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Mexican field trial

Mexican field trial shows clear potential for hatcheries to improve their bottom line

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By: José Virgilio Jiménez Ayala, Geert Rombaut and Eva Werbrouck*

A recent field trial conducted by INVE Aquaculture shows that an optimized feeding protocol can help hatcheries get the most out of their 4-month season thanks to a 27% increase in PL production and a 20% higher profitability.

Due to seasonal temperature changes, Mexican shrimp hatcheries need to produce 70% of the national PL demand between March and June, so grow-out farms can focus their culture on the summer. For the hatcheries, this means achieving high volumes through large production capacity increased stocking density, faster growth, and the implementation of a two-culture phase system.

A recent field trial conducted by INVE Aquaculture shows that an optimized feeding protocol can help hatcheries get the most out of their 4-month season thanks to a 27% increase in PL production and a 20% higher profitability.

Average body weight as key performance indicator

In Mexico’s standard two-culture phase system, the first phase covers nauplii stage 4-5 to post-larval stage 6 (PL6), and the second phase covers PL6 to PL12 (harvest stage). Average body weight samples taken upon transfer from phase 1 to 2 indicate that substantial improvement of this important culture parameter is possible.

“Although larval development and growth can be positively impacted by factors such as genetic improvement of breeding lines, stocking density, and water management, optimized nutrition still seems the obvious solution. That is why we set up a trial to investigate if a carefully balanced feeding protocol could add effectiveness to the larval rearing stages, allowing hatcheries to produce more, faster growing, and stronger postlarvae”, said Alfredo Medina Rodas, Global Technical Expert Shrimp Hatchery at INVE Aquaculture.

Alfredo Medina Rodas

 

Alfredo Medina Rodas

Hatchery trial with INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ feeding protocol

The objective of the trial in a commercial hatchery in Sonora State, Mexico, was to evaluate the productive and cost-benefit performance of INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ feeding protocol in comparison with the local standard hatchery protocol. Part of the tanks was fed according to the hatchery’s standard protocol.

The other tanks were fed according to INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol. Other aspects of the culture management such as water treatment and microalgae cultivation were kept in line with the hatchery’s standard procedures.

Importance of Artemia

The hatchery standard protocol used different types of feed and brands (liquid diets, microparticles feed, and flakes) as well as additives, multivitamins, and probiotics from different commercial manufacturers. Regular EG type of Artemia cysts were used, and traditionally harvested using a double mesh to separate the nauplii from the empty cysts, and hot water (75°C) for disinfection.

As shown in Table 1, INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol included 68% more Artemia and 28% fewer diets on dry matter basis.

Mexican field trial

More concretely, the protocol included the following INVE products:

EG SEP-Art cysts 225 Knpg, hatched according to the IFU and the nauplii separated from their shells and cysts using INVE’s SEP-Art CysTM 2.0 tool. This equipment consists of 16 magnetized bars that retain the cysts and empty cyst shells, keeping the nauplii in the suspension without damaging or injuring the nauplii (Figure 1) and maintaining the feed quality.

Mexican field trial

FRiPPAK® FRESH diets (#1 CAR, #2 CD, #3 CD) and FRiPPAK® PL+ ULTRA diets (PL+150, PL+300), and health booster diet Sano S-PAK (0/2). FRiPPAK® FRESH diets contain microencapsulated particles to keep the nutrients from leaching into the water. Appropriate particle size in function of the stage is crucial e.g., for zoea stages the size should be below 50 µm for optimal ingestion.

Sanolife® MIC and Sanolife® PRO-W were used as probiotics and Sanocare® FIT as a water conditioner. “The Best Balance protocol draws its beneficial effects from a substantial increase in the amount of Artemia used. But the impact on the hatchery team’s workload remains limited thanks to INVE’s SEP-Art tools, which drastically simplify the Artemia harvesting process”, emphasized José Jaime Muñoz Medina, Sales Manager Mexico.

Technical results

As shown in Table 2, the observed results at the end of the first larval rearing phase demonstrated a clear impact on growth, biomass reached per tank, and feed conversion rate (FCR). Compared to the standard hatchery protocol, INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol resulted in similar survival, but with higher average PL body weight (+43%), higher tank biomass (+35%) and a 20% more efficient FCR.

Mexican field trial

Evaluation of growth

Growth was evaluated through daily body weight evaluation from PL3 onwards using the LarvIA application, previous values were estimated according to the trend (Figure 2).

Mexican field trial

Profitability at the hatchery’s operational level

Post-larvae cultured under INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol reached transferable size in 12 days (1.4 mg/PL3), while it took 15 days under the standard protocol (1.3 mg/PL6). A shorter phase 1 culture period not only brings the opportunity to run more production cycles per season, but also enhances the survival rate.

Considering a 4-month season, this implies 8 cycles with the standard protocol versus 10 with INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol. This means a 27% increase in PL production, e.g. from 1 million to 1.27 million PL produced. The consequent additional revenues far outweigh the extra costs linked with increased PL production (nauplii cost, phase 2 feed cost) and the additional feed cost of INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol during phase 1 (Table 3).

Mexican field trial

Table 4 summarizes the economic analysis of the hatchery’s standard protocol versus INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol and concludes on an increased profitability of 20%.

Mexican field trial

Conclusion

✓ The use of INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol in phase 1 of the hatchery culture cycle increased PL size and harvestable tank biomass and improved the feed efficiency.

✓ The higher inclusion of Artemia was the main driver for increased growth.

✓ Increased PL size allows for more cycles per season, and thus a higher seasonal PL production.

INVE’s ‘Best Balance’ protocol unlocks the hatchery’s production potential and increases the hatchery’s profitability.

‘Best Balance’ aims to deliver robust post-larvae that maintain their high-quality during growout.

Note: ‘Best Balance’ is not a fixed protocol, but an approach to shrimp hatchery culture in which the use of high-quality products is adjusted to local culture conditions.

INVE

This informative version of the original article is sponsored by: INVE AQUACULTURE.

José Virgilio Jiménez Ayala
Sales Manager Mexico.

Geert Rombaut
Product manager Artemia and Live Feed.

Eva Werbrouck
Product Manager shrimp formulated diets.
INVE Aquaculture (A Benchmark Company)

For more information about the Best Balance protocol, please contact the Technical Support team by sending a request to Customer.support@inveaquaculture.com or submit a ticket here

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