USSEC focused on fish production as support to the Colombian market. This sector produces more than 130,000 metric tons (MT) annually, representing a good potential for the utilization of U.S. soy products. Due to the current global public health situation, USSEC offered technical virtual support and consultations for select key customers of SOLLA, an aqua feed mill and USSEC cooperator, discussing the customers’ aquaculture production practices as well as health and management issues in their operations.
More than 50 people attended this conference, which featured presentations by subject matter expert and USSEC consultant Dr. John Hargreaves, a renowned aquaculture consultant and water management and carrying capacity calculations specialist, as well as Jairo Amezquita, USSEC Aqua Program Manager – Americas.
Dr. Hargreaves provided technical virtual support to Solla customers who are tilapia and trout producers and utilize tanks and earthen ponds. The presentation broadly addressed sustainable production in these kinds of systems. Topics included a brief market summary; aquaculture production risks and how to manage them; improve technical efficiency; relationship between production intensity and economic performance; water quality and load capacity; and dissolved oxygen and solids removal. Before beginning the presentation, USSEC’s role in promoting the use of U.S. soybean meal in aquafeeds to help the nutrition of Colombia’s aqua industry was explained as well as the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). Discussions were held with technical representatives and the manager of the aquaculture portfolio of the Solla aquafeed company about increasing the inclusion rate of soybean meal or other soy products.
The main general recommendations shared include:
- Be aware of market risks, but focus on managing production risks
- Focus on factors under your control that affect growth, feed conversion ratio (FCR), and survival
- Beware of the negative consequences of using a low-cost feed. Focus on the cost of gain per fish kg
- Increasing production intensity can reduce unit production costs
- Use biosecurity; select fast-growing, disease-resistant strains; use healthy fingerlings; and use other good management practices
- Manage dissolved oxygen in rustic ponds through the water exchange based on the transparency of the water (30-50 cm)
- Handle dissolved oxygen in vats with aeration based on 800 kg/hp or 15 kg of feed/day
- Prevent accumulation of solids
- Aggressively remove solids with settling tanks or center cones
- Eliminate 2 hours after each feeding, 5-6 times per day
USSEC will continue supporting the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry around the world as a source of animal protein production.