Alpacas are now an established and beloved part of the Australian natural fibres, breeding and farming industries. As the second largest alpaca industry in the world, following the Peruvian alpaca industry, Australia is at the forefront of breeding, fibre quality and development. We have reached record prices and quality, and are moving from strength to strength, focused on increasing production volumes and improving consistency. The Australian Alpaca Association plays a vital role in the current strength and continued development of the industry by providing education, communication, resources and marketing for the industry as a whole.
The international export demand for Australian quality alpaca fleece far outstrips demand, so the industry has great potential for further growth. In support, the AAA encourages sustainable husbandry focusing on animal health, breeding programs and herd development.
Building on the strength of the Australian wool industry, the AAA has teamed up with the AWEX (Australian Wool Exchange) to establish quality assurance guidelines for alpaca fleece that are equivalent to the standards of the wool industry. This means consistent classing, packaging and branding of Australian alpaca fleece. This move will enhance the commercial image and guarantee a consistently high-level product through an organised collection system for fleece production.
The Alpaca Lifestyle
Those interested in commercial breeding and farming of alpacas, are entering a strong industry that provides support, guidelines and a great reputation. You may choose to focus on alpacas, or diversify your current livestock herds by introducing alpacas. These animals mix well with other ruminants, and function well as herd guards for smaller livestock. They are sustainable and environmentally friendly, with soft footpads that create minimal soil damage, and their natural fibre further supports the green natural fibre industry. Alpacas are a great green fit for Australia’s farming climate, as they perform far better in dry conditions than most livestock. As ruminants, they require only small amounts of supplementary feeding.
The alpaca lifestyle extends in many directions, as alpacas are also ideal for small scale and home production, where owners of small herds value-add to their fleece by producing fibre products themselves, such as felts and yarns. However, the softness, lightness and warmth of alpaca fleece makes highly-desirable garments and can command great prices through commercial farming.
The alpaca meat industry is another pathway to commercial alpaca farming, and is growing in popularity as alpaca meat is extremely lean, highly nutritious and flavoursome. It is an excellent source of protein with little saturated fat or cholesterol, and is environmentally sustainable to produce. Alpacas also offer a high yield with very little wastage.
Have a question about alpacas you need answered? Head on over to our handy FAQ guide and find the answers you need.
Information on how to look after your alpacas
Buying your first alpacas?
Are you just getting into the alpaca industry and not sure where to start? – check out our guide on buying your first alpacas
The IAR Database
The Australian Alpaca Association runs an alpaca pedigree register – the International Alpaca Register (IAR). The IAR is recorded on eAlpaca – a bespoke online system designed and built specifically for the AAA.
Vets with alpaca experience
We have a directory of veterinarians with experience treating a variety of alpaca related health issues around Australia.
Alpaca meat is highly nutritious, lean and flavoursome. It is an excellent source of protein with little saturated fat or cholesterol and is environmentally sustainable to produce. As most parts of the alpaca can be used for meat, alpacas offer a high yield with little wastage.
Alpacas are rapidly becoming accepted as essential complements to all sheep and goat breeding enterprises where predators cause lambing and kidding losses.
Australian alpacas are highly valued in international markets