Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

FAQs - All FAQs

The AGE will show how animals in your herd compare with the national herd profile. This will help you to select the most appropriate males and females to mate so you can make better progress toward your herd's breeding objective. As well as helping your herd breeding decisions, it will aid your marketing. All alpacas in the AGE can be directly compared for individual performance traits, as well as for a combination of several traits that influence a breeding objective. In the AGE you will also be able to see how your herd is improving each year for each of the traits you decide to report.

Participants simply measure the performance of traits (characteristics) on the progeny bred in their registered breeding herd and report them to the confidential AGE database. Participants are recommended to assess and report for all enrolled progeny at least Fleece Weight and 3 basic mid-side fleece test traits - Mean Fibre Diameter, Coefficient of Variation and Comfort Factor. You also have the option to report other traits you want to consider in your breeding program - but only those on the approved list please.

Alpaca records that you send in by email will be stored in a confidential database, together with your standard AAA registration data and any earlier records you have sent in. This will provide you with a secure backup of your animal's records that you can access later on request - a valuable service in itself. The genetic performance data from AGE analysis will also be stored in the database alongside the records you provide.

Other participating breeders' records are stored in other sections of the database. All AGE records are confidential to the owner of the animal at the time of reporting. ABV Reports are also reported to the Nominated Person who submitted the records to the AGE with the permission of all the breeders involved. Sire and Dams are only reported to the owner/s. Other than the "nominated person" who submits the records, the only others to have access to AGE identified individual animal data will be the people who provide the AGE service - The Agricultural Breeding Research Institute (ABRI) and Advanced Breeding Services. ABRI will continue to maintain the AAA database and provide reports as they do now for the IAR Register, and Advanced Breeding Services will conduct the AGE analysis. Only the owner can permit any other access to your records.

Your on-farm records of animals in the AGE database will be combined during the AGE analysis and the alpaca's genetic performance (ABV) for each trait will be calculated. The genetic performance analysis will be carried out regularly, and all the animals in the AAA database will have their genetic performance records updated. The AGE analysis will be assisted by special genetic performance software set up to analyse alpaca breeding.

A trait is an alpaca characteristic that is controlled by genes. For example, fibre diameter and medullation (coarser fibres) in the fleece are both traits, while an injured leg is not. The level of an animal's genetic expression (passing on to offspring) of each trait will vary between different animals. Traits considered most important will be different for different breeders and a breeder's emphasis on these traits in their breeding objective will vary. The AGE does not specify in any way which traits are important to a breeder, or dictate a breeding objective.

Breeders have been invited to nominate traits they believe should be able to be recorded in the AGE database. The current chosen list of traits that can be recorded in the database numbers 27. Breeders will choose which traits they wish to record. Different traits can be chosen for different groups of animals, as well as different traits if animal performance is recorded at more than one age.

The AGE will evaluate the animals in the database for the level of trait performance they are expected to pass on to their progeny. Thus they can be evaluated for their genetic performance, not just their appearance. Genetic performance is commonly called Alpaca Breeding Value (ABV), which describes the amount of performance for a particular trait that an animal will pass on to its progeny.

Breeders will be able to obtain two types of reports - Private and Public:

Private Reports
A breeder who has submitted the required on-farm performance records to the AGE Database will be able to obtain Private Reports on their herd's animals. The format of these reports can be specified by the breeder to meet particular needs. For example, breeders may wish to obtain a report only for their alpacas recently included in the database. They may also wish to get an updated performance report for some or all animals they have previously recorded. Private Reports will be able to contain the animal's pedigree, birth records, on-farm trait records, trait genetic performance and index values.

Public Reports
Breeders can, if they wish, elect to publicly report some or all of their alpaca's AGE results. The AGE Public Report will contain an alpaca's pedigree, where relevant the number of progeny the animal has in the AGE, the animal's genetic performance for evaluated traits, and if required relevant index values. The Public Report is planned to be presented in four groups:

  • males with progeny in the AGE,
  • females with progeny in the AGE,
  • males without progeny in the AGE, and
  • females without progeny in the AGE.

Breeders will be able to obtain printed or electronic reports as they wish. In the future it is hoped that an AAA interactive web page will present the Public Report information. It may also be possible to provide password access for you to directly access your private data at no cost.