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Don’s Prawns found the right cocktail for shrimp production

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Every farmer knows those crucial moments when factors beyond their control shape profits or losses for the coming year, and the stress they can bring.For Don Maloney of Fairfield County, those moments are consistent from late May through around mid September while he is growing freshwater prawns (or shrimp) unseen underwater at the bottom of three ponds on his farm.“If you want to invest in antacid between June and September do this. Antacid is my dessert after every meal that time of year. I’ve heard the stories about how you invest all this money and drain the pond and nothing alive comes out,” Maloney said. “There can be devastating losses with this. I like to gamble and this is definitely gambling.”Don’s Prawns got its start when Maloney and his family moved from Michigan to Ohio for his work and bought a 40-acre farm in 1997. On his drives to and from work, Maloney listened to talk radio and around 2001 he learned about freshwater prawns.“I’d work to late afternoon and early evening and listened to NPR radio on my drives. They had a talk radio show in the evenings with an agricultural show on Wednesdays. ODNR announced that they would allow freshwater prawns in Ohio for a couple of reasons. They need brackish water to procreate and they die at temperatures below 55 degrees so it can’t be an invasive species in Ohio. At 65 degrees they stop growing. It is a tropical species,” Maloney said. “That radio show planted the seed. A couple of times a year after that I would go to the Ohio Aquaculture Association website and research things a little bit. Then in 2008 or 2009, I was having a bad day at work and I went to the Extension office and asked what I could do with this kind of acreage. I was told I couldn’t really do a commodity, but I could do fruit or maybe aquaculture. Then it snapped into my brain about the freshwater prawn.”Soon after, a pipeline came through the Maloney property, which provided some startup capital and he built his first prawn pond.“We put in a small pond at first to make mistakes on a small scale. I got the Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District involved right away. The contractor and I designed what we thought would work and SWCD worked with that right from the start,” Maloney said. “We built the pond from scratch and it cost a lot for what it was. It was around $20,000 for the pond and the pit and everything to get running. We put in other ponds later for less money once we knew what we were doing. For less than half the cost later we put in bigger ponds. We were just learning the first time and did it better after that. What you need is a good spring water supply and the right topography.” In terms of the setup, the pond needs to be at a higher elevation than a nearby concrete pit connected by a drain line from the pond. At harvest time, the water is drained from the pond to the pit and the prawns follow the water flow to the pit where they can more easily be gathered. The pit has screens over drains that allow the water to flow out, but not the prawns.In addition to the pond design, numerous other details needed to be ironed out to get things going.“We had to find out where to get the prawns and where to get feed, and get the equipment to test for dissolved oxygen and pH. There are only three or four places in the U.S. to get the post larvae prawns. There is a place in New London by Lake Erie that distributes them,” MaloneyThe ponds are drained into pits and the prawns follow the water flow through the drains.said. “We have gone through three or four feed vendors and now we get a high protein sinking shrimp feed — it has to sink because the prawns live on the bottom — from Zeigler Feeds in Pennsylvania. We also added aerators later on to maintain the oxygen levels in the water. We have one per pond and we run them at night and shut them off during the day.”According to water temperatures, the young prawns arrive in late May or early June.“They bring the prawns in a big truck in late May early June,” he said. “They are translucent and about size of a small minnow. You can hardly see them in the water. The first year we did around 10,000 post-larvae prawns.”From there, the prawns need consistent and regular feed.“Prawns are territorial and cannibalistic. They also molt and that is when they are most vulnerable,” he said. “You typically expect a 50% yield.”Early on, Maloney saw the need for improving the feeding. He was carrying a 40-pound sack of feed and throwing the feed into the water.“I was manually throwing feed into the pond, which was a lot of labor and it was not distributing the feed consistently so the prawns would have to move to find it and then they would fight or eat each other,” Maloney said. “I needed to get the feed to them so they wouldn’t have to move.”He discussed the problem with a farmer neighbor, Jay Picklesimer, and they ended up designing the “shrimp shooter” — an old leaf blower with a hopper from a lawn fertilizer broadcaster attached to it, mounted on the front of an ATV. The leaf blower shoots out the feed evenly across the pond while Maloney drives the ATV around the perimeter.With a 2014 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant, he tested the shrimp shooter by comparing it to a separate pond fed manually. With the shrimp shooter, the percentage of small prawns decreased from 61% to 35%, the medium sized prawns increased from 25% to 45% and large prawns increased from 14% to 20%. Overall yield increased 17% with the shrimp shooter compared to hand feeding and profits increased significantly because of the increased percentages of larger, higher value prawns.Feeding rates have to be adjusted significantly from the beginning of the season to the end and too much feed leads to algal blooms in the ponds that can deplete the oxygen in the water and clog up the drainage system.“We factor in 20% loss of prawns and we calculate how many pounds we are going to get and we know it is a 3:1 feed ratio. We figure out how much feed we need for the season. We throw out a casting net occasionally to catch a few to see how they are doing but we mostly have to assume how much feed we need,” Maloney said. “We guess how much we’ll need and feed based upon their assumed growth rate through the season. We feed every day. At the beginning of the season, though we only feed five pounds per acre pond. By the end we are feeding 48 pounds per acre pond.”Most of the increase in prawn size occurs right before the harvest.“It is around 110 days from when we put them in the pond until the harvest. The vast majority of the growth is in the last three four weeks of the season. You want to get them as large as possible before the water temp drops to 55 degrees because that water temperature kills them. At around 65 degrees their metabolism drops and they don’t grow much. In a year like this that was cool, we get smaller prawns. They grow more when it is warmer. We have never had it get too hot,” Maloney said. “We place our orders for them in January and we want them in the pond as quickly as possible in the spring once the water is warm enough — 70 degrees or higher. It is a dance, there is no question about it.”Acidic pH, low oxygen, low temperatures, and the introduction of predatory fish (especially bass) can all lead to very unpleasant surprises at harvest. The entire harvest takes place in two weekends — one with a pond-side sale where customers come to the farm to get the shrimp. A crew of around 12 local FFA members is hired to come help as the ponds are drained. The prawns are gathered in nets, put in an aerator tank to clean, put on ice for at least 10 minutes, sorted, packaged and sold. A second harvest is planned before the Fish and Shrimp Festival in Urbana where they sell the prawns in two-pound packages for $12 a pound.“When you drain the ponds, you get 99% of the shrimp in the last 1% of water in the pond,” he said. “You invest a lot and you can make money, but you can also lose a lot of money with this.”After some initial success, Maloney got some Farm Service Agency microloans and expanded Don Prawn’s to the current two one-acre ponds and one half-acre pond of production.“Last spring, 40,000 prawns were put in the ponds and every year harvest is different depending on different factors, but the goal is around 1,000 pounds,” he said. “I can probably produce a lot more prawns than that but I have to be able to sell them. I am only licensed to sell prawns whole on ice. If I want to do anything else I have to get HACCP certified. I’d have to get a commercial freezer and take other steps. I could do this 24-7, 365 if I wanted because the market is out there. I think it could be a full time thing but for now I still work off the farm and this is a great way to have some supplemental income with a fairly modest investment.“It is fun. I like shrimp and I love producing a product that is sustainable. There is a wow factor telling people you raise freshwater shrimp in Ohio. Four to five billion dollars go out of this country every year for buying seafood and most of that is for shrimp. It is a good product and people want local seafood and it is a good way to keep local dollars right here.”For more, visit: donsprawns.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/donsprawns.last_img read more

Yammer Releases New Version of Its iOS App

first_imgIT + Project Management: A Love Affair Enterprise social networking service Yammer today released a new version of its iOS app. The new version adds threaded discussions, private messaging and full Retina Display support. Also, users will now be able to view documents from within the app.Here’s the feature list:Threaded Conversations – Easily follow conversations with replies displayed underneath the original message.Private Messaging – Communicate privately with one or more colleagues.Read/Unread Message Tracking – Identify previously loaded versus newly loaded messages and replies.Full Retina Display Support – Experience enhanced text, images, and more.Multi Feed Access – Quickly navigate between group feeds, company feeds, and @mentions to find relevant conversations.Upgraded In-App Browser – Seamlessly navigate between Yammer and links to external sites.Document Viewing – Instantly access Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, and images appearing in a feed.Yammer plans to release new versions of its mobile app for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile later this year. Each of these platforms already has an app, and a mobile optimized website and SMS integration are also available.Yammer also has a desktop application, or can be used with Seesmic or SharePoint.Yammer competes with many other enterprise microblogging and social networking services. Tags:#enterprise#mobile Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowcenter_img Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… klint finleylast_img read more

Politics not faith drives festivals in Mumbai

first_imgThis Thursday there is no official holiday and still Mumbai will come to a near standstill. No, there is no bandh called by Shiv Sena or Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena.The city will be celebrating Dahi Handi, a festival that cherishes Lord Krishna’s childhood.Over the years, festivals, too, have been hijacked by political parties and Dahi Handi is no exception. Celebrations are on a gigantic scale and the economics, therefore, need much more than voluntary contributions.This is where the political parties come in the picture.But not all political parties celebrate every festival. It all depends on the hue the party has acquired and the community base it enjoys.So Dahi-Handi and Ganesh Festival in Mumbai belong to the Marathi Shiv Sena, Navratri (or daandia raas) is claimed by the Bharatiya Janata Party that is largely supported by the Gujaratis who account for more than 20 per cent of Mumbai’s 1.2 crore population and also hold the cash strings.There was a time when daandia was played mainly at Gujarati strongholds in suburbs such as Goregaon, Malad, Kandivali and Borivali in the west and Ghatkopar, Mulund in the east. It helped the local BJP connect with its voter base.Times have changed and with film stars and Bollywood composers jumping in the fray, the festival is no longer a mere congregation of families and friends.Celebrating Ganesh Festival in a public manner was Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s idea who led the Congress before the Gandhi- Nehru era. The idea was to rouse Indian public against the British.advertisementOver 60 years after independence, the festival is now firmly in the hands of Shiv Sena that used it to fund itself and its activities through contributions, often dubbed as annual extortion by the local traders who prefer to pay the bully rather than catching the bull by its horns.When they do, they pay much more than what they would otherwise pay as contribution.There was a time gutkha barons funded the celebrations, now it’s the builders who eye the redevelopment of old dilapidated buildings and want the residents to give a nod to their proposal.Dahi Handi has been a festival that had no such patronage, not so far. There are several disadvantages – it gets over in hours, unlike daandia and Ganesh Festival that run in nine nights and ten days respectively. Political parties had so far not paid much attention, except that die- hard sainiks saw it as an adventure sport that challenged their lads.Eyebrows were raised, therefore, when Sanjay Nirupam, who was in Shiv Sena in the 90s’, suddenly raised the stakes.He offered a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh to any mandal that would break the dahi handi organised by his mandal.It suddenly caught on as teams across Mumbai vied for the cash prize. Over a decade later, Nirupam has moved and settled in the Congress but the prize money is going up at a breakneck speed.Interestingly, two young NCP leaders Jitendra Avhad and Sachin Ahir are now ace dahi handi organisers and both offer cash prizes of over Rs 75 lakh. Ahir’s dahi-handi , that showcased belly-dancing, attracted controversy last year as NCP’s RR Patil is sternly opposed to dance bars.Similarly, Avhad was accused of not paying the promised prize, a charge he has stoutly refused.If you want to see how religion and politics go hand in hand, visit Mumbai for Dahi Handi on Thursday.Marathi prideShiv Sena and MNS vie with each other to pronounce themselves as the true guardian of Marathi pride. As a result, they often fight for credit over the same issue and the Congress- NCP government remains a mute spectator.Take the issue of Mumbai multiplexes not showing Marathi films.As the state government offered tax holidays to upcoming multiplexes a few years ago, it dictated that they must show Marathi movies. But the multiplex owners claim there is not much audience for Marathi movies and they either hold shows early in the day or not show them at all.MNS was first to act asking the owners to follow the policy in spirit or face the music.Sena followed suit, but as MNS had already attacked a few multiplexes, the party filed a Public Interest Litigation.But no Sena leader turned up for the hearing. Similarly, when Raj Thackeray went to see a Marathi movie, one expected him to sit through the film.But apparently he couldn’t take it beyond a point and left half- way through. So much for the love of Marathi from a man who possesses a huge collection of Western movies’ background tracks.  Wily Pawar can still fox his rivalsadvertisementNCP chief Sharad Pawar may be ailing, but he still has great political acumen. Realising that he was getting a bad name over the rising food prices even as he was getting ready take over as ICC president, he offered to relinquish a few portfolios.Pawar had said that he would give these away before the monsoon session of Parliament.It’s end of August and there is no sign yet.Meanwhile, realising that he was losing grip on the party, he held an extended executive session of the NCP in Mumbai over the weekend.Apart from the usual discourses, he made a couple of interesting observations about the opposition parties and Eknath Khadse in particular. He pointed how the Leader of Opposition (Khadse) made corruption allegations over development proposals in Mumbai and then entered an understanding with them.Khadse raised several issues in the legislature where he alleged that Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had committed several irregularities while granting NOCs to the construction proposals.Even as Pawar defended Chavan, his nephew Ajit Pawar,-a minister in Chavan’s cabinet-described him as selfish though without naming him. He told his audience in Satara that the Ashoka tree was quite selfish and doesn’t even offer shadow to others. ” It grows itself, without letting others grow,” he commented, leaving the audience in raptures.Chavan is not allowing several of the NCP proposals and has kept the administration on a tight leash, much like his father. A peeved Pawar returned the favour in public.The saga will not end here. Quaint plea to save Jinnah’s bungalowWhile the central government claims ownership over the bungalow as per the Enemy Property Act, his daughter Dina Wadia has been claiming right to the property that was also the venue where Mahatma Gandhi and Jinnah discussed the partition of India in 1944.As an act of goodwill to Jinnah, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru did not acquire the property under the Enemy Property Act and even offered rent to him. With Jinnah’s death in September 1948, the issue remained unresolved, only to be resurrected after his daughter staked her claim to the property.It’s not so much her claim to the property, but the basis of the claim that is quite interesting.Her lawyers have cited that Jinnah was not a mainstream Muslim, and that he was a Khoja Shia and therefore the Islamic Sharia does not apply in deciding the issue of inheritance of his property. They state that it is the Hindu law which should be applied.This claim is rather interesting and even amusing, since Jinnah, in his avatar as the leader of the Muslim League, had advocated that the Hindu majority and its representatives in the Indian National Congress will crush the Muslim minority. That was the foundation of his claim for a separate land for Muslims.advertisementAlmost six decades after his death and the birth of Pakistan.Jinnah’s daughter has turned the clocks back.It will be interesting to see how the courts view the argument. It will be some years, but the verdict will make headlines if the courts ruled Hindu law to decide the ownership of the property of the founder of an Islamic republic.last_img read more

UEFA bans Sergio Ramos for additional Champions League game

first_imgPlenty of respect and confidence for Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed MOST READ He will now also miss the first leg of the quarterfinals if Madrid advances from the round of 16.The Spain defender was booked for a foul in the 90th minute of Madrid’s 2-1 win in Amsterdam in the first leg.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThat triggered a one-game ban for the second leg at home, which would have cleaned Ramos’s disciplinary slate for the quarterfinals.Ramos reportedly acknowledged his intentions in a post-game interview, then retracted it in a Twitter post. (FILES) In this file photo taken on January 24, 2019 Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) quarter-final first leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Girona FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. – Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos has been given two-game European ban for deliberate booking, AFP reported on February 28, 2019. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)NYON, Switzerland — Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has been banned for an additional Champions League game for deliberately provoking a yellow card to control the timing of a one-game suspension.UEFA says its disciplinary panel found Ramos guilty of “clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose” against Ajax two weeks ago.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Sherlocks Martin Freeman Wants Wild Animals Banned From Circuses

first_imgWild animals still haven’t been banned from being used in circuses in the UK, but Sherlock star Martin Freeman is on the case.With Parliament due back in session next week, the actor has sent an urgent letter on PETA’s behalf to Prime Minister David Cameron, from one father to another, urging him to do the right thing and bring in a ban on wild animals in circuses. The letter comes after David Cameron’s failure to follow through on his promise to ban wild animals from travelling circuses by January 2015.“As a father, I’d like to see my children grow up in a country where animals are treated with respect, not as objects of ridicule”, writes Freeman, who has two children with Sherlock co-star Amanda Abbington. “Allowing circuses with wild animals to continue to operate in the country sends the message to children that it’s OK to dominate animals and ignore any pain and suffering that they’re experiencing – which, of course, it’s not.”Wild animals in circuses commonly suffer from chronic health problems, abusive treatment, psychological disorders and aberrant behaviour, and many die prematurely. By virtue of the very nature of circuses – which confine animals to cages or boxcars for long periods of time, force them to perform tricks that are uncomfortable and even painful for them and deny them the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour – animal welfare can never be ensured in a circus environment.This legislation has been a long time coming. In 2011, Cameron was instructed by Parliament to get wild animals out of circuses, and despite overwhelming public support for a ban, evidenced by a Defra consultation which saw 94 per cent of respondents, including the British Veterinary Association, backing an end to this archaic form of entertainment, the Prime Minister has so far failed to act.Freeman joins Michael Sheen and Ann Widdecombe in teaming up with PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – to push the government to join Austria, Bolivia, Finland, India, Mexico and many other countries in prohibiting wild-animal circus acts.last_img read more