Where can I sell my alpaca fleece?

Shearing is over and my fleeces are better than ever this year – what do I do with them now? Getting alpaca fleece from the shearing shed to the market is the greatest challenge facing the alpaca industry in Australia. Building the demand for Australian alpaca fleece is dependent on as much of our fleece as possible reaching the market and reaching it in a condition which satisfies the market’s expectations and gets the buyers clamouring for more.

As a breeder and particularly as a small breeder, it can be a daunting task to find a buyer, deliver the fleece to the buyer and agree on acceptable payment arrangements. Although there is a listing of alpaca fleece buyers on the website of Australian Alpaca Association Ltd (AAA), it provides little information beyond contact details and some of that information is out of date. The AAA felt it would be useful to breeders to provide some information in a single article about as many fleece buyers as possible.

To gather information about alpaca fleece buyers we wrote to as many of them as we could identify, inviting them to contribute to this article. To each of them we put the following questions:

  1. What is the purpose of fleece collection – is it for manufacture within your own enterprise or for on-sale to the wider commercial market?
  2. What type of fleece is collected – do you accept huacaya or suri or both?
  3. Fleece colour – Do you accept only or predominantly white and light fawn fleece or are other colours also sought?
  4. What are your fleece preparation requirements – do you have specific standards for shearing and skirting of fleeces, maximum limits for VM (vegetable matter), and minimum and maximum length requirements?
  5. Do you offer training on your fleece preparation requirements?
  6. How do you accept delivery of fleece – Where are your collection points for growers to deliver fleece to you, are fleeces accepted in bales or must they be delivered each in a separate bag for classing at your premises?
  7. Do you have standard prices for fleece supplied in colour and micron ranges and how is this price determined?
  8. How and when is payment made to growers who supply fleece to you?

We received responses from nine fleece buyers, some of whom addressed the questions while others preferred to provide more general information about their enterprise. The buyers operate in various locations across South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland. They have been listed in this article in alphabetical order by name.