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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY IN WARM WATER AQUACULTURE THROUGH WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Economic feasibility of an in-pond raceway system for commercial catfish production in west Alabama

Authors
item Brown, Travis
item Hanson, Terry -
item Chappell, Jesse -
item Boyd, Claude -

Submitted to: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 25, 2013
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Citation: Brown, T.W., Hanson, T.R., Chappell, J.A., Boyd, C.E. 2014. Economic feasibility of an in-pond raceway system for commercial catfish production in west Alabama. North American Journal of Aquaculture. 76:79-89.

Interpretive Summary: The goal of this project was to improve profitability of catfish farming by demonstrating methods to achieve high levels of survival, feed performance, and efficiency in a commercial farm setting. A commercial-scale, in-pond raceway system was constructed in 2007 in a 6.0 ac earthen pond on a catfish farm in west Alabama. The in-pond raceway system consisted of six raceways that were each stocked with uniform sized Channel Catfish or hybrid catfish. Co-cultured fish species, Paddlefish and Tilapia were stocked and harvested in the outside area of the in-pond raceway system. Results from the 2008 production season were used to project production stocking either Channel Catfish or hybrid catfish in this system. In addition, Channel Catfish production in traditional ponds was monitored from 2005-2009 on the same farm (427.6 average water acres). Food fish production cost using the in-pond raceway system was $0.71/lb (variable cost) and $0.14/lb (fixed cost) for a total production cost of $0.85/lb. Income above variable costs was $3,680 and $43,043 for catfish and all fish, respectively. Net returns to land was $-11,957 and $27,406 for catfish and all fish, respectively. The electrical energy required to produce one pound of catfish (a measure of energy efficiency) in the IPRS was 1.286 hp·h/lb (2.115 kW·h/kg). Additional research using in-pond raceway systems for fish production are needed to verify our initial research results.

Technical Abstract: The endeavor of this project was to improve profitability of catfish farming by demonstrating methods to achieve high levels of survival, feed performance, and efficiency in a commercial farm setting. A commercial-scale, in-pond raceway system was constructed in 2007 in a 6.0 ac earthen pond on a catfish farm in west Alabama. The in-pond raceway system consisted of six raceways that were each stocked with uniform sized Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus or hybrid catfish (Channel Catfish x Blue Catfish I. furcatus). Co-cultured fish species, Paddlefish Polyodon spathula and Tilapia Oreochromis niloticus, were stocked and harvested in the outside area of the in-pond raceway system. Results from the 2008 production season were used to project 12-months of production stocking either Channel Catfish or hybrid catfish in this system. In addition, Channel Catfish production in traditional ponds was monitored from 2005-2009 on the same farm (427.6 average water acres). The results from the in-pond raceway system were compared to the 12-month average production of the traditional farm and to the12-month projected production in the in-pond raceway system. Food fish production cost using the in-pond raceway system was $0.71/lb (variable cost) and $0.14/lb (fixed cost) for a total production cost of $0.85/lb. Income above variable costs was $3,680 and $43,043 for catfish and all fish, respectively. Net returns to land was $-11,957 and $27,406 for catfish and all fish, respectively. The electrical energy required to produce one pound of catfish (a measure of energy efficiency) in the IPRS was 1.286 hp·h/lb (2.115 kW·h/kg). This study showed that the in-pond raceway system was more efficient at producing catfish as compared to the 12-month average production of the traditional farm. However, additional studies using in-pond raceway systems are needed to verify our initial research results.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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