World aquaculture production is dominated by omnivorous fish species that live in freshwater, including various carp and catfish species. Soybean meal is a prominent ingredient used in prepared diets for these species, often constituting 50 to 60% of the total formulation. Such levels of incorporation are possible due to adequate palatability of soybean meal and its excellent nutritional value for these species, including high levels of crude protein, complementary amino acid profile and relatively high nutrient digestibility. For many omnivorous freshwater species cultured throughout the world, soybean meal has largely replaced more costly protein feedstuffs in diet formulations, such as fish meal, while maintaining optimal fish production. As a result, the cost of fish production has been reduced substantially. While aquacultural production continues to expand worldwide to meet the growing demand for seafood, the use of soybean products will play an even more important role in providing high-quality protein for various fish species.
Two feeding trials were conducted cooperatively by the American Soybean Association International Marketing (ASA-IM) program and the Anhui Provincial Fishery Extension Center to evaluate feed-based production of bighead carp in ponds. The trials were conducted at the Changling Fish Farm in Feidong District, near Hefei, Anhui Province.