Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319311

Research Project: Water Quality and Production Systems to Enhance Production of Catfish

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Costs and risks of catfish split-pond systems

Author
item Kumar, Ganesh - University Of Arkansas At Pine Bluff
item Engle, Carole - University Of Arkansas At Pine Bluff
item Tucker, Craig

Submitted to: Journal of the World Aquaculture Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2015
Publication Date: 6/1/2016
Citation: Kumar, G., Engle, C., Tucker, C.S. 2016. Costs and risks of catfish split-pond systems. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society. 47:327-340.

Interpretive Summary: Split ponds are a recently developed, pond-based aquaculture system that allows intensification of catfish aquaculture. Split ponds are built by dividing an existing earthen pond into two unequal sections. The small section (about 15% of the total area) holds fish and the large area functions as a waste-treatment lagoon. Water is circulated between the two sections during daylight and the fish-holding basin is aerated at night. Production of hybrid catfish (female channel catfish × male blue catfish) in research split ponds has been triple that achieved in conventional earthen ponds. Successful industry-wide adoption of this new technology will depend upon productivity and cost efficiencies. Costs and production performance of the following three split-pond design scenarios were monitored in Arkansas and Mississippi for research and commercial systems. An economic engineering approach using standard enterprise budget analysis was used to develop estimates of breakeven prices for producing foodsize hybrid catfish. Estimates of breakeven prices of hybrid catfish raised in split ponds ranged from $0.78 to $0.93 per pound. The cost of catfish production in split ponds was sensitive to yield, fish prices, and feed prices. Annual net cash flows from both commercial split-pond systems were high and sufficient to make the investment profitable in the long run. Returns to investment from these systems were greater than the opportunity cost of capital, suggesting investment feasibility. Feed price, feed conversion ratio, and yield contributed the most to downside risk of split ponds.

Technical Abstract: Split ponds are a recently developed, pond-based aquaculture system that allows intensification of catfish aquaculture. Successful industry-wide adoption of newly developing technologies like split-pond systems will depend upon their productivity and cost efficiencies. Costs and production performance of the following three split-pond design scenarios were monitored in Arkansas and Mississippi: 1) research design developed at the Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Stoneville, MS; 2) waterwheel design tested on commercial catfish ponds; and 3) screw-pump design tested on commercial catfish ponds. An economic engineering approach using standard enterprise budget analysis was used to develop estimates of breakeven prices ($/kg) for producing foodsize hybrid catfish (' Ictalurus punctatus × ' Ictalurus furcatus) for each scenario. Estimates of breakeven prices of hybrid catfish raised in split ponds ranged from $1.72/kg to $2.05/kg. The cost of catfish production in split ponds was sensitive to yield, fish prices, and feed prices. Annual net cash flows from both commercial split-pond systems were high and sufficient to make the investment profitable in the long run. Returns to investment from these systems were greater than the opportunity cost of capital, suggesting investment feasibility. Feed price, feed conversion ratio, and yield contributed the most to downside risk of split ponds.