New Cargill program helps shrimp farmers fight EMS

Published on
August 7, 2015

Animal nutrition company Cargill has developed a new program it says will help shrimp farmers manage Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) risk and improve profitability.

The program, which the company has dubbed SmartShield, has been branded by Cargill as “a holistic approach” to shrimp aquaculture, one that combines “specialized feed and technical services proven to combat the disease and increase production by an average of 30 percent.”

Three major components make up the SmartShield program, outlined by Cargill as follows:

  1. On-Farm risk assessment uses a specialized tool that provides customized reports including specific biosecurity and farm management recommendations to reduce disease risk.
  2. Targeted feed solutions with advanced nutrition including a functional additives package delivered through a complete feeding program that improves growth performance and boosts the shrimp immunity to increase survival.
  3. Specialized technical support package includes on-site performance evaluation tools and rapid diagnostics in water quality and disease resulting in early detection and preventative recommendations saving time and money.

The program comes from two years of research conducted at Cargill’s Global Animal Nutrition Innovation Center in Elk River, Minn. It became apparent after those years of study that a holistic approach to combating disease on shrimp farms was a necessity, explained Ryan Lane, global aquaculture technology director.

"Disease is one of the major causes of low farm productivity and loss of revenue," said Lane. "Our experience has shown us that targeting only one aspect of production is not enough. A holistic approach – improved biosecurity, a specialized feeding program and customized technical services for ongoing disease prevention and management – is best for effectively reducing disease outbreaks on the farm."

"One of the key learnings from our research is that not all additive combinations are equally effective, and some even have negative effects," added Daniel Barziza, Cargill's global aquaculture research and development director. "We validated our additive choices using disease challenge models and growth trials."

SmartShield trials in Mexico revealed that the program can provide shrimp farmers: an average of 59 percent higher production yield; an average of 20 percent improvement in Feed Conversion Rate (FCR); and up to USD 3,850 per hectare return on investment.

"This program is a huge step forward in our journey to help mitigate the devastating effects of EMS on the industry," said Mario Chong, business development manager for Cargill's aquaculture business in Central America in a release. "We have listened to our customers and reacted with a strong, research-based solution to combat this devastating disease."

The program takes into account R&D, scientific studies and field trials as well as feedback and learnings gathered by Cargill from EMS-affected nations.

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