IMPROVING PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY OF POND-RAISED CHANNEL CATFISH
Location: Catfish Genetics Research
Title: Evaluation of Various Feeding Regimens in A Multiple-Batch Cropping System of Channel Catfish Production
Submitted to: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2008
Publication Date: January 1, 2009
Citation: Li, M.H., Robinson, E.H., Bosworth, B.G., Oberle, D.F., Lucas, P.M. 2009. Evaluation of Various Feeding Regimens in A Multiple-Batch Cropping System of Channel Catfish Production. North American Journal of Aquaculture. 71:210-215.
Interpretive Summary: In commercial channel catfish production, feeding rates vary from farm to farm because of different stocking densities, production systems, and management practices. In general, during the growing season channel catfish are fed daily to apparent satiation or at an amount not exceeding about 110 70 kg/ha per day because of deteriorating water quality concerns associated with higher feeding rates. However, during negative economic conditions (such as high feed prices and low fish prices) some producers may feed the fish every other day (EOD) to reduce feed and production costs. Based on results from this study, it appears that limiting the daily feeding rate to 110 kg/ha at a stocking density of 14,830 fish/ha would improve feed efficiency without a significant reduction in weight gain and net production. However, previous research at a higher stocking density (24,700 fish/ha), indicates that a maximum level of 135 kg/ha per day is appropriate. Although feeding catfish every other day to satiation may be acceptable as a short-term strategy when economic conditions justify it, it may not be economical for the long term because feeding every other day reduces net production, increases length of production cycle, and decreases processing yield compared with daily satiation feeding.
A four-year pond study was conducted to compare gross production, feed conversion, processing yield, and body composition of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus fed once daily or every other day to satiation, or # 110 kg/ha per day in a multiple-batch cropping system. The greatest amount of feed fed was observed for the daily satiation group, followed by # 110 kg/ha group, and the every-other-day group (P # 0.05). Net production of fish fed daily to satiation did not significantly differ from that of fish fed # 110 kg/ha per day, but that of fish fed daily (satiation or # 110 kg/ha) was significantly higher than that of fish fed every other day to satiation. Feed conversion ratio was significantly lower in fish fed # 110 kg/ha per day or every other day to satiation than that of fish fed daily to satiation. Carcass, fillet, and total meat yields did not differ among feeding regimens. Fish fed every other day to satiation had lower fillet fat and higher fillet moisture than fish fed daily to satiation. Daily feed restriction to # 110 kg/ha did not significantly impact fillet composition of channel catfish compared with fish fed daily to satiation. It appears that limiting daily feeding rate to 110 kg/ha at a stocking density of 14,830 fish/ha would improve feed efficiency without significant reduction in weight gain, net production, or processing yield, and thus increase farm profits. Feeding channel catfish every other day to satiation may be acceptable as a short-term strategy when economic conditions justify it. However, it may not be economical for the long term because of lower production, increased length of production cycle, and reduced processing yield.