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Crawfish Production Manual LOWRES

Crawfish Production Manual LOWRES

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Published by: Jose Angel Alanis Villalon on Apr 21, 2012
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1
 
LOUISIANA CRAWFISH
PRODUCTION MANUAL
 
NOTE: Mention or display of trade names or businesses in thispublication does not constitute endorsement on the part of the LSUAgCenter, nor does it imply that other similar products or servicesare inferior or superior.
Chapter 1. Introduction .......................1
History.........................................1AdditionalSourcesofInformation................3
Chapter 2. Crawsh Biology ....................4
LifeCycles...................................5BurrowEcology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7PopulationDynamics..............................8Molting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Nutrition....................................9
Chapter 3. Crawfish Production Systems ........10
MonocroppingSystems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10CropRotationalSystems.......................12
Chapter 4.
Pond Location, Design and Construction
13
Location.......................................13DesignandConstruction......................13BestManagementPracticesforCrawfishPondConstruction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Chapter 5. Forages and Forage Management. . . . .16
MonocroppingSystems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18RotationalCroppingSystems...................20Post-FloodManagementoftheForageCrop......21
Chapter 6. Stocking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
SpeciesandSize. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Dates......................................22Habitat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Handling. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Rates......................................23SexRatioandConditionofBroodstock...........24Post-stockingRecommendations................25Summary...................................25
Chapter 7. Water Quality and Management. . . . . .26
WaterSupplyandQuantityRequired. . . . . . . . . . . . . 26WaterQuality...............................27ManagementConsiderations...................29BestManagementPractices...................30
Chapter 8. Harvest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
FactorsInfluencingCatchandHarvestSize........33Traps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Baits.......................................34BaitingStrategies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34TrappingStrategies...........................35HarvestingMachinery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Chapter 9. Other Management Considerations ...38
PondFlood-up..............................38PopulationManagement.......................38SupplementalFeeding.........................39ManagingforLargerCrawfish..................40Diseases...................................43Predators..................................44NuisanceWildlife. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45ControlMethods. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46DevelopingYourBusiness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Chapter 10. Markets and Marketing. . . . . . . . . . . . .48
ProductForms...............................48MarketingInfluences..........................49Pricing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50ProductionStrategiesforIdentifiedMarkets.......51RegulationsandPermits.......................51TransportandStorage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51PurgingandCleaning.........................52Grading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Glossary ...................................54Authors, Contributors,Acknowledgments .......57
Table of Contents
 
1
Crawfish Production Manual
Whether from managedponds or wild habitats, Loui-siana’s crawfish harvests arecomposed of two species – thered swamp crawfish (scientificname:
Procambarus clarkii
)and to a lesser extent the whiteriver crawfish (scientific name:
Procambarus zonangulus
) (Fig-ure 1.1). Although scientists inother parts of the world use theterm “crayfish” for these and allrelated species, in this manualwe refer to these two speciesas “crawfish” to reflect not justtheir common names, but alsothe widespread use of the wordby producers, marketers andconsumers in Louisiana and else-where in the United States.Louisiana’s crawfish farming industry has grown to includemore than 1,200 farms occupying more than 120,000 acres.Production from wild habitats, mainly the Atchafalaya Riverbasin, varies from year to year. Total production for the 2004-2005 season was more than 82 million pounds, with almost 74million pounds from farms and more than 8 million pounds har-vested from natural habitats by approximately 1,100 fishermen.The farm-gate and dockside value of the 2004-2005 harvestexceeded $45 million.Crawfish ponds have no standard size, but most arebetween 10 and 40 acres, and most producers manage 150or fewer acres (Figure 1.2). Occasionally, a single pond mayinclude more than 1,000 acres, especially in bottomland areaswhere water levels are manipulated in natural habitats for craw-fish production (Figure 1.3).Formulated feeds are not used to produce crawfish. Instead,rice, sorghum-sudangrass or natural vegetation is grown inthe summer (when ponds are drained) to serve as the base of anatural food chain for crawfish. Crawfish ponds are not stockedwith hatchery-reared young as in other forms of aquaculture.Farmers rely on reproduction by unharvested crawfish from theprevious year or on mature crawfish that are stocked to produceyoung naturally.Educational and technical assistance in all aspects of crawfish production and marketing is provided by the LSUAgCenter through the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Servicein every parish. Help is available through individual consulta-tion, on-farm visits, production meetings and publications(Figure 1.4). Anyone considering going into crawfish farmingshould review current financial budgets available from the LSUAgCenter and discuss the feasibility of their projects or busi-ness plans with an extension professional who can identify thebest available data for making decisions as to how to proceed.Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service agents and specialistsare the best source of information on the feasibility of farmingcrawfish in your area.
History
Crawfish havebeen consumed forcenturies by Ameri-can Indians and inmany parts of Europe.Commercial sales of crawfish in Louisianabegan in the late 1800s.At that time, crawfishwere harvested fromnatural waters through-out the southern regionof the state. The firstrecord of a commercialcrawfish harvest inthe United States wasin 1880. That year,a harvest of 23,400pounds was recorded,with a value of $2,140.By 1908, a U.S. Census
Figure 1.1. Although theyare outwardly similar atfirst glance, a number of characteristics distinguish thered swamp (left) and whiteriver crawfish (right).Figure 1.3. In some parts of Louisiana, semi-natural habitats areimpounded to allow for crawfish production through control of natural hydrological cycles.Figure 1.2. Although there is no “standard” crawfish pond, a successfulpond must be built on flat land that will hold water and support aforage crop for the crawfish.
Profitability Varies
The profitability of crawfishfarming changes from year toyear because of the variablesupply of wild and farm-raised crawfish, and resultingfluctuations in wholesale andretail prices. As a result of theunpredictable yields from pondto pond and year to year, fewpeople make their living onlyfrom farming crawfish. Overallproduction on a crawfish farmdepends greatly on whether thecrawfish are grown in rotationwith rice or in permanentcrawfish ponds and on the sizeand management level of thoseponds. Breakeven prices varygreatly from farm to farm and indifferent regions of the state.
Chapter 1. Introduction

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