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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: Chemical treatment costs reduced with use of in-pond raceway systems compared to traditional pond aquaculture

Authors
item Bott, Lisa -
item Brown, Travis
item Roy, Luke -
item Hanson, Terrill -

Submitted to: Global Aquaculture Advocate
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 9, 2014
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Citation: Bott, L., Brown, T.W., Roy, L., Hanson, T. 2014. Chemical treatment costs reduced with use of in-pond raceway systems compared to traditional pond aquaculture. Global Aquaculture Advocate. 17(4):62-64.

Interpretive Summary: There are currently three farms in Alabama using IPRS to produce catfish on 17 hectares. These systems have not gained as much acceptability by the domestic US catfish industry when compared to split ponds. However, there are a small number of farmers in Alabama that have been successfully implementing IPRS on their commercial catfish operations. One advantage noted by farmers utilizing these systems is the reduced cost associated with the chemical treatment of diseases. The purpose of this article is to summarize the cost of treating the water with chemicals in IPRS raising catfish compared to traditional earthen ponds which still account for more than 95% of the catfish production in the US. The most common diseases observed over this time period include columnaris, enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), and Aeromonas hydrophila. There have also been cases involving parasites such as trichodina, henneguya, ich, and others. Fish kills caused by disease outbreaks have varied in scope, ranging from a few dead fish to thousands of kilograms depending on the disease and severity of infection. While disease outbreaks are never desired, one advantage that IPRS have over traditional pond culture is they are much cheaper to treat with chemicals. A management approach that focuses on disease prevention and control is the key to a successful farming operation. Chemotherapeutics are most successful when environmental stressors are minimized and good health management practices are followed. Although a disease prevention program is important in controlling fish disease, it’s not a guarantee. However, a preventative program is worth the effort from an economical and production standpoint. IPRS provide an alternative production method that can substantially reduce chemical treatment costs, improve the treatment delivery efficiency and allow new chemical treatments that are cost prohibitive in traditional pond settings. Several generations of the IPRS have now been experimented with and tried on commercial farms and the reductions in operating costs are large and can help offset other inputs whose costs have increased, such as feed and electricity. Additionally, there have been improvements in the IPRS design and reductions in the IPRS construction costs as well. As designs continue to improve and additional capital and operating cost reductions are realized the future for IPRS systems is promising.

Technical Abstract: Production systems such as in-pond raceway systems (IPRS) and split ponds are providing an alternative to traditional pond culture for raising catfish in several southeastern states. One advantage noted by farmers utilizing these systems is the reduced cost associated with the chemical treatment of diseases. The Alabama Fish Farming Center (Greensboro, Alabama) and Auburn University have been tracking the incidence of disease in IPRS since 2008. The most common diseases observed over this time period include columnaris, enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), and Aeromonas hydrophila. The total treatment cost for formalin at 150 ppm in a 5 cell raceway (2.3 hectare pond) is $62.78 per treatment. In contrast, to treat a 2.3 hectare pond at 20 ppm with formalin (1.67 m average depth), the cost would be $1,473 ($641/ha). Similarly, the cost of treatment with KMnO4 is much less in an IPRS compared to a traditional earthen pond. The total treatment cost using KMnO4 for the 5 cell raceway system at 5 ppm would be $8.36 per treatment, while for a 2.3 hectare pond would cost $871 to $1,162. IPRS provide an alternative production method that can substantially reduce chemical treatment costs, improve the treatment delivery efficiency and allow new chemical treatments that are cost prohibitive in traditional pond settings.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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