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Editor’s Note In the alpaca industry, technology gives those who use it a distinct advantage. In the past (and in certain areas still today) all progress was determined by a human’s capability to see and feel their way to producing better alpacas. Today we are armed with various tools that can make that job a lot easier and more consistent. For instance, technology has allowed us to see the basic structure of the alpaca fiber itself. We understand why crimp occurs and why alpaca fiber feels so smooth. We understand brightness on a microscopic level, and its relationship with low relief scale growth and length in natural fiber. Breeders are also armed with devices that can measure the width of fiber (in microns) and give them an average measurement of what a particular animal is producing. We now have field units available that are very mobile and can give the breeder on-the-spot information for a relatively small investment. All this can help a breeder make better informed animal husbandry decisions to improve the overall quality of their herd. In the textile arena, technology is being used to create machines that process fiber and bring end products to the marketplace quicker and cheaper. Online stores can reach far into the population of the world, opening

new outlets for retailers. Specific demographics can be targeted to get the right product to the right people. Reaching people is easier today than it ever has been. All you have to do is use the tools available on the Internet such as a website, email campaigns and social media platforms. Alpaca Culture is read in more than 10 countries and makes contact with up to 15,000 people in a day mostly due to our online presence. The more information being shared and the more people using that information, the more likely innovation is to crop up. For instance, take embryo transfer. We do not currently use it in the United States, but people are using this technology successfully in other countries. The procedure has been pioneered by people such as Dr. Julio Sumar and advanced by Dr. Jane Vaughn, featured in this issue. There are also current efforts to freeze alpaca embryos. This procedure has not been perfected but through trial and error and the sharing of that information, it will only be a matter of time until consistent, successful lab results are achieved. So embrace the technology available to you and use it to your advantage. In the tech world you can either be ahead of the wave, on the wave or behind the wave. It is up to you where you want to be positioned.

Jared Johnston, Executive Editor

Online Australia Adopts Periscope App for National Show

The Australian alpaca community is once again embracing technology and setting the pace for the world alpaca industry. According to an article from Australian Broadcasting Company called “Australian alpaca industry takes to Periscope to promote industry to new audience,” by Laura Poole, the Australian alpaca community uses Periscope, an app that “enables individuals to broadcast a live feed on the Internet.” The first use of Periscope was to broadcast the Australian National Show and Sale in September. Content from the national show was uploaded to Periscope, the AAA YouTube channel and to the AAA Facebook feed. Content from ordinary events such as ambient show ring footage to announcements of champions was streamed. Australian Alpaca Association President Michelle Malt has said the 2015 National Show & Sale has been a game

changer. “It was very exciting this year to have the opportunity to change up key aspects of the Nationals, as it is our number one calendar fixture for the year,” she said. To watch for yourself, simply download the Periscope app (it is created by Twitter, Inc.) to your phone or device. Then search for the group you wish to follow or accept the suggestions the software provides.


ON THE COVER: Technology helps move the alpaca industry forward in many ways.

Executive Editor Jared Johnston Copy Editor/Writer Meyla Bianco Johnston Production Design Ryan Price Databases Brooke Stebbins Advertising Betty Bunker Administration Deidré Cole Published by Selle Design Group The material in Alpaca Culture is for information purposes only. Although the news included is believed to be reputable and every effort has been taken to collect it from reliable sources, no guarantee is given as to its completeness or accuracy. The opinions expressed in the magazine in interviews, Letters to the Editor and elsewhere are not necessarily those of Alpaca Culture, its staff, readers or advertisers. Alpaca Culture does not take any responsibility for these views. No material from the magazine may be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted or distributed in any way without the express written permission of Alpaca Culture. Modification of the materials or use of the materials for any other purpose is a violation of copyright and other proprietary rights. Reprint of selected articles available for a fee upon request, with express permission on a case-bycase basis by contacting info@alpacaculture.com. Letters to the Editor: Alpaca Culture requires Letters to The Editor to be signed and include a return address. All letters are subject to editing for clarity and length. To submit letters to the editor: info@alpacaculture.com Alpaca Culture Letters to the Editor P.O. Box 111 Kootenai, ID 83840 Subscription Inquiries/Address Changes: Alpaca Culture Subscriptions Department P.O. Box 111 Kootenai, ID 83840 http://www.alpacaculture.com info@alpacaculture.com Advertising Inquiries: info@alpacaculture.com Alpaca Culture Advertising P.O. Box 111 Kootenai, ID 83840 (208) 610-3161 Alpaca Culture, Inc. 2015 All rights reserved.

34 Embryo transfer can improve herds more quickly than virtually any other available technology.

VOLUME 4 ISSUE 3

FEATURED ARTICLES

December 2015

6 Technology in the Alpaca World 14 Welcome to the Web

18 Alpacas in Modern Farmer

22 A Simple Trick of the Trade 28 OFDA Machines

34 Embryo Transfer in Alpacas 42 Simply Natural 3D Knitting 50 FibreLux Portable Micron Measuring Device

SECTIONS 4 Editor’s Note 4 Online 5 Our Elite Sponsors 10 News 84 Innovations 96 Spotlight

56 Komondor Livestock Guardian Dog 58 Perspectives

62 Artisans Weave Networks 66 Prima Alpaca

74 Finding a Balance

82 Essential Oils for Alpacas

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Alpaca embryos 1-2 mm in diameter, under the microscope prior to transfer. Embryos hatch out of their zona pellucida during descent down the oviduct and enter the uterus as hatched blastocysts, thus rendering them more difficult to freeze compared with unhatched embryos of sheep and cattle.

2 | Alpaca Culture • December 2015


The History of

Embryo Transfer in Alpacas . . . or . . . “It Ain’t Rocket Science” Jane Vaughan BVSc PhD MACVSc

This article first appeared in Alpaca World Magazine’s Summer 2015 issue

In 2015, the Australian Alpaca Association is celebrating 25 years since inception, providing a perfect opportunity to look back over the years to see how different facets of the alpaca industry have evolved. Alpacas are bred for their soft, fine, lightweight fibre, which is processed into fashion garments and other luxury products. Alas, their gestation period averages 342 days, twins are rare, and males may take 2-3 years to sexually mature, ensuring slow genetic progress using natural breeding methods. Embryo transfer has provided the means to more rapidly multiply alpacas judged to possess high genetic merit, as artificial insemination is still not a commercially viable option.


4 | Alpaca Culture • December 2015


E

mbryo transfer has been being performed in camelids for more than five decades. Initial attempts in South America in the 1960s (Novoa & Sumar 1968) and 1970s (Sumar et al. 1974) used surgical techniques combined with general anaesthesia to access the reproductive tract of alpacas and llamas. The 1980s saw the development of non-surgical techniques (Wilson Wiepz et al. 1985, Sumar and Garcia 1986) whereby a catheter was passed through the cervix of a sedated animal and embryos harvested from a conscious but sedated patient. With the advent of veterinary ultrasound technology, where a transducer could be placed into the rectum of an animal to “look” at the reproductive tract noninvasively and on a daily basis, a better understanding of ovarian function was gleaned in both Old World and New World camelids (Adams et al. 1989, 1990, 1991, Bravo et al. 1990, 1991, Bourke et al. 1992a, Tinson and McKinnon 1992).

Repeated, trans-rectal ultrasonography of ovaries in different species of domestic livestock has shown that ripening eggs develop in waves (Adams 1999). A small group of follicles (the fluid-filled structure on the ovary that each contain an oocyte or egg) develops on both ovaries, and one follicle is selected and keeps growing, while the rest of the follicles in that cohort regress and the eggs within them die. Sometimes two follicles develop simultaneously and become dominant, resulting in the release of two eggs if mated, leading to sporadic twinning. It has been determined that the optimal time for applying any hormonal treatment to stimulate the growth of multiple eggs rather than one or two, is at the time of new wave emergence. This is the basis of developing multiple ovulation (commonly known as “superovulation”) techniques in all species. Multiple ovulation, combined with natural mating and non-surgical collection and transfer of embryos has been performed successfully since the early 1990s in llamas (Bourke et al. 1992b, 1992c, 1995) and camels

Opposite: Dr. Rito Huayta searching uterine flushing fluid for embryos, Pacomarca, Peru in 2007. Below: Dr. Jane Vaughan flushing embryos. Use of pain relief is integral to optimizing welfare while flushing and during transfer of embryos in camelids. Photos courtesy Alpaca World Magazine.

Alpaca Culture • December 2015 | 5


The first crop of English-born embryo transfer alpacas in 2004. Photo courtesy Rachel Hebditch.

(Skidmore 1992, McKinnon and Tinson 1994, Musa et al 1993) and more latterly, alpacas (Ratto et al 1999, Hopkins 2002). Embryo transfer in camelids has allowed commercial breeders to more rapidly increase selected genetics in their herds, be it fleece in alpacas and llamas, or milk 6 | Alpaca Culture • December 2015

production or athletic ability in camels. The commercialisation of the technology in South American camelids has occurred in various countries such as the United States (Taylor et al 2000), Australia (Clancy 2002), Europe (Hebditch 2004) and Peru (Watters 2007). Embryo freezing has been performed on a very


limited basis (Aller et al 2002, Skidmore et al 2005, Sansinena 2007) and has yet to be commercialised. The main barrier to success is the large size of embryos at the time of flushing, and that they have “hatched” from the protective zona pellucida or gel coat, which protects embryos of other domestic livestock such as sheep and cattle during freezing, thawing and transfer of embryos. Whilst embryo transfer is not rocket science, it is based on biological science and a sound knowledge of camelid anatomy and physiology. The ability to harvest embryos from donors and transfer embryos into recipients goes hand-in-hand with the welfare and on-going fertility of the animals undergoing embryo transfer. Success is linked to a sound understanding of camelid reproductive function, and how best to implement optimal husbandry with appropriate pain relief to ensure animals are comfortable during the implementation of any programme. There is no doubt that embryo transfer has allowed breeders utilising the technology to more rapidly advance the quality of their alpacas, thus allowing the production of more, finer fleece. On-going research by scientists to improve embryo transfer techniques continues across the globe. The Camelid Satellite Symposium of the International Congress on Animal Reproduction, previously held in Budapest in 2008 and Vancouver in 2012, allows researchers to share recent findings and latest technologies. New information is also published in international reproduction journals, which allows scientists throughout South and North America, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Australia to share their findings on camelid reproduction and artificial breeding. References • Adams GP. Comparative patterns of follicle development and selection in ruminants. J Reprod Fert Supp 1999; 54:17-32. • Adams GP, Griffin PG, Ginther OJ. In situ morphologic dynamics of ovaries, uterus and cervix in llamas. Biol Reprod 1989a; 41:551-558. • Adams GP, Sumar J, Ginther OJ. Effects of lactational and reproductive status on ovarian follicular waves in llamas (Lama glama). J Reprod Fert 1990; 90:535-545. • Adams GP, Sumar J, Ginther OJ. Form and function of the corpus luteum in llamas. Anim Reprod Sci 1991a; 24:127-138. • Aller JF, Rebuffi GE, Cancino AK, Alberio RH. Successful transfer of vitrified Ilama (Lama glama) embryos. Animal Reproduction Science 2002b; 73:121-127. • Bourke DA, Adam CL, Kyle CE. Ultrasonography as an aid to controlled breeding in the llama (Lama glama). Vet Rec 1992a; 130:424-428. • Bourke DA, Adam CL, Kyle CE, McEvoy TG, Young P. Ovulation, superovulation and embryo recovery in llamas. In: Proceedings 12th Int Congress Animal Reprod 1992b; 1:193-195. • Bourke DA, Adam CL, Kyle CE, Young P, McEvoy TG. Super-

ovulation and embryo transfer in the llama. In: Allen WR, Higgins AJ, Mayhew IG, Snow D, Wade JF (eds), Proceedings of the First International Camel Conference. R&W Publications, Newmarket, 1992c; 183-185. • Bourke DA, Kyle CE, McEvoy TG, Young P, Adam CL. Superovulatory responses to eCG in llamas (Lama glama). Theriogenology 1995a; 44:255-268. • Bravo PW, Fowler ME, Stabenfeldt GH, Lasley BL. Ovarian follicular dynamics in the llama. Biol Reprod 1990b; 43:579-585. • Bravo PW, Stabenfeldt GH, Lasley BL, Fowler ME. The effect of ovarian follicular size on pituitary and ovarian responses to copulation in domesticated South American camelids. Biol Reprod 1991b; 45:553-559. • Clancy B. Shaking up alpaca breeding. The Weekly Times 8 May 2002; p102. • Hebditch R. Alpaca embryo transplant in the UK. Alpaca World 2004; Autumn edition. • Hopkins D. Alpaca embryo transfer – the present situation. The Australian Alpaca Industry National Conference Proceedings 2002; p19. • McKinnon AO, Tinson AH, Nation G. Embryo transfer in dromedary camels. Theriogenology 1994; 41:145-150. • Musa B, Sieme H, Hago BED, Cooper MJ, Allen WR, Jochle W. Manipulation of reproductive functions in male and female camels. Anim Reprod Sci 1993; 33:289-306. • Novoa C and Sumar J. Collecion de huevos in vivo y ensayos de transferencia en alpacas. Tercer Boletin Extraordinario. IVITA Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Lima, Peru 1968; 3:31-34. • Ratto M, Gomez C, Wolter M, Berland M, Adams GP. Superstimulatory response and oocyte collection in alpacas. Proc II Congreso Mundial sobre Camelidos, Cusco, Peru 1999b; 96-7. • Sansinena MJ, Taylor SA, Taylor PJ, Schmidt EE, Denniston RS, Godke RA. In vitro production of llama (Lama glama) embryos by intracytoplasmic sperm injection: effect of chemical activation treatments and culture conditions. Anim Reprod Sci 2007; 99:342-353. • Skidmore JA, Allen WR, Cooper MJ, Ali Chaudhry M, Billah M, Billah AM. The recovery and transfer of embryos in the dromedary camel: results of preliminary experiments. In: Allen WR, Higgins AJ, Mayhew EG, Snow DH, Wade JF (eds), Proc 1st Int Camel Conf 1992a; pp137-142. • Skidmore JA, Billah M, Loskutoff NM. Comparison of two different methods for the vitrification of hatched blastocysts from the dromedary camel (Camelus dromedarius). Reprod Fertil Dev 2005; 17:523-527. • Sumar J, Franco E. Informe Final IVITA – La Raya, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru 1974. • Sumar J, Garcia M. Fisiologia de la reproducion de la alpaca. In: Nuclear and Related Techniques in Animal Production and Health. IAEA, Vienna 1986; 149-177. • Taylor S, Taylor PJ, James AN, Godke RA. Successful commercial embryo transfer in the llama (Lama glama). Theriogenology 2000; 53:344. • Tinson AH, McKinnon AO. Ultrasonography of the reproductive tract of the female dromedary camel. In: Allen WR, Higgins AJ, Mayhew IG, Snow D, Wade JF (eds), Proceedings of the First International Camel Conference. R&W Publications, Newmarket, 1992; 129-135. • Watters M. Peru alpaca mission. Geelong Advertiser 20 November 2007; p18 • Wilson Wiepz D, Chapman RJ. Non-surgical embryo transfer and live birth in a llama. Theriogenology 1985; 24: 251-257.

Alpaca Culture • December 2015 | 7


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Excerpt - Alpaca Culture - December 2015 - Volume 4 Issue 3  

The History of Embryo Transfer in Alpacas

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