Some verbiage needs to be added to the Lock Structure section to emphasize uniformity in lock structure across the animal.
While I agree that color uniformity is important for commercial processing of fleece, I am afraid that having this as part of the standard would mean that pintos, multis, and greys could no longer be considered as matching the standard. I believe, that we, as an industry, will reach a point where the breed standard will state specifically the only acceptable color is white, but I don't think we have reached that yet. I'm not quite sure how this could be addressed in the standard.
The following comment was written by Sue Simonton of LGF Suris:
Some thoughts on the fleece section: Our experience has been that there is not a great deal of understanding among many suri breeders about what is quality fleece and why it matters. It may be a result of the fact that most breeders started focusing on the show ring and had limited interest in the final use of the fiber. This section in the new standard should be a start in changing that!
I have wondered whether whether some metrics in the breed standard might help breeders focus on the fiber. These metrics as you know, are not subject to change by any organization. Fleece grades, standard deviation and measurements are set and priced by history, industry and the needs of processing.
We have a concern that suri breeding is reaching a point where we must start getting the fleece right and therefore profitable or raising suri will be, at best, a pleasant "fancy".
The huacaya folks have had a head start with numbers and people such as the Skinners, Lynn Edens, Ian Watt, Winni Labrecque. They have the quality control, quantity and the ability to judge and price fleece and therefore a market. Suri raisers do not, or not yet.
Fleece understanding is not a strong tradition in the US so we are starting from scratch in many ways. Few people have the eyes and the hands to judge fleece. Ribbons became the evidence of quality but not a reliable one.
Fortunately there are metrics available to help us if we begin to understand and use them — not only histograms, singly and grid samples, but also skin biopsies, and careful records of fleece blanket weight to guide us.
For example: for an ideal or top grade animal the fleece will be grade 1 or 2, the SD will be under 4 and reasonably consistent across the blanket which will weigh up to four pounds or more for one year's growth, and this animal will continue to produce quality year after year. Yes, it will be lustrous, all suri is lustrous but it will be paid for by weight, fineness and consistency not luster or lock structure.
We don't have enough of that quality fleece. LGF looks everywhere! However, it will be necessary in order for the animals to produce enough to pay for their keep and even more to be the productive breeding stock we desire and need.
Comments on the Fleece section of the document