Cota Farms' Blog

November 6, 2013

Micro Trout Farm (2)

Once we secured the water source we had to determine how much water we had, the flow rate.  For large scale commercial trout facilities the flow rate is very large, even thousands of gallons per minute.  There are few places in America where that much clean, cold water is available for private use.

Many of us however can have access to smaller volumes of water, perhaps enough to produce fish in sufficient quantities for it to be self-supporting.  A simplified analysis may look like this:  $150 per month for electric to pump water and air; $100 per month for feed; $400 per month replacement stock.  This simplified analysis assumes a up and running project and does not account for any capital investment like the cost of the well and raceway.

So $650 is the monthly cost to produce 400 fish for market.  Another assumption is that the project has been running long enough to produce a marketable item, a 1.5 pound fish.  If we sell 400 fish each month for $7.50 per pound then we net $3850 per month.  More than enough to service any capital investment with some pocket change left over.  OK let’s say my figures are suspect even though they are not that bad and we double our input costs to $1300 per month, still not too bad.  At any rate, it seems to be self-supporting.

This project has brought together all my favorite sciences and opens up a lot of potential new avenues for any other agricultural engineering fans out there.  A few came out to see my prototype; its already had an important modification and is growing trout.  You will notice I am using a variation of the common raceway and tank culture systems.  Both methods have advantages so why not bring them together.  I am also experimenting with different off the shelf tank designs that are readily available for far less than those tanks sold specifically for aquaculture.  Oct27 011

Advertisements

May 16, 2013

Everything All The Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cota Farms @ 9:34 pm
Tags: , , ,

I remember when I first noticed those words while listening to an Eagle’s song, “…everything all the time…”.  Since then they have grown in meaning to me.  So much of the wisdom in the world that floats around goes unnoticed and not understood until you are ready to checkout.  Seems cruel, it doesn’t really do you much good at that point.  Although it is true that many of us don’t ever really get it.

Lately the meaning has for me begun to address more than just a danger for individuals but our whole culture, our society.  Our economy requires ever increasing consumption which means ever increasing production of whatever those in marketing can get us to purchase.  This makes for a disposable economy.  Nothing is ever meant to satisfy or serve a purpose for longer than it takes to make the next item.

Thrift stores are full of clothing and just stuff that is newer than most of what I own.  Sometimes when I shop in these stores I am shocked at what I find there, is it a mistake, how can it be?  Someone just bought this, by my time frame  and could find no other use for it than to give it away.  Did they decide to do without or simply buy the newer version?

What has really forced these notions into my mind, made me write this down, is business, or rather my attempt at making our business work.  There is so much of everything out there, at least in this country, that it hardly makes any sense to start a business for any product or service.  If you live in a good size city you will find anything you want offered by a number of businesses.

There are more houses than there are people to live in them or people to buy them.  If you bought a house a couple years ago it now makes sense economically to walk away from it and buy a better one for less money.  If this were not true there would not be so many rules in place to keep people from doing just this even though many do.

Of course part of the problem is this negative feedback effect of ever increasing consumption.  The companies want to make more money so they have to sell more products and to sell more products you have to lower the price so more people can buy it.  To do this you must lower the cost of production which means in many cases lowering the cost of labor which means in many cases deceasing wages and the number of employees.  Some of the now unemployed workers start new companies further increasing the supply of products or services in the market place.

OK, enough whining, so what to do.  Well for us that means leaving behind these notions of building a small business so that we can make enough money to be financially secure, ain’t gonna happen. Don’t get me wrong, people do start small businesses and build empires, and they win millions in the lottery too.  Young men do play professional sports and become rich and famous and people are miraculously cured from cancer.  So that’s ten people.  And another ten are just lucky.  That leaves…several others.

Being a farmer I naturally thought well hey people will always eat; can’t have too much food after all people are starving in Africa or some place.  Boy was that wrong.  Here in America you can buy 2000 calories for $2, not considering the quality of the calories.  The best farmer’s markets have waiting lists to get in, as a vendor.  Last year I saw local, fresh, heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market for less money than the insipid things that pass for tomatoes at the grocery store!  What does that mean?  Strawberries in February for less than the cost of bottled water!

But all is not lost.  I think that farming will eventually become a very serious and important occupation.  Well, it is already serious and important, just not respected because food doesn’t come from farms, it comes from grocery stores.  Not being sure of anything else, I am certain that things cannot continue on as they are now and food will once again come from farms.

Blog at WordPress.com.