matter) against, nor is there any
>prospect of being one in the foreseeable future.
>The use of objectively collected and measured fleece data is not widely
>used in the promotion of sires.
>It is doubtful whether many breeders physically examine sires unless
>they see them at a show or live close by. Many breeders send females
>for mating to sight unseen sires and presumably rely upon a show result
>as a tick of conformational approval. This is not necessarily a sound
>breeding practice.
>First requirement.
>Each sire will be required to pass a physical conformational
>examination as described on a pro-forma established for such a purpose.
>This examination is identical to that adopted by the Australian Alpaca
>Association (AAA) for registration of males as sires approved for
>progeny registration into the International Alpaca Register, owned and
>operated by the AAA. Under the AAA scheme, any male used to sire cria
>able to be registered must pass this test before the sire is used to
>get a female pregnant.
>Each component of the standard must be passed for the male to be
>considered satisfactory - there are no trade-offs, an animal must pass
>every requirement.
>There is no fleece component.
>The examination must be done by a veterinarian so that potentrial
>customers can be assured that the certification has been done by an
>independent and qualified person.
>Second requirement.
>Each sire will be required to be fleece tested using the OFDA2000
>testing technology. A fleece sample from each mid-side will be required
>and the average of the two tests used as the final figure.
>The sample will be collected by an independent person, divided in half
>with one sample forwarded by the sampler to the program coordinator and
>the other half retained by the owner under seal.
>The information required by the program will include micron, standard
>deviation, coefficient of variation, comfort factor, staple length,
>colour and average fibre profile.
>Third requirement.
>The fleece will be weighed at shearing by an independent person who
>will record total fleece weight and saddle. The male will be required
>to be shorn from the ears down the neck, the body and legs down to the
>knee, excluding the tail.
>The weight will be recorded and affirmed by the owner.
>The shorn fleece will be raised to a height of eighteen inches from a
>table top and dropped. This will be done three times and the weight of
>the fleece recorded. This procedure will remove a considerable part of
>any dust in the fleece.
>Fourth requirement.
>Breeders of coloured alpacas are becoming increasingly aware of the
>phenotype expression of the genetics underlying what they see in the
>flesh. There is an increasing sophistication being exhibited by
>coloured breeders especially since the publication of Elizabeth Paul's
>"The Alpaca Colour Key". In order to meet this demand and to foster
>itys growth, each male will have any identifying colour spots disclosed
>as well as eye colour, eyelid colour, points colour, toenail colour and
>gum colour. These potential genetic colour identifiers will be
>important to discerning colour breeders of the future.
>Additional option.
>This option will allow owners of sires to have their sire tested for
>primary:secondary follicle count as well as a density count. Owners
>will be provided with a kit comprising all the materials and equipment
>needed to undertake the test and a comprehensive set of instructions
>which will allow a competent person to do the collection without the
>need for a veterinarian. It is suggested however that the vet could do
>the biopsy at the time of the physical examination. This is a one-off
>procedure and is offered for those breeders who might want to identify
>their top females within the herd.
>The information derived from the processing of the four requirements
>will paint a composite picture of any sire using objectively collected
>data. This data can then be used to make some initial assessments of
>the sire, allow comparisons between sires and lets sires be assessed on
>performance rather than subjective assessment reinforced by emotive
>The exercising of the additional option adds a far deeper dimension to
>the selection process and strikes a very new line of breeder disclosure
>to potential customers for sire services. This is very much leading
>edge genetics.
>Access to data
>The data and documentation of each sire would then be collated and
>processed into a website listing within a listing of "accredited sires"
>(or some such identifier). This website would be managed and maintained
>by Alpaca Consulting Services of Australia and would be open for public
>There would be a fee structure for animals entering the program and an
>annual fee to cover the testing, collating and data processing of the
>annual shearing results.
>Once entered into the site, the animal will remain until, either it
>dies, the owner decides to withdraw or no new data has been collected
>for two seasons.
>There will be a photograph of the sire on the site.
>There will be no mention of show results.
>There will be an option to link any particular sire to the owners
>website or email address.
>There will be no service fee or other advertising on the site.
>The industry-wide benefit is access to sires demonstrating objectively
>measured fleece and conformation information collected by an
>independent person. This feature alone will place these sires at the
>forefront of breeders minds as the collection, testing and distribution
>of the information is not managed by the owner of the sire - a truly
>vested interest - but by someone with absolutely no interest in any
>By making the data public both breeders and sire owners have a
>benchmark against which they can measure any potential sire but also a
>wider range of sires as this program allows any sire, or potential
>sire, in.
>Over time, the fleece history of the sire will become clear with those
>sires not blowing out in any measurable traits becoming more recognized
>and thus, potentially, more attractive as future herd sires.
>Owners of listed sires will no doubt be recognized as leading edge
>breeders as demonstrated through their strength of conviction in
>submitting their animals to scrutiny over the internet.
>Breeders looking for sires will, for the first time perhaps, have a
>broader range of sires from which to select as small breeders unable or
>unwilling to exhibit at shows will have a vehicle through which they
>can market and promote their animals at minimal cost and at maximum
>Finally, the conformation examination by a veterinarian will, for the
>first time, underpin an expanded guarantee of correctness of
>conformation by a sire owner.
>These are benefits that will not only enhance the reputation of the
>animal but also the owner in an industry which will place more and more
>emphasis on fleece production than is currently the case.
>In essence, breeders offering sires entered into the program will be
>attesting that their animals have met a documented conformation
>standard, have undergone independently collected, tested and recorded
>fleece measurements and, if selected, are prepared to disclose
>secondary to primary follicle ratios to buyers of both animals and
>service options.
>List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
>ListAddress: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>List Archives: //www.freelists.org/archives/alpaca_fibre/
>List Administrator: Ian Watt (alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
>How to Unsubscribe: send an email to alpaca_fibre-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>and put "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the Subject line of the
>List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
>ListAddress: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>List Archives: //www.freelists.org/archives/alpaca_fibre/
>List Administrator: Ian Watt (alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
>How to Unsubscribe: send an email to alpaca_fibre-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>and put "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the Subject line of the email.
Mary Forte Goodman

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