Establo Alpacas is owned by Angela and Dean Ruske, and is located 6km from Dunedin's town centre. We farm approximately 30 alpacas on a 10-acre lifestyle farm on a hill suburb overlooking Dunedin. Situated 300m above sea level we not only have spectacular views of Dunedin's coastline and other hill areas, but we are above the snow-line, and usually get a decent snow fall each year. We have been farming alpacas since 2004, where we started with two high quality females imported from Australia. With no previous farming background we weren't quite sure what to expect, but due to the easy care nature of these animals, and valuable knowledge we have gained through being members of the Alpaca Association of New Zealand, we have found farming these animals to be an enjoyable experience. We thoroughly recommend alpacas as a lifestyle block animal, as they are low maintenance, are gentle on pastures, and their inquisitive and friendly nature make them enjoyable to manage.
Our decision to invest in alpacas was driven by a number of key factors. First, we firmly believe that there is a strong market for alpacas and alpaca products both now, and, in the foreseeable future. There are many qualities that alpaca fibre possess that make it a truly remarkable natural fibre, and already it has made an impact in designer circles all over the world. We also see room for growth in the industry. The quality of alpaca in New Zealand is improving every year, but there is still an enormous amount of potential to improve fibre attributes. We decided to take up this challenge and it is our goal to work with superior genetics so that we can contribute to the quality of alpaca in New Zealand. Our focus is breeding white to light fawn animals with solid conformation and quality fleeces. With an end product in mind, our goal for our fleeces is that they are soft handling and lustrous with good crimp and length. The challenge is to breed animals that not only produce these qualities in their fleece as they age, but that they maintain these fibre characteristics on lush pastures without "blowing out".