2012 Estimated Acres Producers Estimated Production Units Estimated Farm Value Farm Crawfish 182,167 1,251 90,973,725 Lbs.

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3 2012 Estimated Acres Producers Estimated Production Units Estimated Farm Value Farm Crawfish 182,167 1,251 90,973,725 Lbs. $152,835,858

4 Crawfish Biology Life Cycles evolved in nature, adapted to farming cycle Burrows & Burrow Ecology evolved for refuge/survival/reproduction Population Dynamics reproduction/growth/survival Molting the growth process Nutrition food sources and the food web in crawfish ponds

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7 Both species are adapted to conditions commercial crawfish ponds. Both respond well to low input production system used in Louisiana. Abundance of one species or the other may vary among and within culture ponds over time. Red swamp crawfish most often dominates and is the most desired in the marketplace. No major difference in growth rate and survival has been observed under typical culture conditions. Later pond flooding (late October through November) may favor the white river crawfish because of its tendency to spawn later and its slightly larger hatchlings.

8 Life Cycle of Crawfish (Procambarus sp.) Most individuals live < 2 years Adults Form I Sexual maturity (3-6 months, 6-11 cm) molts Juvenile Form II Mating Young crawfish Stocked Adults Form I Burrow

9 Burrows Crawfish (RSC & WRC) of all ages and sizes, mature or immature and male or female, will dig or retreat to burrows. In the spring, most mature crawfish burrow near the waterline. Crawfish ponds are usually drained during the summer months to allow for planting and growth of vegetation. As the water level drops, additional crawfish burrows appear lower on the levee and sometimes on the pond bottom. Burrows on the pond floor often contain non-reproductive crawfish, such as males and immature juveniles.

10 Water levels in burrows vary with soil moisture conditions. Free water at the bottom of the burrow is more often trapped water than the actual water table of the soil. Walls and terminal chambers are extensively worked by the crawfish, possibly to ensure good seals. The entrance of the burrow is eventually closed with a mud plug, sometimes with a chimney or stack of the soil removed during excavation. Burrows usually contain a single female, or sometimes a male and female together, and occasionally additional crawfish.

11 Survival and reproduction depend on factors such as severity and length of dry periods, burrow depth, soil type and moisture and health of the animal. Soil types with limited clay content or soil with very high clay content that cracks when dry also may limit crawfish survival while in burrows.

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13 Number of Animals Population Structure Recruitment Patterns Size Frequency - Winter Crawfish Length (in mm) Significant rainfall events, October through December 3 in.

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15 Permanent Pond Scenario full flood X rice growth YOY and adult harvest J A S O N D J F M A M J Can manage for maximum crawfish production without concerns such as pesticide exposure, seasonal limitations and other constraints associated with crop rotation. Disadvantages: (1) need to construct dedicated ponds (2) land, overhead and operating costs must be amortized over one crop only and (3) crawfish overcrowding frequently occurs after several annual cycles, particularly in smaller ponds; therefore, yields become composed of small (stunted), low priced crawfish that are difficult to market.

16 Forage Management Under Rotational Cropping Systems Planting and Harvest Date Dictates amount of regrowth and growth stage at 1 st frost Water Management Critical! (Don t worry about flushing out crawfish) Fertilizer At least some N is usually required Pest Management Armyworms are the main concern

17 Early September August Planting June Planting Mid October Mid April

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19 LOCATION flat, open areas with all-weather access (but limited and controllable). Soils should have sufficient amounts of clay to hold water and to maintain the integrity of crawfish burrows: clay loams, sandy clay loam and silty clay loams are satisfactory. Generally, soils that can be rolled into a ball. Adequate water sources should be accessible and economical. Sufficient elevation so the pond bottom remains above water levels in surrounding ditches and canals. Between producing agronomic fields, or downwind from a field where aerial application of an insecticide is planned is not prudent.

20 Water Sources Surface Water: Well Water:

21 Surface Water The Good: Cheaper to Pump The Bad: Unreliable? Wild Fish The Ugly: Pesticides? Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia

22 Well Water The Good: No Fish! The Bad: Limited Capacity Higher Pumping Costs NO OXYGEN Iron? Hydrogen Sulfide?

23 HOW MUCH Oxygen is ENOUGH? At 2 ppm, crawfish stop feeding Below 1 ppm, newly-hatched juveniles and molting crawfish will die

24 Maximizing Oxygen in Crawfish Ponds Forage Quality

25 HOW MUCH WATER is enough? gpm was historical recommendation: 7 to 9 exchanges per year! 10 to 16 feet of water per year! Approaches to reduce requirements: Flooding date Flooding strategy Water management Nowadays, more like 2.5 to 3 feet of water per year

26 Maximizing Oxygen in Crawfish Ponds Flooding Strategies: flood to a level you can manage 8 to 10 partially drain sour water to depth of 4 re-flood with new water to dilute repeat as needed Water Re-use & Recirculation: A 5-hp paddlewheel aerator can move 6000 gpm

27 % of Annual Harvest Monocropping Ponds Rotational Ponds Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul

28 Highest Cost in Producing Crawfish Bait ~ 33-40% Labor ~ 21%

29 12 to 15 traps per acre with square mesh traps with lbs/ac 18 to 22 traps per acre with square mesh traps with 1,000 lbs/ac +

30 What is the best Bait for Crawfish? Fish? Manufactured or Artificial?

31 Crawfish Catch (lb/trap/day) < 70 F > 70 F FORMULATED SHAD 0 JAN FEB MAR APR MAY

32 3 to 4 Days Per Week Trapping is More Profitable Than 5 to 6 days Per Week

33 ???

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