Variation in fleece characteristics over the body of alpacas was examined in order to determine the optimum sampling site to provide an estimate of overall fleece properties. Fibre samples were taken from the neck, shoulder, midside, mid-back and rump positions on 35 mature female alpacas. Yield was significantly (P<0.0001) lower on the neck and back and higher on the rump than on the shoulder and midside sites, 91.1, 91.0, 94.4, 94.0, 93.2 % (se 0.3) respectively. Staple length varied significantly (P<0.001) between all sites. Fibres on the neck were considerably shorter than at other sites, with staple length at the neck only 56.7 mm compared to the other sites where length was between 80 and 100 mm. Staple length increased from rump (81.9 mm) to shoulder (99.6 mm) and from the back (86.4 mm) down the midside (92.8). Fibre diameter did not vary over the fleece (mean 33.3

S-AN, Newman, and DJ Paterson

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 56, , 338-341, 1996
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