Don Julio Barreda
Barreda, Estancia Accoyo, Macusani, Peru
The following is an extract by the touching eulogy written by Mike Safley on the death of Don Julio in 2006.
"Julio Barreda—an artist who extracted pigment from the invisible DNA curling in the plasma of an ancient species—painted his vision of perfection with balance and harmony across the genotype of a herd sixty years in the making. His extraordinary accomplishment, a gift from God, touched each of us.
Don Julio stood all of five foot six, hair combed straight back—black until the day he died, nut brown skin, burnished and creased by an Incan sun and the cruel, cold wind that comes to rest in the marrow of a man born of Macusani’s high plains. Don Julio was a giant in the alpaca world—the Godfather. He was born of a Quechua woman and an accountant father from Arequipa, who died, leaving little Julio to be raised by his mother and grandfather on a vast hacienda in the province of Carabaya. His relationship with alpacas began almost before he could talk."
The following is the story of his admirable life ........
Don Julio Barreda's mother, Dona Victona Aragon Barreda, bred
Alpacas prior to bringing Julio into the world. Julio felt the
pulse of the Alpaca as a young boy. He learned the art of breeding
camelids and harvesting their fiber beginning at 13 years of
Today, Don Julio is one of the most important Peruvian Alpaca
ranchers. His ranch "Accoyo," an Indian word meaning "sandy
ground," lies near the village of Macusani, 15,000 feet
above sea level. National Geographic Magazine has called Macusani
the world center for Alpaca fiber production.
To understand the true history of the Alpaca, one must look
to Peru, where textiles have played an important part in the
civilization of the high Andes since pre-Inca times. During the
day of the Incan empire, Alpaca husbandry was very carefully
regulated by the "Camayocc," or Alpaca professional.
The spinning and weaving of Alpaca garments was highly organized;
only the Inca rulers and their court were privileged to wear
Recently, Alpaca breeding has suffered in Peru, socialized land
reforms adversely impacted the breeding of Alpacas. The Shining
Path or "Sendero Luminoso" terrorists wreaked havoc
on the farms of the Alta Plano. Don Julio in his role as a modern
day "Camayocc" has persevered. He has managed to maintain
his royal bloodlines (Plantel) through thick and thin. Today
Don Julio shepherds about 2,500 head. Approximately 75% are huacaya
and the balance are suri. The bloodlines of his "Plantel" herd
date back to 1946.
From the start, Don Julio has been known as an innovator. He
was the first breeder to introduce fencing. Many in Peru thought
him to be "loco," building fences, creating artificial
boundaries on the almost unlimited terrain, but it wasn't long
before the benefits of this radical concept became apparent.
Not only could fenced plots support more animals by utilizing
pasture rotation, but the Alpaca were better nourished, had higher
fertility rates, and lower cria mortality rates.
The benefit of fencing did not stop with better nutrition. This
innovation allowed for the separate breeding of suri and huacaya.
Llamas could not be crossbred with Alpacas. Don Julio began to
develop truly purebred Alpacas of the highest quality.
Today, after many years of rigorous genetic selection, Barreda has redefined
the Alpaca. His ranch maintains two herds of huacaya. One herd produces a fine,
but less dense fleece of 20 microns or less. The other herd produces a very
dense fleece of up to 24 microns. Most of these Alpaca produce over 10 pounds
of fleece annually.
Despite his advancing years, Don Julios' time is still split
between Macusani and Arequipa. He returns to the mountains every
two months to spend time supervising his herd, thereby ensuring
that his workers do the culling, breeding, feeding, mating, shearing,
parturition, and weaning according to his exacting standards.
Even with all these accomplishments, he and his lovely wife,
Antonieta de Barreda, have found time to rear four daughters
and many grandchildren. Peru will remember Don Julio Barreda
for many years to come. He has contributed to his country, his
family and his Alpacas in a fashion that is admired by all who
What has been accomplished at Don Julio's beloved "Accoyo" is
known to every Alpaca breeder in South America. He is truly first
among his peers. Pure Accoyo bloodstock is now in the gene-pool
in the United States and we all benefit from it. American breeders
are beginning to appreciate why - Don Julio Barreda is truly
the world's finest.
The above is based on an article written by the highly-esteemed
Mike Safley of Northwest Alpacas.