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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362863

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

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Performance of Channel Catfish and Hybrid Catfish in Single-batch, Intensively Aerated Ponds

Author
item KUMAR, GANESH - Mississippi State University
item LI, MENGHE - Mississippi State University
item WISE, DAVID - Mississippi State University
item MISCHKE, CHARLES - Mississippi State University
item RUTLAND, BILLY - Mississippi State University
item TIWARI, AMBIKA - Mississippi State University
item AARATTUTHODIYIL, SUJA - Mississippi State University
item Ott, Brian
item Torrans, Eugene
item Tucker, Craig

Submitted to: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2019
Publication Date: 8/26/2019
Citation: Kumar, G., Li, M., Wise, D., Mischke, C., Rutland, B., Tiwari, A., Aarattuthodiyil, S., Ott, B.D., Torrans, E.L., Tucker, C.S. 2019. Performance of Channel Catfish and Hybrid Catfish in Single-batch, Intensively Aerated Ponds. North American Journal of Aquaculture. 81:406-416. https://doi.org/10.1002/naaq.10109.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/naaq.10109

Interpretive Summary: Aquaculture production intensification can potentially increase profits and reduce environmental impacts by spreading production costs and environmental impacts over higher yields. However, for intensification to be successful, the animal must grow well under the conditions of intensification. The domestic catfish farming industry began adopting the hybrid channel x blue catfish as the best candidate for intensive catfish culture, but many farmers still prefer certain production traits of the channel catfish. A pond experiment was therefore conducted to evaluate the economics of raising channel catfish in intensively aerated ponds operated under the single-batch cropping system. Channel catfish fingerlings were stocked at 6,000, 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 fish/acre with six replicate ponds (one-acre) per treatment. A treatment of hybrid catfish fingerlings stocked into five replicate ponds at 12,000 fish/acre was concurrently evaluated to compare relative economic performance of hybrids to channel catfish. Gross yield of channel catfish increased with higher stocking densities; however, the highest breakeven price ($1.07/lb) occurred with the lowest density treatment and the lowest production cost ($0.96/lb) was at the intermediate density of 8,000 fish/acre. Average annual net cash flows from all channel catfish treatments were insufficient to make the investment in intensive production profitable. The hybrid catfish treatment out-performed all channel catfish treatments in terms of yield, profitability, and long-term economic returns. This study showed that channel catfish do not perform well either biologically or economically under intensive culture conditions. Choice of fish to raise should be based on consideration of trade-offs between fish performance under intensive culture conditions and other production goals.

Technical Abstract: A pond experiment was conducted to evaluate the economics of raising Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus in intensively aerated ponds operated under the single-batch cropping system. Channel Catfish fingerlings averaging 0.09 lb were stocked at 6,000, 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 fish/acre with six replicate ponds (one-acre) per treatment. A treatment of hybrid catfish (' Channel Catfish × ' Blue Catfish Ictalurus furcatus) fingerlings stocked into five replicate ponds at 12,000 fish/acre was concurrently evaluated to compare relative economic performance of hybrids to Channel Catfish. All ponds were provided with a fixed-paddlewheel aerator (10 hp/acre) and were fed once daily to apparent satiation for 206 d. For Channel Catfish, the gross yield ranged from 6,562 to 9,039 lb/acre showing nominally linear trends of increasing yield with stocking density. However, the same trend was not seen in the relationship between costs and stocking density, with highest breakeven price ($1.07/lb) associated with the lowest density treatment (6,000/acre) and the least cost ($0.96/lb) with the intermediate density of 8,000 fish/acre. Average annual net cash flows from all Channel Catfish treatments were insufficient to make the investment in intensive aeration profitable in the long-run. The hybrid catfish treatment (12,000 fish/acre) out-performed all Channel Catfish treatments in terms of yield (17,542 lb/acre), which offset some of the fixed costs associated with intensively aerated ponds and resulted in relatively lower cost of production ($0.85/lb) and better long-term returns (17%). This study indicated Channel Catfish do not perform well—either biologically or economically—at densities greater than 8,000 fish/acre in single-batch, intensively aerated ponds. The study reflects current industry trends where integrated farms (farms with their own processing plant) with yield-maximizing business objectives prefer raising hybrid catfish in single-batch systems while non-integrated farms prefer raising Channel Catfish in multiple-batch systems.