A Northumberland farming family is to auction what is believed to be the UK’s only commercially-sized herd of certified organic alapacas.
Judith and Jonathan Russell’s award winning herd of white Huacaya alpacas is currently based at Ridge End Farm near Falstone, in north Northumberland. It will be auctioned at Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway Mart in Carlisle on May 4.
The herd was established in March 2007 when the first foundation female alpacas were selected from the Dream Selection imported by Bozedown Alpacas from Peru.
Since then, using stud services from the best bloodlines available in the UK and a selective breeding process, the Northumbrian Alpaca herd has built a reputation for its outstanding and distinguished pedigree and top quality breeding stock.
In May, 58 of the 82-strong herd will be coming up for auction, including nine junior/open females, 21 pregnant females, 21 unproven entire males (includes 10 young males), two males expecting first progeny this year and five proven stud males.
Other alpacas will also be on sale on the day.
Mrs Russell said: “From junior boys through promising and pregnant females to top-quality, proven stud males with world-class fleece, we have something for everyone: our animals will provide a great start for a new herd, add value to existing herds, or be great pets – and excellent for guarding lambs, chickens and the like from predators.
“Although the animals will lose their organic status when they move to non-organic farms, that status means you can be sure they have been bred to a very high standard.”
Mr and Mrs Russell have succeeded in their aim of producing top-quality, healthy white huacayas with correct conformation and bred to have a very fine, dense, valuable fleece – which is organically certified.
The quality of their herd has been demonstrated by the many awards they have won, including three Supreme Championships in three years.
Harrison and Hetherington are one of the largest firms of auctioneers selling alpacas in the UK. Last year it held the dispersal of the Syke House Herd, one of the pioneering alpaca herds of the UK.
In addition to the Northumberland herd, the auction will see alpacas on sale from properties including Ivy Dene, Stagshaw, Appletrees and Westyett Alpacas.
Heather Pritchard, pedigree sales and marketing manager of Harrison & Hetherington, said: “Over the past few years we have seen a marked increase in the alpaca industry, and have seen many more of the animals passing through our marts.
“Keeping alpacas for their fleeces is an interesting and cost-effective diversification for farmers. We expect, as this sale is of such a unique quality, that it will attract interest from across the UK.”