How “natural” should our feed be?
This past year has taught me a lot, some pleasant, and some downright shocking. I continue to weep as I see soulless apes rampage each other for a few numbers in some computer. Here, where Melamine can be fed to babies, the concept of keeping your customers alive just doesn’t float any boats. Cheating is expected in every venue. You think a four star restaurant means they use good oil from the supermarket? Well you take your chance and maybe you are right. Lower classed restaurants; well it is almost guaranteed they will be using the cheaper stuff; only recycled a few times if you are lucky. I mention this because you wouldn’t believe the expressions on their faces when I told them I want to deliberately grow my raw materials instead of simply using their tried and true formulas. They scoffed right in my face until I told them I could open a new market for them in the western worlds…provided 1. I am convinced it is clean and 2. Raw materials are from a sustainable source.
In my operation and those I manage, I strictly ensure to the best of my ability that every creature is fed as natural a diet as possible and substitute as little as possible.
At present, I am working with a feed manufacture in the process of designing a natural feed using sustainable methods to produce the raw materials using hydro-organics or AP.
So far we have tried many formulas and several look promising (from my perspective). Duckweed is the top contender at present with purslane (chickweed) coming in a close second. We have grown Duckweed with black water; Duckweed grown with Aquaculture effluent; Duckweed grown with organic leachet and Duckweed grown with gray water.
Next year we will ad small scale entomologic experiments and monitor them as well as a few 50 gal tanks to raise mosquito fish, guppies and another feeder stock. Any suggestions?
So my questions to you, my prospect customers are:
Do you have any concerns about the way I am producing the raw materials?
What would you like to see in the ingredients list?
What price range can you afford?
What problems can you see on the horizon?
What haven’t I addressed?
Hypothetically what I am thinking is this: I think we might look at producing/ using feed in a new way. Traditional feed usually goes rancid before it is used up, especially in smaller operations due to oxidation.
I think it might be possible to produce the bulk of the feed using a combination of dried raw materials leaving out the oils and moisture to be applied before feeding, kind of like Gravy Train Dog food.
So what I am talking about is simply spraying on a custom mixed formula. It would come in a concentrate and you mix with the appropriate amount of water, emulsify and spray on your feed. This would be easy for the small operator feeding a few pounds of feed. A larger operation feeding fifty pound bags at a time might buy an old cement mixer to "wet down" the feed, say half an hour before feeding time.
As for the kit: I am expecting it to cost around five to ten thousand US Dollars for the simple, lower volume, floating pellet mills. (I’ll have a more solid price in the next week or so). It took me about two hours ever week to mix and mill a weeks worth of pellets (around a hundred pounds) using powdered ingredients.
At this stage, I plan to grow algae and duckweed from Aquaculture effluent for the bulk with the addition of dried organic vegetable, grubs and worms plus vitamins and mineral supplements. No grains will be used. All of my seeds are open pollinated and as far as I know, not GM. I would not deliberately grow anything GM so no worries.
On a side note, I am also trying to secure “ old family” grain farms that still save seeds to grow, in other words true “Heirloom” stock; not genetically modified. I currently have one farm that I will work with. I have ordered his entire stock for next harvest. This family has a recorded history of growing the same rice in the same fields for over two hundred years but is on the verge of bankruptcy because he is not big enough to get certified. I am betting on my marketing skills to increase the margin so we can both survive and propagate sustainable farming. Since people here are not that sophisticated yet and don’t know/ care about GM foods, my marketing concept is to sell “ new rice”, fresh from the hull. New (this years) organic rice (not certified), direct from my farm and husked right in front of you as a free service (showmanship).
Thank you! I don’t seem to be able to log on at this time but will try again next weekend. Again. Thanks.
Yes those are my main ingredients as well. My only question is; how much sunlight (jewels) does it require to produce one pound of fish. What comes out, must first go in.
Cheers Folks! I’m off to visit my farm. See you all next weekend.