a Suri Farm, ltd.

Fine Peruvian Alpacas in the Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country!

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May 01, 2017

Alpaca Supply and Demand

Date: 01/11/05

The supply and demand of alpacas has been moderated by the effects of relatively slow herd growth. In 1994, the population of registered alpacas in the United States was only 5,368. In 2004, that number had grown to around 70,000. In 2007, the count was just under 128,000. It’s important to note that it is the responsibility of the breeder to notify the Alpaca Registry, Inc. of the death of any registered alpaca so it can be removed from the national registered herd count. That doesn’t always happen and judging by the age of some of the registered alpacas, it can be estimated that around 5 to 10 percent are too old to be productive, either for fleece or breeding stock.

The supply of alpaca in the future will continue to be limited because:

*Alpaca reproduce slowly. A female is generally bred between 18-24 months of age, has a gestation period of 11-12 months, and almost never has multiple births.

*It is a growing and ever improving industry. Many breeders keep their offspring in an attempt to build their herd size and improve their foundation herd.

*The U.S. Alpaca Registry is closed to further importation to protect our national herd; only alpacas from two registered parents may be officially registered.

Historically the demand for alpacas has increased each year since their introduction to the United States from South America in 1984. Not only are there more breeders entering the alpaca market each year in established countries such as Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, but there are more countries worldwide also actively establishing alpaca herds. International recognition will only foster continued growth. In 2008, the first World Alpaca Conference was held in Sydney, Australia to be followed by the United States as the 2009 host of the conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Alpacas offer an outstanding option for livestock investment. Alpacas have long been known as the aristocrat of farm animals. Most of all, alpacas have a charismatic manner, they do very well on small acreage, and they produce a product which is in high demand.