Alpaca Histograms & Fiber

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Alpaca Histograms

The Significance of Alpaca Histograms

Alpaca is most known for the fiber they provide that is known to be softer, but still stronger than wool, with 22 natural color varieties. It is lighter than wool, yet still warmer, and is lanolin-free, however still feels silky. The processing of alpaca fiber is much easier than cashmere, and the fiber blends quite easily with other naturally derived fibers. Hypo-allergenic, as well as odorless, alpaca fiber has a very high demand, much higher than the supply. In order to supply the demand, the alpaca fiber goes through alpaca histograms in order to determine the actual quality of the alpaca fibers, determining just what the value is for sale.

Average Fiber Diameter

Referred to as AFD, the average fiber diameter is used in order to indicate the fineness of the fibers. The ultimate goal of a breeder is to achieve an AFD below 25, which is considered as very good, especially from adult alpacas. There are various factors that can influence the AFD of the fiber, including:

• Age of alpaca
• Sex of alpaca
• Hormones taken by alpaca
• Diet of alpaca

Standard Deviation
Standard deviation, or SD, determines the diameter of each alpaca fiber, varied from those provided in the sample. The ultimate goal with SD is to have a smaller standard deviation which shows a more uniform fleece with better handle and softer touch.

Coefficient of Variation The CV, coefficient of variation, determines the uniformity of the alpaca fleece assessing the AFD and the SD. Breeders seek a CV of between 20 and 30 which shows more uniformity. Those higher than 30 aren’t considered uniform and are called medullated fibers, or even guard hair.

The alpaca histogram is a very essential element of determining quality of alpaca fibers. Breeders are able to assess the value of their crop by the histogram, giving them an idea of the quality that has been produced.

Animaroo Alpaca