Monday, April 9, 2012
Anyone who has ever investigated alpacas has seen breeders touting the results of their fiber results. The test results will include information regarding the average fiber diameter, the standard deviation, co-efficient of variation, percentage of fibers > 30 micron, curvature and comfort factor.
While these test results are very useful, its important as a breeder and/or alpaca investor to understand that these are just part of the tool set needed to make an informed decision. Overall health, sheared blanket weight, temperment, conformation are all additional factors that need to be considered.
For testing, I've found that AAFT provides the most amount of information on their reports for the best price.
Australian Alpaca Fibre Testing www.aaft.com.au
PO Box 246,
Crookwell, NSW. 2583 Australia
Paul Valley firstname.lastname@example.org
With all the lingo, it may sound like they are speaking a foreign language. So I've included the terms and their meanings below to help you have a better understanding.
Average Fiber Diameter
The average fiber diameter (AFD) is the average diameter of the individual fiber measured in the sample. It is often referred to as the micron count. The lower the number, the smaller the diameter and therefore, the finer the fiber. Anything under 25 is considered very good, especially for an adult. Fineness is influenced by age, sex, hormones, diet and other factors.
Fiber Grade Classifications in Microns:
Superfine/Baby: 18 -20
Fine: 20 - 24.9
Medium: 25 - 29.9
The standard deviation (SD) determines the diameter of each alpaca fiber and it goes hand in hand with the AFD. The smaller the number, the more uniform the fleece. The higher the number, the greater the variation. Let's say that the AFD is 20 micron and the SD is 4. This means that the majority of fibers will be between 16 and 24 micron. Remember that the you want a low AFD AND a low SD.
Coefficient of Variation:
The coefficient variation (CV) is simply a calculation of dividing the SD by the AFD and then multiplying by 100. This is generally best used when comparing alpacas that have similar AFD.
Excellent - Less than 21.0%
Average - 21.0% to 27.0%
Poor - Over 27.0%
% Fibers Greater than 30 micron:
The % greater than 30 microns is useful for determining the prickle factor on skin. So, in this case, you want a low number.
Curvature measures the angle of the crimp curve. Curvature results are expressed as the degrees in millimetres of the crimp curve. The higher the number, the more crimp per inch measured in the sample.
The comfort factor (CF) is the percentage of fibers less than 30. This equates to how it will feel against your skin. The higher the number, the better this fiber will feel next to your skin.
For more information regarding our farm, please check us out at www.landsendalpacafarm.com