Steering committee member of ASOCAM and producer - Ecuador
As a steering committee member of ASOCAM, a shrimp farming association located in Huaquillas, Ecuador, and a farmer himself of more than 21 years, Wilson Gómez knows first hand the challenges shrimp producers face.
From maximizing feed efficiency to boosting production yields, Gómez is always on the lookout for new technology to improve operations at his 11 hectare farm and amongst the association’s members.
Although market prices for many human food sectors have increased in recent years, the farm gate value for shrimp has been steadily declining.
Making matters worse, the price of shrimp feed, which accounts for between 50-70% of production costs, has been steadily increasing.
To offset rising costs, Mr. Gómez needed a reliable way to understand his feed performance to improve conversion ratios through more efficient management decisions.
After attending a series of XpertSea product demonstrations, he learned about a new, digital way to assess shrimp growth and his interest in data-driven farming was piqued.
XpertSea’s AI-powered app allows farmers to leverage highly accurate production insights by simply snapping a few pictures of their shrimp.
The app simplifies shrimp farming operations and helps farmers make better decisions about stocking, feeding, and harvesting. The imaging technology is mainly used to,
Generate faster and more accurate sampling data than a weight scale.
Get better visibility over the pond composition to optimize feeding regimes.
Get a more precise understanding of the commercial sizes to prepare for harvest.
At the start of every week, Mr. Gómez monitors his ponds using the XpertSea app to have an accurate and clear understanding of his shrimp’s growth.
Using technology to focus on subtle changes in growth, Mr. Gómez gains new insights into his production and can focus on weight categories lagging.
"Detailed growth data has positively improved our feeding methods. For example, before using the app, I was giving two feeding doses. Now, I better understand the way my shrimps grow, and I decided to give three feeding doses to correct consumption. It has improved our growth as well as our production time."
By having detailed visibility over his shrimp's weight distribution, he could adapt his feeding regimes to feed them with the right pellet size, just the right amount, resulting in shorter production cycles.
"Normally, I harvest shrimp between 18 and 20 grams every 60 days. After using the app, I have saved as many as 10 to 15 production days. It means I save around 225 feeding bags per cycle and additional products like vitamins, probiotics, and organic acids because I know how much more time the shrimp need to reach the target weight and uniform size."
Decreasing his feed consumption and production time yielded $511 in feed savings per acre, which sums up to $3000 per acre annually or USD 30,000 for his farm.
Additionally, Mr. Gómez leverages the size predictions available through the app to better plan harvests and know what he will have available for sale.
"This information is crucial for any farmer if he wants to get better prices at harvest," said Gómez.
The implementation of digital tools has played an integral part in improving management practices and taking decisive corrective actions on Mr. Gómez's farm. The data collected through the app has helped combat rising production costs by reducing feed expenses and improving pond profitability.
"I think it's a necessary and indispensable tool, and I believe that all producers should use XpertSea's technology."