The Green Alpaca
Alpacas are the most environmentally friendly of our agricultural animals.
Primary Industries, South Australia
Alpacas are ideally suited to our Australian environment. They are efficent grazers, happy to browse on a wide variety of grasses and other plants without damaging root systems, allowing faster regrowth and minimising soil erosion. They do well on high fibre, low protein native grasses, so paddocks have less need of nitrogen and phospherous fertilizers - the major contributors to the growth of harmful blue-green algae in our waterways.
Alpacas have soft padded feet rather than the hooves of other livestock. This results in a far lower impact on our precious topsoil in terms of damage and compaction. For the technically minded, the static load weight of an adult alpaca is only 39kPA. Compare this with sheep (82kPA) and cattle (185kPA). Even a kangaroo comes in higher at 46kPA.
At a time when we recognise the importance of sustainable agriculture, Alpacas offer us a stage beyond mere sustainability - they are one of the few forms of farming that can easily qualify as ‘regenerative agriculture’. This relatively new term describes agricultural practices that put more back into the land than they take out. When agriculture is regenerative, vegitation and soil (as well as productivity) improves rather than staying the same or degrading.
In Praise of Poo
No discussion about the green credentials of alpacas could be complete with mention of the inevitable waste products. Alpaca manure is a natural source of slow-release nitrogen, potassium and phosperous. Unlike most other manures, it can be used straight onto the garden, without the need for composting, with no risk of burning or over-feeding (although composted alpaca poo does make an excellent potting mix). It doesn’t stop there, this versatile by-product can even be pressed into blocks and used as fuel in wood-burners.
Alpacas then are an ideal match for today’s greener lifestyle choices, combining minimum impact with maximum benefit.
To find out more, speak to us or to another registered breeder or arrange a visit to one of the many farms where alpacas are offering an alternative to traditional approaches.