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The Suri Network

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

S.H.I.P. incorporates a variety of tools for Suri owners to utilize the pedigree, phenotype and fiber records for preserving and advancing the Suri industry while adding value to individual Suris within herds. This page is a summary of some of the questions and answers most frequently asked for education and understanding of S.H.I.P. 

WHAT IS THE PRIMARY GOAL OF S.H.I.P.?
The primary goal of S.H.I.P. is to provide a variety of tools for herd improvement and management of Suri Phenotype and Fiber qualities for Suri Network members.

WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF S.H.I.P.?
S.H.I.P. is more than just the on-farm classification. The whole program is focused on using all the tools available to make herd management and breeding decisions. Here are some of the tools:

  1. Suri alpaca breed standard.

  2. Suri alpaca fiber testing and histograms.

  3. Suri show system results, both fleece and halter.

  4. Suri herd classification system for data collection.

  5. Suri skin biospy data.

  6. AOA EPD program and calculated results.

WHAT IS A SURI HERD CLASSIFICATION?

  1. The evaluation of 16 phenotypic traits based on the Suri Breed Standard and research data.

  2. A hands-on herd review by a certified Suri classifier using a point system for evaluating individual alpacas.

  3. The collection of trait data for the Suri database.

  4. Owners receive a herd report and access to an online database that identifies strengths and weaknesses of individual animals for specific traits that can be used in selection, breeding and marketing of their Suris.

HOW DO I SCHEDULE A HERD CLASSIFICATION?
  1. The breeder should review the Application and Preparation Guidelines
  2. After reviewing the above pages, call the Suri Network Office (970-586-5876) to discuss a preliminary review of the process.
HOW DOES A CLASSIFICATION WORK?
1.  Suris approximately 12 months or older will be classified.
2.  Suris must have at least 3 inches of fleece OR be shorn with their fleeces in bags.
3.  The breeder must provide covered facilities and available handlers.
4.  Certified classifiers will average 7-10 minutes per alpaca with maximum 50 animals per day.
5.  Alpacas are scored per trait with 5 (High) 4 - 3 (Average) 2 – 1 (Low).
6.  ALL data scores are then reported and filed with the SN Office Suri Database.
7.  The breeder will receive a classification report.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY HERD BE CLASSIFIED?
The suggestion at this time is a minimum of every 3 years for Classification and Fiber Test Data. Fiber traits and to a lesser extent, conformation traits may change over time and reclassification is a good way to see which Suris are maintaining desirable scores and which are not. 

WHAT ABOUT NEW SURIS ADDED TO MY HERD AFTER CLASSIFICATION?

  1. If you have Suris on your farm that were not classified under a previous classification, you may have these additional Suris classified at any time.
  2. One scenario is that you may have have several Suris less than a year old last year that were not included in the classification so it would be a good time to get these classified.
  3. Another scenario is that you may have acquired new Suris since your previous classification and you would like to include these.

WHY SHOULD I HAVE FIBER TESTS DONE?

  1. Laboratory Fiber Test Data is an objective measurement with exact values.

  2. Classification provides subjective values for 16 traits as viewed by classifiers. Classifiers will continue to work together for consistency in evaluating those traits.

  3. The compilation of both data sets, fiber tests and classification data, plus the ability of owners to add additional herd data in the future, will provide a more complete picture of the North American Suri population.

WHAT ARE THE CLASSIFICATION COSTS?
  1. Upon submission of an application to the Suri Network, you will be invoiced a $75 administration fee.

  2. The classification fee is $500 per day for an estimated 50 alpacas and farms are encouraged to work together to provide this number of alpacas.

  3. The breeder(s) involved will pay all travel, lodging and meal costs for the classifier. For more information, Check the S.H.I.P. Classification Expense Guidelines document.

HOW CAN I REDUCE MY COSTS FOR CLASSIFICATION?
  1. Select a classifier that can travel to your farm economically. For example, is the distance to your farm/ranch such that the classifier can drive rather than fly?

  2. House and feed the classifier at your home.

  3. Encourage other Suri owners near you to conduct a classification during the same period.

  4. Read the document S.H.I.P. Preparation Guidelines to provide an efficient environment for the process.

HOW DOES CLASSIFICATION DIFFER FROM PLACING IN THE SHOW RING?
  1. Classification is an evaluation against the IDEAL based on the Suri Breed Standard.

  2. Show ring judging is comparative only among those in that class on that specific day.

  3. Show ring exhibition provides a subjective opinion and farm name exposure for a few individual alpacas, but is not inclusive of the entire herd.

  4. Classification allows the breeder to categorize alpacas by their most valued use for future production of offspring and fiber.

  5. Classification reports and provide owners with actual breeding tools for herd improvement.

WHAT OTHER TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE TO SURI BREEDERS TO HELP IMPROVE THEIR HERDS?
  1. Fiber Testing

  2. Follicle density testing (skin biopsy)

  3. Halter and Fleece shows

  4. AOA EPD scores

JUDGE CONFLICT OF INTEREST CLARIFICATION
Since our Classifiers are AOA certified judges, we want to clarify the AOA Show Rules regarding showing in front of them in addition to having a SHIP Classification done on your herd. Cheryl Gehly is an AOA Certified Fleece Judge only, and thus must follow rules related to Fleece Show judging, specifically:

Chapter 6. Rules Relating to Exhibitors and Handlers
Section 2.

H. In the event that a Judge is hired to provide a herd evaluation (in this case S.H.I.P.), consultation or conduct a seminar and in so doing assesses the shorn fleece from any or all alpacas, those specific shorn fleeces are prohibited from being shown in front of that Judge in a Fleece Show.

Due to the anonymous nature of Fleece Show judging, no conflict exists as long as the S.H.I.P. Classification occurs on full fleece alpacas. Once shorn, those fleeces are eligible to be entered in a show in which Cheryl Gehly is a judge. The 9-month rule does not apply.

Walking Fleece Shows are Fleece competitions and the same rules follow. However, given the public nature of the Walking Fleece Show, where the exhibitor accompanies the alpaca to the class for evaluation, the Rules Relating to Judges section of the AOA Show Handbook states the following:

H. The Judge shall not be a house guest of any exhibitor within the week prior to, during, or the week following the show.

In the event that a S.H.I.P. Classification occurs within 9 months prior to a Walking Fleece Show where Cheryl Gehly is the Judge, those alpacas and their owners are prohibited from showing in front of her. If other alpacas on the farm were not part of the S.H.I.P. Classification and not evaluated by Cheryl Gehly, those animals may be entered in the Walking Fleece Show, but the owner must appoint a handler to show an eligible alpaca on their behalf.

Both Stephanie Glyptis and Arturo Pena are AOA certified halter, fleece and walking fleece judges. If you have had a classification done within 9 months of a show where your classifier is judging, you cannot show in front of that judge. You can, however, appoint another handler to show your alpaca.

Chapter 6. Rules Relating to Exhibitors and Handlers
Section 2.
A
. During the nine months prior to the show:
a. He/she has received from or paid to the Judge, including his/her immediate family members any fees, salary, or any kind of remuneration, including like-kind exchange or barter, for selling, buying, or breeding any alpacas. For example, an owner and his/her immediate family members who purchased an alpaca or a breeding from a Judge where the Judge financed the purchase, would not be eligible to show any alpacas in front of this Judge until nine months after the final payment has been made.

b. The nine month period also includes all commissions, compensation or salary, directly paid to, or resulting from transactions to any business entity that the Judge, including his/her immediate family members represents, understanding a business relationship to include any transaction that is significant, sustained or ongoing. This nine month period begins from the final date where fees, salaries, or commissions were paid.

c. NOTE: If the exhibitor is prohibited from personally showing in front of the Judge, he/she may appoint a handler to show an eligible alpaca on their behalf.




Suri Network
Phone: (970) 586-5876
Fax: (970) 591-0007
P.O. Box 1984
Estes Park, Colorado
80517


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