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Viability of cork-enriched feed in trout farming: An agri benchmark fish study on innovative aquaculture techniques

Gesine Maren Behrens, Tobias Lasner, Alexander Brinker and Mark Schumann

No 116, Thünen Working Papers from Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries

Abstract: Feed costs are a crucial factor in trout farms. For farmers endeavoring to maximize profitability, improving feed management is an essential consideration. The introduction of cork-enriched feed has been tested in the previous studies, which focused the technological and environmental performance of the new feed. Against that background our study analyses the potential economic benefits of a cork-enriched feed on farm level. Cork-enriched fish feed in a production systems could enable a twin-track approach, which enhances the quality of water and the profitability of a fish farm at the same time. Based on agri benchmark fish farm models our study projects the implementation of the innovative feed in selected German trout farms to test the economic viability and analyse the effects towards farms' profitability. Given that feed is the most important outlay in trout farming, the expense of the cork feed system initially leads to heavy losses or marginal returns and declining operational results in all modeled scenarios. Notwithstanding, the opportunity to reduce labor and oxygen demand or use the saved inputs to increase productivity indicate that cork feed has potential to increase overall profitability depending on the scale of farm. The results of the current study lead us to conclude that the use of cork-enriched feed, with feed costs of € 1.44 per kg trout, is not profitable for smaller operations. The picture for large farms, which are up to now untypical for Germany, using cost intensive filtration techniques is very different. Here, increased profits can be achieved relatively fast, even under current levels of production. If an increase in production is achieved, then the cork feed makes a highly economic alternative to conventional feed.

Keywords: feed; cork-enriched feed; profitability; aquaculture; trout; Fischfutter; Korkfutter; Wirtschaftlichkeit; Aquakultur; Forelle (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
Date: 2019
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