Genetics, Physiology, and Health Research to Improve Catfish Production
Location: Catfish Genetics Research
Title: Nutrieconomics: improving performance and reducing CO2 footprint of channel catfish production with a phytogenic feed additive
Submitted to: Aquaculture America Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 6, 2011
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Citation: Santos, G.A., Encarnacao, P., Peterson, B.C., Waxenecker, F. 2012. Nutrieconomics: improving performance and reducing CO2 footprint of channel catfish production with a phytogenic feed additive. Aquaculture America Conference. P. 429.
The aquaculture growth is driven by the increasing demand for seafood products and at the same time by the decline in capture fisheries. This increase is in turn contributing to a growing demand for feed raw materials not only from aquaculture, but also from other animal production sectors and the biofuel industry. To face increasing costs on the commodities used in aquafeeds it is urgent to minimize production costs by improving feed efficiency.
Formulated aquaculture feeds are among the most expensive animal feeds on the market. Nevertheless, too much emphasis is often placed on lowering cost of feed. Improving cost-effectiveness of feed is far more complex than simply apply a least-cost formulation process (minimum cost per unit of weight of feed). It is important to realize that feed formulation should also take into consideration the amount of feed needed to more efficiently produce one unit of biomass or 1 kg of fish. It is therefore important to improve efficiency with a specific feed formulation which includes a combination of feed ingredients and additives that best enhance the animal’s health and performance.
Moreover additional value can also be achieved through improved genetics, better management practices and biosecurity, etc.
Another factor that is often overlooked in the production chain is sustainability. More efficient diets that improve fish performance will also have a lower environmental impact in terms of nutrient discharges. Additionally CO2 emissions resulting from the farming process can be substantially reduced.
The NutriEconomics® programme, introduced by BIOMIN, targets three important factors in its approach to nutrition – namely, nutritional and life sciences, micro- and macro-economic considerations, and the ecology or environment. By applying knowledge from life-sciences and nutrition, economics and the environment Biomin’s NutriEconomics® provides a holistic approach to safe and efficient animal nutrition. This approach considers animal nutrition in the light of business profits and the environmental impact. The economic consideration towards formulating diets is not simply based on the cost of ingredients but also the benefit that is accrued to the animal in terms of performance. Reformulating diets to include non-traditional feed sources may be necessary to fulfill this objective, and should be viewed as a worthwhile investment that yields returns for the producer.
Therefore, NutriEconomics® is a tool towards improving the use of scarce production resources to achieve the end goals of sustainable, ecologically sound yet profitable fish farming. By presenting a practical example in which a phytogenic feed additive was effective in improving FCR and growth of channel catfish, we will show how NutriEconomics® is used to assess the reduction of CO2 footprint (by making the production process more efficient) and waste discharges while maximizing production and economical gains.