How to reduce fish farming costs and increase profit margins

While there are undoubtedly huge growth opportunities for aquaculture today — particularly in Asia — rising costs associated with inputs, raw materials and feed remain a growing problem.

Maintaining optimal feed conversion rates is now more important than ever, and managing costs is key to running a successful and profitable fish farm. However, in order to maximise profits and reduce costs, care must be taken not to adversely affect the rate of progress – something that seems relatively small can actually have a huge impact on growth. Here are my five tips for managing farms to reduce costs.

1. Provide nutritionally balanced feed

It should come as no surprise that, in general, the most expensive element of a producer’s business is feed. In fact, some farms report that feed accounts for as much as 50-70% of their operating costs. While important, cost per pound should not be the main determining factor in feed selection; Performance must also be considered. In the long run, the cost of using inferior feed is actually higher, resulting in an unnecessary increase in feed conversion rate (FCR). Under the FCR, farms can increase the amount of feed needed to produce a unit of meat. Lower-cost feed is often seen as the most efficient — but even if the feed cost per pound of fish or shrimp produced is low, when you factor in growth rates and other factors, the bottom line suffers when the fish reaches market size.

It is effective and practical to evaluate feed performance by considering a variety of properties. Some features to consider include

  • Feed efficiency
  • The growth rate
  • The overall quality
  • digestibility
  • Health and immune support
  • Reduce drug costs
  • The water quality maintenance

The quality and integrity of the feed selected will vary for different species and stages of life. Proper preparation of feed will help ensure that animals and farms get the best results. Determining protein content is a simple and commonly used method of assessing feed quality – the higher the better.

2. Make your own fish feed

Fish feed extruder is a necessary equipment for small and medium-sized fish farms and fish feed processing plants. Through the fish feed extruder we can use cheap local raw materials to produce high-quality feed according to the nutritional needs of fish, which may save your feed breeding costs.

3. Support health

Providing feed that provides a good balance of nutrients will directly affect the overall success of FCR and the farm. Vitamins and minerals must be added to feed to create a nutritionally balanced and truly complete diet that meets the basic nutritional needs of fish and shrimp.

Each species and growth stage has specific nutritional needs, but a healthy gut is key to achieving and maintaining optimal health for all fish and shrimp. Gut microbiota, gut morphology, immune system and nutrient absorption — and how these elements interact — all play an important role in the health and performance of fish and shrimp. Animals in farmed environments also need the necessary nutrients to meet their basic nutritional needs. Organic trace elements are ideal because they are more biologically active than inorganic substances and can be absorbed, stored and utilized by animals.

4. Maintain optimal water quality

Proper water quality maintenance depends on an understanding of proper water quality and aquaculture for fish and shrimp is absolutely essential. The ideal environmental conditions will vary for different species of fish and shrimp. If these conditions are not maintained, they may have a negative impact on growth and performance – if the immune response is reduced, the risk of disease in the farms may increase.

Using a nutritionally balanced, high-quality raw material selection in your aquatic feed will lead to higher palatability and digestibility, which will be directly reflected in the waste excreted by fish and shrimp. Low feed digestibility leads to increased protein and mineral excretion. These wastes may contain potentially harmful nitrogen and ammonia, which will pollute water and harm fish and shrimp.

When choosing a feed, pay more attention to protein utilization rather than protein content, as this saves both time and some of the labor costs associated with treating water and overall management.