We recently concluded an in-field survey of equipment and technology usage on grow-out shrimp farms found in Indonesia, India, Ecuador, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. These countries are recognized as the top six countries in the shrimp industry in terms of volume produced.
The three objectives of this study were to compare 10 technology areas across the six regions, to identify technology gaps, and to highlight innovation opportunities for entrepreneurs across these regions. We focused on more technically advanced farms and only surveyed those that utilized physical infrastructure and equipment that were relevant to the technology areas.
The 10 technology areas on grow-out farms chosen for this study are as follows: infrastructure, operational management and communication tools, power supply and consumption, water logistics, aeration, feed management and administration, water quality and health monitoring, growth monitoring, harvesting techniques, and biosecurity measures.
Data was collected using visual observations and by conducting verbal interviews with the farmers on-site. In total, these 10 technology areas were surveyed with a series of 190 questions. To improve data quality and increase the variety of technologies used, we visited between 10 and 19 farmers across at least three farming regions within each country.
In total, 86 farms were visited and 81 interviews were conducted between January to May 2019. After reviewing the data, the results show that there are highly diverse production systems and conditions between countries and national regions. Though some questions were not asked and other questions went unanswered, though these only formed a minority of the cases. Entrepreneurs can use the report to guide their developed of innovative solutions to address the needs and challenges that shrimp farmers currently face .
As a disclaimer, this report does not cover every technological aspect of shrimp grow-out farms and is merely a first-hand insight into the most common forms of technology used by L. vannamei shrimp farmers. Furthermore, while we highlight the differences in technology use across the six countries, only data from farms that we believed to be representative of the most advanced or the most productive in each country are discussed. Hence, this report does not reflect the average situation in each region.
Please note that some of the techniques used in different regions are partially pertinent (and suitable) to the local in-situ conditions and readers should be aware of this when making their own assessments.
The following table gives a brief overview of the general profiles for farms we interviewed in each country. This regional data should be taken into account when reviewing the technology areas in the report
|www.shrimpfarm.tech by HATCH||Indonesia||India||Ecuador||Thailand||Vietnam||China|
|Number of farmer interviews||16||15||12||11||15||12|
|Number of included farm regions||5||3||4||5||3||3|
Post - larvae/m2
|130 (90:200)||40 (20:60)||20 (10:35)||70 (30:120)||220 (80:1200)||300 (75:750)|
|Post - larvae at initial stocking
Days per cycle
|75 to 120||104 to 155||80 to 110||60 to 120||90 to 105||80 to 110|
|20 to 80||25 to 60||30 to 65||30 to 150||25 to 80||40 to 100|
|Cycles per year
|2 to 3||1 to 2||3 to 4||2 to 3||2 to 3||2 to 3|
|Production phases per crop cycle
|1||1 to 2||1, 2 or 3||1 to 2||1||1|
|23 (14 to 35)||4 (2.8 to 7)||1.6 (1.3 to 2)||15 (2.8 to 25)||22 (2.5 to 83)||20 (3.7 to 30)|
|FCR||± 1.26||± 1.39||± 1.21||± 1.34||± 1.15||± 1.29|
The level of farming intensity ranges between countries, with China and Vietnam operating often super-intensively at an average of 220 and 300 shrimp per meter squared while Thailand and Indonesian farmers farm intensively with an average of 70 to 130 shrimp per meter squared. At lower densities, Indian farmers are regulated by law (Coastal Aquaculture Authority) to only stock up to 60 shrimp per meter squared and Ecuadorian farmers farm extensively stocking their ponds at even lower densities at around 20 shrimp per square meter.
Most farmers across the six countries receive post-larvae from hatcheries at stages between PL 9 to PL12 (days post larvae stage) and will stock these directly into grow-out ponds. Though some whom use nurseries will culture these post larvae in separate tanks or smaller ponds until the reach around PL22-PL30. Thereafter they will then stock the grow-out ponds to culture the shrimp until they reach market size.
The production cycle periods and harvested count sizes vary a lot between farmers and countries and will depend on shrimp market prices, climate, growth rates, survival, health status and farmer production strategies. These factors, among other technological factors, will also predict the number of production cycles farmers will do within a year. Typically farmers in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China will produce about 2.5 crops per year while farmers in India only 1 to 2 crops per year. Many Ecuadorian farmers who use nursery phases are able to achieve up to 3 and 4 crops per cycle due to overlapping stocking of nursery ponds and grow-out ponds.
Almost all farms in Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and China reported to achieve an average of around 15 to 20+ tonnes per hectare per crop depending on stocking densities, survival rates and sizes at which shrimp were harvested. In Ecuador and India where shrimp are stocked at much lower densities, farmers only attain around 1.6 and 4 tonnes per hectare per crop.
Survival rates also range between counties however most farmers in Indonesia, Thailand, India and Vietnam attain rates of 70% and upwards while China averages around 60% and Ecuador around 50%. It is important to note, that the shrimp industry in Ecuador apply a different concept to Asian farmers by focusing on animal resistance to pathogens. Broodstock in breeding programs is exposed to different environmental conditions where different pathogens are present in order to develop resistance against diseases under those conditions. This lowers the need for biosecurity and controlling mechanisms of environmental factors such as temperature or pH.
A general characteristic of the shrimp industry is the high variability of performance indicators across similar farms and farming system. It is not uncommon that two farms which are located in the same area, apply the same farming model and farm the same species could have widely different performance. Some of that variability can be attributed to non-controllable factors such as the water quality of incoming water or soil quality, while a large portion depends on the difference in controllable factors such as farm management, selection of inputs and technology usage.