THE SURI HERD IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (S.H.I.P.)
WHAT IS S.H.I.P.?
The Suri Herd Improvement Program (S.H.I.P.) gives Suri owners a qualitative evaluation of 16 key classification traits on each of their Suri alpacas being assessed. These traits are aligned with the Suri Breed Standard and have been selected because of their impact in improving the Suri breed. During the evaluation, eight conformation traits and eight fiber traits are scored by an expert classifier. The classifier will evaluate each alpaca through a thorough, hand’s-on examination. Explanation of the ideal is given as a reference for evaluating degrees of variation or deviation. A consistent methodical approach is used for each alpaca, taking additional time as necessary to identify, highlight, explain, define, and evaluate every characteristic on the S.H.I.P. Classification Form.
Once the herd has been evaluated, the classifier spends time going over the classification forms with the owners. This is an extremely valuable portion of the classification in that it affords the opportunity to discuss and sort the data according to expressed farm goals, both current and future.
All the data collected is entered into the Suri Network S.H.I.P. Database by the classifier. Once that process is complete, the owner has access to filtering and sorting and on-going feedback related to the scores in their herd relative to the input of data from other herds. Performance percentages change over time as additional data grows and accumulates nationally. The classifier will explain the current database system to farm owners. You can find out more about the S.H.I.P. Database HERE (you must be a S.H.I.P. participant)
WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?
What is the value in having an independent assessment of the Suris in your program? If you already participate in the AOA show system you know the limitations of having alpacas evaluated the show ring. Your alpaca is only comparatively evaluated against those in the ring and the oral reasons for your placement are brief at best. If you don't get placed in the top six, you get no explanation at all. A S.H.I.P. classification report provides you so much more information.
For example, if you don't go to many (or any) shows how do you really know the quality of your herd? What if you have produced a male on your farm that would score 4.5 out of 5 possible points or better in all traits. How is anyone going to find out about what you have to offer?. Without an independent evaluation, would you even recognize what an outstanding Suri you actually have? As part of SHIP he would stand out not only to you but to anyone who searched the data base looking for such a male to breed to or purchase!
SHIP levels the playing field for all breeders, large and small. As more and more breeders and buyers come to expect and depend upon access to this valuable data, those who do not participate will see the value in doing so too.
So, SHIP will help members make better breeding decisions, better selection choices in matching sires and dams. It gives us much more phenotypic information on which to base that decision. Information such as the classification scores; both overall scores and scores on 16 different traits, that can influence that decision. By comparing these scores side by side with fiber test scores (histograms), skin biopsy data, and other available data about an individual Suri, we are able to consider the sum of information in making these decisions. As an added benefit, SHIP puts those scores in a format that makes the information easy to utilize, not just a confusing mass of data. SHIP allows us to search through all of the Suris in the SHIP program to find a potential match if we can’t find one of our own.
The benefits are clear. The Suri Network encourages you to participate, learn, and benefit from everything this program has to offer.
HOW MUCH DOES A SHIP EVALUATION COST?
When you apply for a SHIP evaluation you will receive an invoice for the application fee of $75 which goes to the Suri Network to help cover administrative costs. Non-Suri Network members pay an additional $75 application fee. The classification fee is $500 per day for an estimated 50 alpacas. Farms are encouraged to work together to provide close to this number of alpacas and split costs. The breeder(s) involved will pay all travel, lodging and meal costs for the classifier. The classification fees and travel expenses will be invoiced to you by the classifier. Classifiers are very cost conscience and and will keep travel expenses as low as possible. For more information, Check the S.H.I.P. Classification Expense Guidelines document.
WHO ARE THE CLASSIFIERS?
The SHIP program currently has three certified classifiers. You are free to select your preferred classifier from the names below. Click a name to see a bio on each of the classifiers. The Suri Network will try to honor your first choice but if workload dictates, you may be asked to select another classifier.Cheryl Gehly (bio)- to read Cheryl's bio, click here
Stephanie Glyptis- to read Stephanie's bio, click here
Arturo Pena (bio)- to read Arturo's bio, click here
HOW DO I GET STARTED