The Nunoa Project June 2018 Trip to Peru: Update 2

Nuñoa Project
By:  Stephen R. Purdy, DVM
Photo: Courtesy of Nuñoa Project

The Nunoa Project Veterinary Team worked with Nunoa District farmers in the southern Peruvian Andes recently. The team presented a seminar to local farmers on herd health and selection of breeding animals which was well received and attended. Our goal is to provide education on basic principles for herd evaluation and improvements which can be passed on to others and reinforced in future visits.

Our nine superior breeding males are being kept with a local farmer and they were examined by the team. They are loaned out during the breeding season to farmers who cannot afford to purchase their own to improve the fiber and conformation in their herds. We will decide later this year which of them will be returned to service for the 2019 breeding season. We have also secured the use of some other loaner males to use in the herd improvement program for the next breeding season and these were examined for suitability. Our goal here is to improve herd genetics and thereby income from fiber sales. Management changes are explored which will improve birthing rates in herds. Introduction of superior genetics also has the effect of producing superior offspring which will improve the herds’ production and thus famer income.

Two of the wealthier farmers in Nunoa District with whom we have past relationships financed the lodging and transportation for the team while working in Nunoa. In exchange the team evaluated their herds and management. Two other new farmers were involved in herd evaluations on this trip and our goal is to expand our efforts to others in the future. One new farmer is a government employee. He is very aware of the limits of his management but sees no point in investing more into his efforts. His animals were in excellent body condition, the best the team has seen. He was praised for this in front of other farmers, and it demonstrates that grazing management can make a difference. A fourth farmer’s animals were evaluated and he was extremely interested in improving his herd’s production and fiber. He reported 40% barren/aborted females. We plan to continue to work with him to further evaluate this issue and search for solutions.

We are happy to return to working in Nunoa with these farmers who are interested in improving their own herds and those of others in the district. We look forward to continued assistance which we can provide during and in between our twice annual team visits. The financial support of alpaca farmers outside Peru allows us to be able to pursue these goals. Please help us in this effort by making a tax-deductible donation to Nunoa Project via our website or by personal check.

Learn more about Nuñoa Project here.