Save 37% off PRO during our Black Friday Sale! »

Oyster Farming Fundamentals Class Three 2019

Oyster Farming Fundamentals Class Three 2019

935617b5786caf04a01f85daf73bb297?s=128

Bill Walton

April 13, 2019
Tweet

Transcript

  1. OYSTER FARMING FUNDAMENTALS • OFF/CLASS OF 2019 • MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT

    OF MARINE RESOURCES, AUBURN UNIVERSITY, ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
  2. CLASS TOPICS • Introductions • What is off-bottom oyster farming

    and why do it? • Oyster Biology and Life Cycle • Understanding Triploidy • Introduction to Business Planning Class One • Site Selection • Gear Options • Gear Assembly and Installation • Business Planning – Part Two • Permitting Class Two – Starting an Oyster Farm
  3. CLASS TOPICS • Grading & Splitting • Controlling Bio-Fouling •

    Nursery Options Class Three – Operating an Oyster Farm • Storm Preparation • Mitigating Hazards • Inventory Management • Harvest Requirements • Protecting Public Health Class Four – Operating an Oyster Farm
  4. CLASS TOPICS • Best Management Practices • Marketing and Branding

    • Basics od Distribution • Risk Management • Business Planning – Conclusion Class Five – Making the Most of an Oyster Farm • With designated gear, raise ~10,000 oyster seed • Hands on learning Practicum
  5. Rookie Mistakes to Avoid Don’t make the same costly errors

    I made Bob Rheault East Coast Shellfish Growers Association bob@ECSGA.org www.ECSGA.org
  6. DON’T THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING • GET ADVICE • VOLUNTEER

    ON ANOTHER FARM • HIRE A CONSULTANT
  7. #1 MISTAKE OF NEW GROWERS • DON’T BUY MORE SEED

    THAN YOU HAVE GEAR TO HOLD IT IN OR TIME TO MAINTAIN (#1 MISTAKE OF NEW GROWERS) • OVERCROWDING AND FOULED GEAR YIELDS POOR GROWTH, THIN MEATS, MORTALITIES
  8. SEIVE SIZE ≠ SEED SIZE Check before you plant –

    A close fit is not a good fit 3mm 2mm 3mm
  9. If seed size is too close to mesh size –

    seed will grow into the mesh You will probably kill many trying to extract them
  10. Start Small make less costly errors You can learn almost

    as much by killing a few thousand as you can by killing millions
  11. Mother Nature is your partner, but she is not your

    friend Waves have incredible power Size anchors, ropes etc. for the worst case Use stainless fasteners, pinch pennies elsewhere
  12. LEARN TO GROW LARGE SEED FIRST You will have market

    size product sooner Small seed can be tricky to work with Large seed is more expensive, but seed will never be one of your top expenses
  13. ORDERING SEED Order early Send deposit in February Order from

    several hatcheries Sell surplus seed
  14. FLOW > GROW > DOUGH • Flow rate important for

    dense populations Seston flux = current x concentration • Concentration and composition important • • If food is limiting – growth slows, condition index suffers, more susceptible to diseases and variation in size increases, longer to harvest size (more sieving, more gear, more work) • • Optimum stocking density determined by size, species, food concentration and flow
  15. Food Availability • Flow x Conc = Flux • flux

    is ration /day • Growth • Condition Index • Stocking density • Gear & labor cost • Profitability
  16. OUR FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGE • HOW CAN I PROTECT MY CROP

    FROM PREDATORS YET STILL MAXIMIZE FLOW RATE / STOCKING • DENSITY • WHILE MAINTAINING MILLIONS OF LIVE ANIMALS IN DURABLE, INEXPENSIVE CONTAINERS THAT ARE • EASY TO MAINTAIN ?
  17. STARVING OYSTERS DON’T GROW 90% of the flow goes around

    a clean ½ mesh bag 99% goes around a fouled bag or a very fine mesh bag No flow – no grow – no dough
  18. Brine dips are great unless they get hot a ten

    minute dip in 110 degree brine is probably 100% lethal
  19. DIVERSIFY • If you can grow multiple species in multiple

    sites you have a better chance of not losing everything all at once. • If you are starting out, try multiple gear types… don’t pretend you know it all.
  20. BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR • YOU ARE WORKING IN PUBLIC

    WATERS • DON’T MAKE A MESS, DON’T BREAK THE LAWS, DON’T GET PEOPLE SICK. • USE THE ECSGA BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES TEMPLATE, DEVELOP A FARM PLAN
  21. Don’t Quit Your Day Job • IT WILL TAKE YOU

    LONGER TO MAKE A PROFIT THEN YOU THINK • PLAN TO LOSE A CROP EVERY TEN YEARS • WHEN YOU SCALE UP YOU MORTALITY RATE AND COSTS WILL GO UP FASTER THEN YOU PROJECTED • SPREADSHEETS ARE GREAT, BUT SHELLFISH CAN’T READ
  22. MAKE FRIENDS • GET TO KNOW YOU NEIGHBORS • TALK

    TO OTHER GROWERS • TALK TO YOUR REGULATORS • TALK TO YOUR EXTENSION AGENT • JOIN YOUR STATE ASSOCIATION
  23. NAP INSURANCE IS CHEAP • Talk to your local Farm

    Service Agent about signing up for Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance • Not great coverage, but it sure is cheap • Don’t wait until after the hurricane
  24. TAKE LOTS OF NOTES • WATERPROOF NOTEBOOKS FROM FORESTRY SUPPLY

    ARE CHEAP • MEMORIES ARE USUALLY UNRELIABLE • DOCUMENTING A LOSS IS ONLY POSSIBLE IF YOU HAVE DOCUMENTATION • WRITE DOWN PLANTING DENSITIES, SURVIVAL RATES, HARVEST TIMES, TEMPERATURES, EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS….
  25. CUT COSTS • Cutting costs is the fastest way to

    improve your profit margin • Increasing sales provides an incremental gain, but only if you have a positive profit margin • If you are losing money on each oyster, selling more doesn’t help
  26. YOU MAKE MONEY BY SELLING SHELLFISH NOT BY GROWING THEM

    • SPEND SOME TIME THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU WILL SELL YOUR PRODUCT • THE MARKETING PLAN MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT CHAPTER OF YOUR BUSINESS PLAN • GOOD ADVICE ON THE ECSGA WEBSITE
  27. A FEW THOUGHTS ON MARKETING • Differentiate your product from

    competitors Taste, shape, packaging, service, freshness, quality, consistency – • Tell a story, sell the experience • Don’t compete on price unless you can be the low-cost producer – avoid the drive to the bottom • Quality makes the difference • Figure out who your customer is and what they want – and then deliver it to them
  28. NEVER DROP YOUR PRICE • If you sell out before

    May you can probably charge more. You are leaving money on the table. • We typically see a nationwide shortage of quality oysters in the spring • If you are still holding inventory in July then consider a price cut
  29. T o get a copy of this and more send

    me an e-mail bob@ECSGA.org
  30. SEED ADVICE • BUY FROM MORE THAN ONE SUPPLIER AND

    AT DIFFERENT POINTS IN THE SEASON • KNOW THE SPAWN DATE • CHECK COUNTS RIGHT AWAY • BUY A BIT MORE THAN YOU NEED TO ALLOW FOR LOSS • DO NOT OVERBUY AND GET JAMMED UP • BE WILLING TO DISCARD EXTRA • FOLLOW THE REGULATIONS • SEE GEF FLIMLIN’S ‘HOW TO BUY CLAM SEED … WITHOUT GETTING SHUCKED’
  31. NURSERY OPTIONS FOR SEED

  32. NURSERY STAGE — CAN GET SEED AS SMALL AS RETAINED

    ON 0.75 MM MESH — CAN RAISE THEM AT FAIRLY HIGH DENSITIES — VERY VULNERABLE TO PREDATORS OR LOSS DUE TO SLOPPY HANDLING — FOR SAKE OF DISCUSSION, NURSERY STAGE ENDS WHEN SEED ARE RETAINED ON 12 MM MESH (R12) AND BEGIN GROW-OUT — (‘PEPPER FLAKES’ TO ‘QUARTERS’)
  33. NURSERY OPTIONS FOR OYSTER SEED • UPWELLERS • VERY HIGH

    DENSITIES OF SEED • RELY ON FORCED HIGH FLOW OF SEAWATER USUALLY BY A PUMP • CAN GET SEED AS SMALL AS 1 MM (RETAINED ON 0.75 M) • FIELD CONTAINERS/BAGS/BASKETS • LOWER DENSITIES • RELY ON PASSIVE FLOW OF SEAWATER • CAN GET SEED AS SMALL AS R2 OR purchase larger seed from a nursery operation
  34. UPWELLERS • EITHER ABOVE THE WATER LINE (USUALLY LAND-BASED) OR

    IN THE WATER (FLOATING UPWELLERS) • FLOATING ARE OFTEN CALLED FLUPSYS
  35. PRODUCTION IN UPWELLERS — WITH GRADING THROUGHOUT SEASON, CAN PRODUCE

    ~1 MILLION SEED RETAINED ON 12 MM MESH (R12) — CLEANING SEED AND SILOS REGULARLY — RUNS ON AXIAL FLOW PUMP SO RELATIVELY LOW ELECTRIC COSTS — HIGH FLOW IS KEY — IDEALLY 100 GPM PER SILO — PURCHASED TURN KEY $9,000
  36. UPWELLERS ABOVE THE WATER LINE • UPWELLER SILOS CAN BE

    BUILT RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVELY • STILL REQUIRE REGULAR MAINTENANCE OF SEED AND SILOS
  37. UPWELLERS ABOVE THE WATER LINE • UPWELLERS CAN ALSO BE

    PUT INDOORS/SHELTER • CAN BE BUILT OUT OF FIBERGLASS • NOTE THAT SILO SHAPE VARIES Photo by @gilliangrice
  38. BOTTLE NURSERIES Photo and video by @gilliangrice

  39. UPWELLER TENDING — ALL UPWELLERS HAVE WATER (AND FOOD AND

    OXYGEN) COME UP AND GO PAST THE SEED — REQUIRE FREQUENT TENDING SINCE SEED ARE AT SUCH HIGH DENSITY — PERSONALLY, I WASHED MY SILOS & SEED AT LEAST EVERY OTHER DAY Photo by @gilliangrice
  40. • CONSTRUCTION OF ‘SUPAN POWER SILOS’ - HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=WCD6M6C51GG • PADDLEWHEEL

    FLOATING UPWELLER - HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=Z5ODGQG2I74 UPWELLER VIDEOS
  41. FIELD NURSERY • CAN OPT TO RAISE SEED IN THE

    FIELD IN FINE MESH BAGS • CAVEATS! • SMALL SEED ARE EASY TO LOSE OUT OF EVEN SMALL HOLES • FOULING IS MUCH FASTER ON FINE MESH
  42. FOR FIELD NURSERY, ROUTINELY GRADING AND MOVING TO NEW MESH

    — FOR A MAY 1 SPAWN, WE TYPICALLY HAVE SEED THAT RETAIN ON 2 MM MESH BY JUNE 15TH OR SO (6 WKS) — THESE GO INTO A 1.5 MM MESH ‘SLEEVE’ @ 10,000 SEED/SLEEVE USING A FLOATING FLIPPABLE CAGE (E.G., OYSTERGRO) — WORKS WITH ANY CONTAINER SYSTEM THOUGH (E.G., ALS)
  43. THOSE SEED GET DEPLOYED AT YOUR FIELD SITE

  44. TWO WEEKS LATER … • AFTER ABOUT TWO WEEKS (JULY

    1), THE SEED WILL MOSTLY RETAIN ON A 4.5 MM MESH AND GO IN A 2 ML BAG @ 5,000 SEED/BAG
  45. TWO MORE WEEKS LATER … • AFTER ABOUT TWO WEEKS

    (JULY 15), THE SEED WILL MOSTLY RETAIN ON A 6 MM MESH AND GO IN A 4.5 ML BAG @ 2,500 SEED/BAG • UP TO THIS POINT, ZERO MAINTENANCE BETWEEN GRADINGS AND RE-BAGGINGS
  46. SPLITTING AND DESICCATION — AFTER ABOUT 2 MORE WEEKS (AUGUST

    1), SEED WILL HAVE GOTTEN LARGER, AND CAN SPLIT THE DENSITIES IN HALF, SO THERE ARE ONLY 1,250 SEED/BAG — AT THIS POINT, WE BEGIN WEEKLY DESICCATION OF THE SEED
  47. TO GROW-OUT — BY AUGUST 15-30, SEED WILL RETAIN ON

    A 12 MM MESH, SO THESE ARE PUT INTO 9.5 ML BAGS WHICH CAN BE USED THROUGH GROW-OUT IF PROPERLY MAINTAINED — HAVE DECISION IF WANT TO GET THE R12 SEED AT FINAL GROW-OUT DENSITY (150/BAG) OR KEEP THEM AT HIGHER DENSITIES (NO MORE THAN 1,250 AND CAN’T BE KEPT THERE LONG)
  48. — JUNE 15TH – NEED 10 1.5 ML BAGS, AND

    3 OYSTERGRO MINIS — JULY 1 – NEED 20 2 ML BAGS AND 2 MORE OYSTERGRO MINIS (5 TOTAL) — JULY 15 – NEED 40 4.5 ML BAGS AND 5 MORE OYSTERGRO MINIS (10 TOTAL) — AUG. 1 – NEED 40 MORE 4.5 ML BAGS (80 TOTAL) AND 10 MORE OYSTERGRO MINIS (20 TOTAL) — [~$500-$600 WORTH OF BAGS, OR $5,000-$6,000 OF BAGS FOR 1 MILLION SEED] FOR EVERY 100,000 OYSTER SEED
  49. • BY AUG. 15TH – IF GOING TO FINAL GROW-OUT

    DENSITY (AND ASSUMING 96% SURVIVAL/RETENTION), NEED 640 9.5 ML BAGS AND 160 OYSTERGRO MINIS TO GET THESE SEED TO 150/BAG (OR 600/CAGE) • (AS AN ASIDE, WITH OUR CURRENT PERMITTING IN ALABAMA, THAT IS ABOUT 1 ACRE OF CAGES.) FOR EVERY 100,000 OYSTER SEED
  50. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR FIELD NURSERY • TOTAL TIME TENDING SEED

    IS APPROXIMATELY 2-2.5 MONTHS • MINIMAL MAINTENANCE BETWEEN GRADINGS • DOES REQUIRE POWER WASHING BAGS AFTER USE
  51. COMPARING GROWTH AND SURVIVAL — HIGHLY VARIABLE — PERSONALLY, I

    HAVE SEEN SITES WHERE FIELD NURSERIES OUTPERFORM UPWELLERS AND OTHER SITES WHERE UPWELLERS OUTPERFORM FIELD NURSERIES — DIFFERENCES IN HANDLING? — DIFFERENCES IN FOOD IN WATER? • IN MY OPINION, EITHER METHOD CAN GIVE YOU VERY HIGH GROWTH AND SURVIVAL
  52. WHICH OPTION IS FOR YOU? — UPWELLERS + CONVENIENT +

    CAN CONTROL FLOW EVEN IN LOW FLOW ENVIRONMENT − POWER BILL − NEED TO GET UPWELLER MOVED FOR STORMS − CAN BE EXPENSIVE TO BUILD • FIELD NURSERY + NO POWER BILL + KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR SITE + ONLY PERIODIC MAINTENANCE − MULTIPLE BAG SIZES NEEDED
  53. INVENTORY • HOW MANY OYSTERS DO YOU HAVE? • WHAT

    SIZE ARE THEY? • WHERE ARE THEY? • HOW DO DIFFERENT BATCHES PERFORM? • WHAT IS THE VALUE OF MY CROP RIGHT NOW?
  54. TRADITIONAL METHODS Figure 1. Whiteboard as oyster farm management tool

    at Hog Island Oyster Company
  55. TRADITIONAL METHODS • WHITEBOARD • NOTEBOOK • EXCEL (WITH SOME

    MODERN TWISTS) • COLOR-CODED TAGS • MEMORY
  56. NEW OPTIONS? • APPS/SOFTWARE • RFID? • GIS PACKAGES

  57. INVENTORY MANAGEMENT • BETTER INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT CROP MANAGEMENT •

    IMPROVED PRODUCTION • HIGHER EFFICIENCY • MORE ACCURATE VALUATION • BETTER PREDICTION TO MARKET
  58. COUNTING SEED • YOU HAVE A BATCH OF SEED …

    NOW WHAT? • HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THERE ARE? • HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY ARE IN EACH BAG?
  59. FOUR COMMON METHODS OF ESTIMATION • SPLITTING • WET PACK

    VOLUME • VOLUMETRIC DISPLACEMENT • WEIGHING
  60. WEIGHING METHOD • WHAT DO YOU NEED? • LARGE SCALE

    THAT CAN GET WET • SMALL POSTAL SCALE • IDEALLY METRIC AND PRECISE • TOTES/BUCKETS • MARKER • SMALL SAMPLE CUPS • PAPER & PAD/SPREADSHEET/CALCULAT OR
  61. A COUPLE WARNINGS • MAKE SURE THE SEED ARE DRAINED

    SO THAT YOU ARE NOT WEIGHING WATER • FOR VERY SMALL SEED, DRAIN ON A SIEVE AND PAT THEM DRY • MAKE SURE SCALES ARE IN SAME UNITS • MAKE SURE SCALES ARE PRECISE ENOUGH TO GIVE YOU GOOD MEASURES • MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SUB- SAMPLES ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ENTIRE SAMPLE • E.G., IF THERE ARE DEAD SEED IN THE BIG SAMPLE, SUB- SAMPLES HAVE TO HAVE A ‘FAIR’ CHANCE OF HAVING THEM IN THERE • DECIDE HOW YOU ARE COUNTING DOUBLES, TRIPLES, ETC.
  62. HOW TO 1. GET THE TOTAL WEIGHT OF THE SAMPLE

    1. ZERO OUT THE CONTAINER OR SUBTRACT THE WEIGHT 2. TAKE SUB-SAMPLES FROM THE SAMPLE 1. LABEL THE SUB-SAMPLE 2. MAKE SURE SUB-SAMPLES ARE NOT BIASED 3. TAKE AT LEAST 3 3. GET A WEIGHT FOR EACH SUB- SAMPLE 4. GET A COUNT OF LIVE, SINGLE OYSTERS FROM EACH SUB- SAMPLE 5. CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF OYSTERS PER UNIT OF WEIGHT 6. MULTIPLY THE TOTAL WEIGHT BY THE NUMBER OF OYSTERS PER UNIT OF WEIGHT 7. YOU NOW HAVE YOUR ESTIMATE!
  63. CAN NOW CALCULATE HOW MANY OYSTERS PER BAG • WITH

    THE CALCULATIONS, YOU CAN NOW DETERMINE HOW MUCH A SCOOP NEEDS TO WEIGH TO GET A DESIRED NUMBER OF SEED PER SCOOP.