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The Effect of Two Initial Feed Sizes on Fingerling Growth in Mixed-Batch Catfish Ponds

By Donald W. Freeman USDA, ARS Aquaculture Systems Research Unit, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff - A study is underway to assess the effectiveness of initially feeding a small-diameter, starter feed to mixed-size catfish ponds understocked a majority of 5-in. fingerlings.

The Effect of Two Initial Feed Sizes on Fingerling Growth in Mixed-Batch Catfish Ponds - By Donald W. Freeman USDA, ARS Aquaculture Systems Research Unit, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff - A study is underway to assess the effectiveness of initially feeding a small-diameter, starter feed to mixed-size catfish ponds understocked a majority of 5-in. fingerlings.

Sixteen, 0.25-acre experimental ponds are being utilized. Eight ponds were stocked with 5-inch fingerlings only (single-batch), while the other eight ponds (mixed-batch) were stocked with 85% 5-inch fingerlings and 15% medium-size (0.6 lb each) fish.

All the ponds were stocked to a density of 6,000 fish/acre equivalent. Standard-size, floating pellets were initially fed to half of the single-batch ponds and half of the mixed-batch ponds. After five weeks, all ponds were fed the standard-size pellets.

It must be emphasized that conclusions this far should be considered very preliminary in nature! The effects of the two feeding strategies on net production and their consequent cost-effectiveness will not be determined until final harvest at the conclusion of this study.

Preliminary data have indicated that the practice of initially feeding a small-diameter feed to mixed-batch catfish may have merit. Growth data after 10 weeks indicate that fingerling growth in mixed-batch ponds may be enhanced by initial feeding with a starter feed.

Whether this initial "boost" in growth will continue throughout the production cycle and result in increased year-one production is yet to be determined.


Source: University of Arkansas Pine Bluff - June 2004

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