PaddlePaddlewheel aeration and automated oxygen monitoring systems help boost catfish production

PaddlePaddlewheel aeration and automated oxygen monitoring systems help boost catfish production

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Paddlewheel aeration and automated oxygen monitoring systems help boost catfish production

Mississippi State University research and outreach has contributed to a 59 percent productivity increase and the use of cost-saving technology over the past decade in a crucial stage of catfish farming, a new multistate research survey shows.
Encompassing Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, the survey area accounts for 93 percent of US catfish production. Mississippi ranks first in US catfish production with $232 million in annual production value across 34,000 acres.

The US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Southern Regional Aquaculture Center funded the research in response to requests from aquaculture producers in the region. MSU scientists worked with colleagues from Virginia Tech, Auburn University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to conduct the surveys and analyze the data.
The data is based on regional research and field surveys to quantify economic impact and track adoption of emerging catfish farming technologies. MSU has played a pivotal role in developing and validating many of the techniques and technologies producers are using to increase efficiency, such as the development of a vaccine to prevent bacterial disease, along with increased use of paddlewheel aeration and automated oxygen monitoring systems.
“Progressive adoption of these technologies has contributed to a 59 percent increase in food fish productivity per acre over the past decade. MSU has played a central role in the development and validation of each of these technologies,” said Ganesh Kumar Karunakaran, associate research professor in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Karunakaran and his team monitored adoption rates in intensively aerated pond and split-pond systems, adoption rates of vaccinations against the bacterial disease Enteric Septicemia of Catfish (ESC) on fingerling producing farms, increased use of paddlewheel aeration, automated oxygen monitoring systems and hybrid catfish fingerlings. The team then conducted a survey of 68 participating catfish farms in the region.

The survey found that adoption of split ponds and intensively aerated ponds became an increasing trend, with Mississippi leading most of the area studied in both adoptions with 71 percent in intensive aeration and 89 percent in split ponds. Additionally, farmers have increased application of an MSU-developed vaccination and delivery method against ESC on more than 73 percent of fingerling production areas. The adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies and the intensification of catfish production can be expected to enhance the environmental performance of catfish production.

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