A successful catfish farm takes time and careful planning to develop. If you are a good farm manager and would like the challenge of learning an entirely new kind of agriculture, catfish farming may be for you. It is similar to any type of feedlot operation, such as cattle, swine or poultry, in that you must provide a complete feed and avoid any unnecessary stress of the animals. There is one important difference between catfish farming and other feedlot operations. Catfish live in a water environment that is not only their source of oxygen, but also their waste dumping ground. Because of this problem, intensive commercial catfish farming requires that many hours be spent checking water quality, especially at night.
The most valuable advice contained in this publication is to start small and learn as your farm grows. Small for one person might be 1 acre and 100 acres for another person. The important factor is that you do not assume more risk than your personal or farm economic situation can stand. Likewise stock your ponds lightly the first year to allow a greater safety margin until you have some experience in monitoring oxygen levels and aerating ponds. Three thousand fish per surface acre is a good first year stocking rate for levee ponds.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Oklahoma State University.