February 2008 Catfish Feed Deliveries Down 16 Percent from Last YearTotal catfish feed delivered in the United States during February 2008 was 5,420 tons, down 16 percent from February 2007, but up 50 percent from the previous month. Foodsize catfish feed delivered totaled 5,182 tons, down 14 percent from the corresponding month a year ago. Feed delivered for fingerlings and broodfish totaled 238 tons, down 35 percent from the corresponding month a year ago.
February feed delivered to Alabama catfish growers for foodsize fish totaled 2,103 tons, up 17 percent from last year. Alabama accounted for 41 percent of the total foodsize catfish feed delivered to U.S. farmers.
The other major States with catfish feed deliveries for foodsize fish in February and their comparison to the previous year were: Arkansas with 163 tons, down 69 percent; Louisiana with 104 tons, down 75 percent; and Mississippi with 1,462 tons, down 32 percent from last year.
Reliability of Catfish Feed Deliveries Estimates
Survey Procedures: All participating catfish feed mills are feed mills that produce and deliver catfish feed to bonafide catfish producers. Survey data for catfish feed are collected from feed mills by the USDA-NASS Mississippi Field Office, which is responsible for ensuring survey coverage is as complete as possible. Mills are contacted by mail, telephone, fax, or internet. Diligent effort is made to ensure that all operations are accounted for in the estimate.Estimation Procedures: The "Catfish Feed Deliveries" report refers strictly to catfish feed delivered to bonafide catfish producers and excludes catfish feed delivered to producers of other species. The totals include both bagged and bulk feed. Prior to summarization, questionnaires are compared to previous reports for comparability. Estimates are made for feed mills whose reports are not available in time to be included in the release. Those mills are identified by an asterisk on page 11 of this release. Estimates are based on the mill's previous reports and current conditions. Published totals are a straight summation of the individual reports and estimated data.
If a mill uses a fiscal accounting system, proration is used to convert reported data to a calendar month basis.
Two unusual features of this report are worthy of note: (1) cooperating feed mills are listed by name, and (2) it is impossible for the public to infer the amount of catfish feed produced in each State. Since many mills deliver feed to more than one State and to growers of other species, any inferences about overall production per State or per mill are not valid.
Revision Policy: Revisions may be necessary in the following month's publication pending a review of late reports received from mills. Revisions to previous estimates are made to improve month to month relationships. Estimates for the previous month are subject to revision in all States and regions monthly totals. In February, all monthly estimates for the previous year are reviewed and subject to revisions. The review is primarily based on data that may have been received after the original estimates were published.
Reliability: Estimates are based on data from cooperating catfish feed mills, and therefore have no sampling variability. However, estimates may be subject to errors such as omissions, duplication, mistakes in reporting, recording, and processing of data. These errors are minimized through strict quality controls in the edit and summarization process and a careful review of all reported data for consistency and reasonableness.
Terms and Definitions Used for Catfish Feed Deliveries Estimates
Broodfish - Fish kept for egg production, including males. Broodfish produce the fertilized eggs which go to hatcheries. The most desirable size is 3 to 10 pounds or 4 to 6 years of age.Catfish Feed - For the purposes of this report catfish feed is defined as feed delivered to bonafide catfish producers. Thus, it is not the absolute total amount of feed produced or even sold by a mill. (Some catfish feed is sold to producers of other species of fish.) The definition includes medicated feed. Catfish feed is designed to float on the surface of the water. Catfish are fed this way from the moment they hatch. Therefore, they learn to go to the surface for feed. The result is a clean nutritious diet for American farm raised catfish.
Catfish Feed for Foodsize Fish - Feed containing pellets larger than 1/8 of an inch.
Catfish Feed for Fingerlings/Broodfish - Feed containing pellets 1/8 of an inch or smaller. Fingerlings – Fish weighing 2 to 60 pounds per 1,000 fish or 2 to 6 inches in length.
Foodsize Fish - Fish being grown commercially for human consumption. Optimum sizes at harvest depend on the market but are generally no lower than 3/4 pound but near one pound.
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