Alpaca Holland
Jan & Annie
van den Hoek
Rijksstraatweg 94
3281LW Numansdorp
Tel: +31 186 572555 Mob: +31 653378244 Fax +31 186 573543 www.alpacaholland.nl info@alpacaholland.nl












 


The Accoyo story



 
 

High up in the Peruvian Andes lies the village of Macusani. Surrounded by green hills and mountains, Macusani is famous for growing the “Fibre of the Gods” or the “Alpaca fleece grown close to heaven”. The Alpaca, with its luxurious coat, varied colours and mild disposition, is one of the few living things to flourish in this harsh landscape.

Here, 15,000 feet above sea level, Don Julio Barreda, deceased in 2006, bred Alpacas at his ranch “Accoyo”, named after the region’s sandy soil, for 50 years. As a young boy, Don Julio learned the art of breeding camelids and harvesting their fibre from his mother. He is acknowledged to be one of Peru’s most important Alpaca ranchers, shepherding some 2,500 animals. Approximately 75% are Huacaya and the rest are Suri with the bloodlines of his “Plantel” or “Royal Family” herd dating back to 1946.


Don Julio Barreda
Don Julio Barreda † 1919-2006 (source photograph: www.alpacas.com)

At Accoyo, each Alpaca is first bred for its size. Next they are selected for their fleece density. Don Julio took great pride in the machos at Accoyo. He has been relentless in his pursuit of genetic excellence, refining his bloodline for half a century. A male’s first test at Accoyo comes on his first birthday. The yearling is sheared and if he fails to produce six pounds of fleece he is not good enough for breeding. The next test takes place at two years of age when the male must produce ten pounds of fleece to be used for breeding. Several fleeces from males in the Plantel herd weigh over 14 pounds.

Fleece weight is not the only measure of quality though. Each macho must have a refined elegance. In other words the Accoyo trademark head, large size and fine, uniform fleece. “Seventy percent of the entire Accoyo fleece grades as baby,” according to Peter Kothe, head buyer for Mitchell Bros., one of the world’s largest purchasers of Alpaca fleece. Kothe also says the entire clip includes leg, belly and neck fibre from the total herd, both young and old, not just the Royal Family. An amazing testimony to the quality of the Accoyo process.

The sire’s lineage is at the heart of the Accoyo breeding philosophy. “I’ve kept pedigrees for all my machos,” said Don Julio. “Each pedigree indicates both fleece weight and micron count of the fleece harvested during the Alpaca’s first two shearings.” The breeding males are selected from the Royal Family, and are maintained for the sole purpose of breeding herdsires. “After more than four decades of breeding, I can identify some modest achievements,” said Don Julio. 


Wool samples of descendents from Accoyo Amando

“The Accoyo herd is uniform in all respects. I have been able to breed well-defined Alpaca phenotypes with an absence of atypical animals. There are no Huarizos, Suri Huayacas or Huayaca Suris in my herd.” The success of his methods can be seen in the results. Since 1946 the annual fleece yield per animal has doubled since 1946 and the average body weight per animal has increased to 25%.
But it’s not just his breeding techniques that have made Don Julio the first amongst his peers. From the start he has been known as an innovator. He was the first breeder to introduce fencing. Many in Peru thought he was “loco” to create artificial boundaries on the almost unlimited terrain. It was not long though before the benefits of this radical approach became apparent. Fenced plots not only supported more animals by utilising pasture rotation, but the Alpaca were better nourished, had higher fertility rates and lower cria mortality rates. And the benefits did not stop with better nutrition. This innovation also allowed the separate breeding of Suri and Huacaya.



Source photograph: www.alpacas.com

Alpaca breeding has suffered in Peru in recent years. Social land reforms have had a negative impact and “Sendero Luminoso” terrorists have wreaked havoc on the farms of the Alta Plano. But Don Julio has persevered, maintaining his royal bloodlines through thick and thin. Today after many years of rigorous genetic selection, Don Julio has redefined the Alpaca. His ranch maintains two herds of Huacaya. One herd produces a fine, but less dense fleece of 20 microns or less. The other herd produces a very dense fleece of up to 24 microns. It is no surprise then that bloodstock from the Plantel herd is sold to commercial breeders throughout Puno in Peru. Until 1994, it was illegal to export Alpacas but Peruvian law has been relaxed and now you too can own this fine bloodstock.