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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: Commercial-scale in-pond raceway system piques catfish farmers interest in west Alabama

Authors
item Brown, Travis
item Chappell, Jesse -

Submitted to: Aquaculture North America
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 21, 2011
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Citation: Brown, T.W., Chappell, J.A. 2011. Commercial-scale, in-pond raceway system piques catfish farmers interest in west Alabama. Aquaculture North America. 2:1,8-9.

Interpretive Summary: Construction of a commercial-scale fixed floor In-pond Raceway System (IPRS) began in December 2006 on a 430-water acre farm in Dallas County, AL. The initial IPRS was installed in a traditional 6-acre earthen pond (since the construction of this initial unit, several other farmers have built similar systems). Six raceways were constructed with cinder block walls, and screened ends to create individual culture units for the catfish. Slow rotating paddlewheels (SRPs) were installed at the front of each raceway to produce water flow throughout the unit. Although the original design was expensive, it demonstrated that a farmer could increase the per-acre production of catfish compared to conventional ponds. Advantages over traditional ponds include but are not limited to: improved survival; increased production; reduced production costs associated with feed (reduced FCR), labor, electricity, and chemicals; small foot print; and the utilization of other resources such as the co-culture of other fish species (paddlefish and tilapia in this demonstration) and the capture of solid fish waste. Several disadvantages include but are not limited to: higher initial construction costs, shorter reaction time during emergencies, and requires new technological experience. Continued research and development in waste removal technology will be an important factor in maximizing biomass loading. On-farm research has shown that IPRSs are technically feasible. Future expansion and adoption by the industry will depend on economics.

Technical Abstract: Construction of a commercial-scale fixed floor In-pond Raceway System (IPRS) began in December 2006 on a 430-water acre farm in Dallas County, AL. The initial IPRS was installed in a traditional 6-acre earthen pond (since the construction of this initial unit, several other farmers have built similar systems). Six raceways were constructed with cinder block walls, and screened ends to create individual culture units for the catfish. Slow rotating paddlewheels (SRPs) were installed at the front of each raceway to produce water flow throughout the unit. Although the original design was expensive, it demonstrated that a farmer could increase the per-acre production of catfish compared to conventional ponds. Advantages over traditional ponds include but are not limited to: improved survival; increased production; reduced production costs associated with feed (reduced FCR), labor, electricity, and chemicals; small foot print; and the utilization of other resources such as the co-culture of other fish species (paddlefish and tilapia in this demonstration) and the capture of solid fish waste. Several disadvantages include but are not limited to: higher initial construction costs, shorter reaction time during emergencies, and requires new technological experience. Continued research and development in waste removal technology will be an important factor in maximizing biomass loading. On-farm research has shown that IPRSs are technically feasible. Future expansion and adoption by the industry will depend on economics.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014