2013 Annual Report
During FY13, three primary sub-projects and one small secondary projects (also of importance to Hawaii’s agriculture) were conducted:
Primary Sub-Projects: -Biofuel byproducts to supplement cattle grazing -Use of algae for aquaculture feeds -Marine agronomy for feed and biofuels
Secondary Sub-Projects: -Beekeeping
Biofuel Byproducts to Supplement Cattle Grazing: Eight experimental paddocks were completed at the University of Hawaii at Hilo farm in Panaewa to provide the capability for replicated supplemental feeding trials. The paddocks have electrical fencing to allow the paddocks to subdivided, water troughs, and a chute area for weighing animals. Baseline trials of the pastures with two different breeds of cattle were started in July of 2013 and will be completed early next year.
Use of Algae for Aquaculture Feeds: This sub-project had three major components: completion of replicated facilities for feeding trials; pilot-scale microalgae culture facilities; and a feeding trial comparing a microalgae-based diet with a standard test diet. The new research capacity includes:
-An additional six tanks was added to the twelve 500 gallon tanks system constructed last year. These tanks permit replicated feeding experiments with static or flowing water (brackish or saltwater); and
-A system of thirty-six, 300 liter bags for microalgae culture was installed and is ready for scale-up trials with microalgae identified by Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC)staff. Further, the system will allow replicated experiments on conditions affecting algae growth and composition.
Use of microalgae as protein and lipid source in diets for giant grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus: One feeding trial with microalgae was completed by the algae sub-project during this period. Its summary follows:
Four experimental fish diets with various levels of fish meal replacement by a mix of the thraustochytrid algae Schizochytrium sp. and soy protein concentrate meal were tested. The control diet used fishmeal (FM) as the main protein source. The other three diets had FM replacement levels of 20 (P-20), 40 (P-40) and 80% (PLANT 80). Fish oil (FO) was completely replaced by Schizochytrium sp. meal in diets P-40 and P-80.
Grouper juveniles (initial weight = 45.9 g) were fed the experimental diets twice per day for 8 weeks. Fish growth, feed utilization and final body composition were estimated at the end of the experiment. Fish growth rate was not significantly different in the control diet and diets P-20 and P-40. Further data analysis is in progress.
A second feeding experiment started at the end of July in which “kahala” (Seriola rivoliana) juveniles are fed experimental diets with the Schizochytrium sp., the green algae Haematococcus sp., and soy protein concentrate (SPC) as the major protein sources to replace 10, 25, 40, 60 and 80% of dietary FM.
Marine Agronomy for Biofuel and Fish Feed: MarineAgronomy.org (an informal group of 30+ people from academia, industry, U.S. government, and financial institutions) met in Nashville in February of 2013 to continue discussions on the possibility of industrial-scale marine agronomy (mainly seaweed farming) as a major source of food, animal feeds, and raw material for biofuels. The group’s web portal, marineagronomy.org, has been expanded substantially and includes a digital library with over 400 references. Other activities included developing a technical session at the upcoming Ocean Sciences meeting to be held in February of 2014 (and having it approved by the organizers) and submission of multiple proposals to the Paul Allen Ocean Acidification Challenge.
Beekeeping: A 20 page booklet was completed in 2012-2013 that provides detailed instructions and pictures on how to build a custom top bar hive including an oil try to exclude the small hive beetle, an insect that is restricted to only certain Hawaiian Islands. These plans allow the beekeeper to utilize materials found here in the islands to build hive structures thereby reducing dependency on importing hive materials. Furthermore, this type of hive lends itself to farms that are primarily interested in pollination rather than hive products. The booklet is available in hard copy form as well as on line on the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Managment (CAFNRM), Universtiy of Hawaii (UH) at Hilo, website. Hard copies have been distributed during presentations.
Work has continued on expanding apiary sites and related activities at the UH, Hilo farm in Panaewa. Most of the land clearing, leveling, and site preparation has been completed. Two of the sites have been designated for testing variables such as hive design, potential of using local materials for hives and beetle and varroa mite control devices. Initiatives for next year include completion of these tests.
The Beekeeping Sub-Project conducted 5 public presentations as follows in FY2012 and 2013: -September 13-16, 2012 bee awareness educational display at the Hawaii County Fair. -September 21, 2012 bee awareness educational display at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range (planning on participating for October, 2013). -November 28, 2012 beekeeping and sustainability presentation for Focus in Hamakua. -February 23, 2013 bee-coming sustainable event at the UH, Hilo, farm with display top bar hive and plans. -March 28, 2013 Ag day at the capital.