Ridley Corporation Limited has announced the successful results of recent L. vannamei shrimp feed trials, in which a Novacq™ inclusive diet significantly outperformed the same Ridley diet without Novacq™. The trials were conducted in one of Ridley's leased ponds at the Sureerath Prawn Farm, adjacent to Ridley’s feedmill interest at Chanthaburi, Thailand.
The comprehensive 50-day trial, which concluded on September 8, was carried out in ten individual, self-contained and suspended trial cages per treatment, spread across one pond. The trial was a direct comparison between two commercial, steam pelleted diets made at the Ridley feedmill in Narangba, using the same diet, one with and one without Novacq™ at a 5% inclusion rate and using Novacq™ produced at the Yamba, NSW facility.
Both diets were shown to be highly water stable and showed no signs of dissolution up to four hours post immersion in the water. Both feeds used were tested for two size classes, with a starter feed for the first 21 days followed by a larger pellet for the remainder of the trial.
At the end of the trial, the L. vannamei shrimp were harvested and tested for growth rate, survival, total food fed, Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and total biomass gain.
The trial delivered strong growth and survival rates for both diets, and target harvest weights were reached after only 50 days compared to the traditional 70 day cycle. This biomass improvement would enable farmers to increase their production cycles from the typical current three harvests per annum to four, which equates to a 33% combined improvement in biomass and productivity.
“The initial analysis of these trial results is very pleasing, and represents significant value for the Thai shrimp farmer compared to what has been a very good diet which has performed well in Australia prior to the advent of Novacq™," stated Ridley CEO Tim Hart. "The combination of growth and survival is a winning formula for the Thai shrimp farmer and provides a significant value delta when it comes to the customer value proposition.”
Thai shrimp farmers have also suffered in recent years from loss of biomass through disease, such as Early Mortality Syndrome, and rather than grow bigger shrimp, the preference is likely to be to harvest early, de-risk the business, and generate much earlier cash returns for reinvestment.
“While the Thais may prefer a strategy of harvesting early, mitigating their production risk, and introducing a fourth production cycle, Australian shrimp farmers may be equally interested in the extrapolation of the trial period based on usual shrimp lifecycle growth trajectories," added Hart. "The extrapolations suggest there could be a 25% biomass improvement after 70 days and 27% after 80 days, and Australian consumers have traditionally been willing to pay a premium for large shrimp. The introduction of a second production cycle for Australian shrimp farmers is a similarly an enticing prospect.”
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