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Benchmark creates first-feeding calculator for hatcheries

June 1, 2023  By Hatchery International staff


Benchmark Genetics has introduced a new calculator that can estimate the first-feeding window based on daily water temperatures.

This simple spreadsheet-based tool, now available on the website, is based on degrees of maturity, which is more reliable at estimating development at temperatures below 5 C. It is also accompanied with a document that gives best practices and covers relevant tips to succeed in transitioning from the yolk sac stage to external feeding. Factors that can influence the timing of this stage includes maturity, water temperature, oxygen levels, feed quality, yolk sac absorption, and genetic disposition.

“The calculator was created after regular customer inquiries regarding maturation development and when to start external feeding, particularly when incubation temperatures fall below 5 C,” said developer Stein Johannessen, smolt health & documentation manager at Benchmark Genetics. “This window is make-or-break for the fry’s survival, and degrees of maturity are not the only deciding factor for success.”

The calculator tool was an internal collaboration among Benchmark experts with more than 50 years of combined experience in aquaculture. Still, the Benchmark team emphasizes that the calculator is created as a supporting tool and conclusions regarding the first-feeding timing should not be solely based on the estimations provided.


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