Grant Awarded from SARE
Earlier this year we where awarded a Grant from SARE to begin the testing process of two different types of feed processes.
More information coming soon.
Why? Because we learn something new each Harvest that can make the next one even better!
25,000 of my babies arrived. As always the hardest part of this process is naming them. We generally start with the A’s …Aaron Alfred April and so on and so on. Along with the arrivals, we received 3 new Aero2 aerators. Theses devices can increase the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) in the water. Low DO tends to be an issue late August. This low DO can kill the prawns. We’re going to try a new feed for part of the season. A company named EnviroFlight out of Yellow Springs is now producing a high protein feed from organic materials. This feed was tested last year at two prawn ponds in southwestern Ohio. Laura Tiu one of the aquaculture specialists from The Ohio State University Aquaculture Facility in Piketon Ohio supervised these tests and gave the product high marks for nutrition. We also like the fact the feed is produced in Ohio.
Construction begins on two new ponds about ¾ acre in size. We decided to expand the operation. We didn’t take this decision lightly because of the time it will take to produce the Prawns and of course the costs involved. But (knock on wood) we sellout every year and sometimes have to turn people away. We seriously hate this when it happens, so come early.
We applied for a SARE grant (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education). The grant proposal was designed around our unique feeding process. We were not awarded the grant, But what we did receive were the reasons why, and was strongly advised to resubmit in 2013. We just may do that.
12,000 of my babies arrived! The hardest part is naming them all Aaron, Arno, Argon and so on and so on... Those of you who are familiar with our operation, we ran two ponds last year. The first or oldest pond was stocked with 6,000 prawns. Our expectations were to produce approximately 275 to 400 pounds of Prawns (Hey it's farming; we never know what the count will be!). We ended up with 42 pounds of Prawns. We learned from our travels to Kentucky; see below, that our waters in the first pond may have been to clear. Not enough nutrients suspended in the water because of the high volume of water that passes through. We are going to use only one pond this year.
At the beginning of the month Jay Pickelsimer and I journeyed to Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky for a class. The title of the class was: Weed and Algae Identification and Eradication. It was a real barnburner!!! No Really. The University expected 12 to 15 participants and ended up with over 40 maybe closer to 50 people. We learned about best practices to eliminate weeds and Algae growth. If you happened to be at our very first harvest you know that we had a lot to learn! Especially about algae control! The short answer is (and this is a good problem) our water is to clear. The new word we learned was turbidity. The higher the turbidity the less sunlight can penetrate the depths of the pond and less sunlight means less weeds and algae. We can control the turbidity (clarity) with phytoplankton (which the Prawns feed off!).
What we've learned from this harvest: We'll have 2 cash registers this year. This should eliminate the long lines that some of our customers may have experience. We'll invite the FFA (Future Farmers of America) students from Fairfield Union School District again. The response from both our customers and their instructor, Mr. Young, about their efforts to bring the harvest in and the help with our customer was very positive. For the cash registers area a separate weighing scale. No more shared scale! If you forget your checkbook, this year we'll have the ability to take Master Card, Visa, American Express and Discover cards. Since we SOLD OUT at the last harvest, and if you want to taste fresh prawns like you never tasted before you may want to come early!