UK: A researcher at the University of New Hampshire hopes to increase local food production through an integrated land-based aquaculture and hydroponic plant production system.
Todd Guerdat, an assistant professor of agricultural engineering, is leading a series of studies at Kingman Research Farm in Madbury.
He and others are taking waste nutrients from fish and using them for plants.
In three greenhouses, they are trying to determine if higher protein diets are more beneficial for plant production.
“The goal is to use all the nutrients from the feed, without having to supplement anything,” Guerdat said.
Researchers are using tilapia because they are efficient, cheap and reliable, but researchers hope is to start using cold water fish such as striped bass.
Guerdat said that if they are successful, more seafood can be raised on the local level.
According to Guerdat, more than half of the world’s seafood is farmed and 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported, resulting in an annual trade deficit of nearly $11 billion.
“We are food insecure when it comes to seafood,” Guerdat said. He said there are companies that are already implementing similar systems, including Victory Aquaponics in Londonderry.
Members of the public will be able to learn more about Guerdat’s research at a Twilight Meeting and Research Field Day Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Attendees will hear from Guerdat and eight other researchers who are working at the farm.
Brent Loy, an emeritus professor of plant biology and genetics, will discuss melon breeding and genetic research with three major classes of fresh market squash.
Ray Grizzle, a professor of zoology, will talk about his oyster farming research. Grizzle is working to restore the wild oyster population in Great Bay.
Lorraine Merrill, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, said agricultural research tailored to New Hampshire needs is an important part of the work that is done at UNH.
“Over the years, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station has hosted ground-breaking research in dairy cattle nutrition, composting methods, season-extending, high-tunnel growing systems, and more.
From developing new vegetable varieties and growing techniques adapted to northern New England, to research into native pollinators and invasive plant species, NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers continue to conduct unbiased research geared to the needs of the people and environment of our region,” Merrill said in a statement.
The NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture was founded in 1887, and is the school’s original research center.
The experiment station maintains the Woodman and Kingman agronomy and horticultural farms, the Macfarlane Greenhouses, the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center and the Organic Dairy Research Farm.
Kingman Farm is located on Knox Marsh Road, Route 155. It is across the street from the Madbury Police and Fire Department at 334 Knox Marsh Road.