A couple years ago, Eric Parks developed a hatchery for baitfish. This is one of the most exciting technological breakthroughs to hit our industry in 50 years. As a result, we built a hatchery which was “officially” completed in the spring of 2003.
The hatchery provides several advantages over the previous method of pond spawning.
1) Labor Reduction– In today’s competitive business world it is of the utmost importance to be as efficient as possible. With the hatchery we are able to get the job done with a smaller labor force.
2) Water Usage- The hatchery has enabled us to use far less ground water than was necessary in the past. This tool conserves a valuable natural resource; as well as, lowering our costs.
3) Weather Concerns– The hatchery has limited the effects of mother nature on our spawning operation. In the past, a cold April night could have disastrous effects on a nursery pond. Although it can still be an inconvenience, it is now much more manageable.
4) Consistent Inventory- The hatchery has allowed us to have a better inventory control. In the past, much of this was left to guessing and hoping. Now, we can be much more confident in our crop and be better managers of our farm.
5) Production- The hatchery has given us several tools to increase production. In order for us to survive in the baitfish industry, we feel it is imperative to intensively manage our acreage. The hatchery is yet another tool in maximizing our yields.
The hatchery comes with its own set of problems and challenges, but we are very excited and encouraged by the benefits it has provided to us. We would like to thank Eric Parks and Danny Pool for allowing us to pattern our hatchery off of their ideas.