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Resource-cost efficiency in catfish farming practices
Proceedings of the 2020 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2020 Authors: Kumar G., Hegde S.

Farm-raised catfish is an important agricultural commodity and an essential component of rural southern economies. Evolution of the U.S. catfish industry, forged by dynamic market forces, has resulted in the development of an array of farming practices. Recent research and commercial yield verification studies on intensive-production systems have identified cost-effective methods for increasing fish production. These systems involve various strategies by increasing aeration horsepower/acre in smaller production ponds as well as constructing new split-pond systems. The relatively high productivity and cost-efficiency of these systems are making them popular foodfish-production strategies in the industry. This comparative study evaluated the resource cost efficiency of nine different catfish production strategies using data from 325 ponds on 38 commercial catfish farms (AR, AL, and MS). The split-pond system using hybrid catfish was the least-cost production strategy, followed by intensively aerated ponds using hybrid catfish, and the multiple-batch system employing channel catfish with increased aeration rates. The results are suggesting that changes in cost structures and economic conditions have changed the degree of profitability of farming practices with more intensive production strategies being more productive and hence more profitable. Additionally, they are also more efficient in their use of land, water (Figure 1), capital, and labor. Although cost efficiency is the driving factor behind intensification, it also allows for achieving improved resource-use efficiency in the industry.

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