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What Are Accoyo Alpacas

the legacy of Don Julio Barreda

Herd of Accoyo Alpacas
The name "Accoyo" refers to an Alpaca that has been bred at Estancia (ranch) Accoyo in Peru. In the United States we use the name "Accoyo" to refer to alpacas imported from the estancia or to direct descendants of these imports. An alpaca is considered to be a pure Accoyo if its parents are both pure Accoyos. So the real question must be: why do alpaca breeders care about maintaining an unbroken link to a ranch in Peru? The answer is in the location of the ranch itself, the breeding program there, and the care of the animals.

Estancia Accoyo is located in Macusani, Peru at 15,000 feet above sea level. Since there are few places in the world where animals of any kind are raised at that altitude, it follows that only hearty animals prosper. And since alpacas are valued primarily for their fleece, it is easy to assume that they would have superior coats. This has been proven at alpaca shows in Peru and the United States. According to National Geographic Magazine, Maccusani, Peru, is the world center for Alpaca fiber production. While there are other ranches on the Alta Plano of Peru, it is Don Julio Barreda at his Estancia Accoyo who has controlled and maintained the breeding program that has made these animals world famous. The political turmoil in Peru has had a toll on the many ranches and their alpaca herds.

Only Don Julio has maintained the royal bloodlines, breeding carefully. In his own words:"I have been able to breed well defined Alpaca phenotypes with an absence of atypical animals. I attribute Accoyo's success at breeding Alpacas with superior production qualities to the father's lineage." The care of the animals at Estancia Accoyo may be another factor. The fact is, he has produced superior animals who, by natural selection, survive in this harsh environment, eating only what nature provides. Don Julio, on his visits to North America, has some interesting thoughts on the environment here and the effect of our more involved herd management. Highlight Accoyos in North America for excerpts from a speech on this subject made by Don Julio in Oregon on July 3, 1999.

Don Julio Barreda's Breeding Program

Don Julio Barreda (1919 - 2006), Estancia Accoyo, Macusani, Peru
Don Julio describes his breeding philosophy: "After more than four decades of breeding Alpacas, I can identify some modest achievements. The Accoyo herd is uniform in all respects. I have been able to breed well-defined Alpaca phenotypes with an absence of atypical animals. There are no Huarizos, Suri Huacayas, or Huacaya Suris in my herd.

The Accoyo production charts document a doubling of annual fleece yield per animal since 1946. During the same period, the herd's average body weight per animal has increased 25%. I have also created a second line of Huacaya bloodstock which I call "select." This herd his being selected for fineness. I have great expectations for this project, and from time to time, we end up with exceptional little cria. I attribute Accoyo's success at breeding Alpacas with superior production qualities to the father's lineage. My machos were all bred and selected at Accoyo, and my herd has not suffered from the influence of unknown sires with unknown fathers. I can truly say that the sires at Accoyo have been more than enough, and I am proud of the results."

Excerpts from a speech by Don Julio Barreda in Oregon, July 3, 1999 (translated)

"Today, the llama and the alpaca have become the ambassador of goodwill between North and South America. Many friendships have been born having as connection the alpaca, which is turning out to be fashionable. Today, you find them in every corner of the world, and it appears, tired of the lack of attention in their countries of origin, they find themselves happy and prosperous in their newfound homes. Luckily, today the airplane saves them from walking. The environment weighs in the life of the animal, shaping their anatomical structure and attributes of their chief product, which is wool. The alpaca is very susceptible to environmental changes. Even though this applies to all types of livestock, in the alpaca, the zone it comes from is easily detectable. This is due to the fact that it is only nature who supports and sustains it. In dry zones where the grass lacks humidity and its permanent green foliage, course wool is produced, rough to the touch and low in density. On the other hand, the alpaca from humid areas has fine softness to the touch and a light color due to the absence of dirt, dust and impurities that penetrate the dense coat. With all the advantages you possess, I think you are about to create one or several very special types, and you will have outstanding characteristics due to your methodology applied in their rearing. In that way North America could produce the finest alpaca wool in the world.

From the minute I was lucky to set food in this land of greatest potential in the world, I started to admire the great organizational capacity of the ranches. After the festival and the competition in Salem (Oregon), I returned to my homeland convinced that the future of the alpaca was reserved to grow at great scale in this land.

It was believed that the alpaca could find no better habitat than the Andean summits above 4000 meters and that adaptation to the low lands brought thickening and lowering of the wool's quality. In Michigan, however, I was given the opportunity to select over 450 alpacas for production categories. After two long quarantine periods in different climates and altitudes, I found they had not suffered alterations to their follicular roots, and even more, the animals growth wise had developed better.

These observations reminded me of the Vicuna who, for better or worst, always continued to produce fine wool. This helped me conclude that the purity of blood - the genotype - causes their attributes to be unchanged. And with the introduction of a well balanced diet, abundantly green, and plenty of water and humidity (as opposed to their cousin the camel), the alpaca would continue to be an exceptional producer of fine wool."

Updated February 16, 2011