27 Feb 2015

Handsome Huacaya

From Country Life, 9:18 pm on 27 February 2015

The Stracks with their top alpaca sire Valentino.

Huacaya alpaca breeders, Chris and Liz Strack have built up a large herd of the South American camelid at their Stoneleigh Alpaca stud in Ohoka, North Canterbury.

When they purchased the twenty acre lifestyle block ten years ago Liz says they looked at growing walnut and fruit trees and considered breeding cattle and sheep before deciding on alpaca.

"We thought alpaca would suit us the best as they're a fairly low maintenance animal, they don't require a huge amount of work and they're very good on the environment".

Their top sire Valentino is the only alpaca to win three national supreme championships at national level in Australasia.

Their primary focus is on breeding superior white alpacas to supply seed stock to the New Zealand and export market and to produce alpacas with superior fleeces.

Chris believes it could be a while before there are enough alpaca in New Zealand that can produce really good commercial fleeces for suits or baby clothing.

"I think we need a few more years to build up the numbers so an exceptional animal now will hopefully be an average animal in five years' time, that's when we'll hopefully have the numbers to do commercial orders".