An integrated farming system is when you combined different farmed produce like fish, crops and livestock in a way that each unit benefits the other. Therefore an integrated fish farming system is the production of fish in combination with livestock and crops with the fish pond as the focus.
The farming subsystem utilizes the waste and byproduct of each system for the benefit of the collective. The system is integrated in such a way that the waste and byproducts become valuable input which ensures total utilization of the system.
Advantages of this type of integrated system are adequate utilization of land and water resources. Others are minimum financial and labor cost including a diversified farm output.
Excreta and waste feed from livestock acts as manure and feed in a properly integrated system. Bottom silt and water from the fish pond is also a rich source of fertilizer for the crop.
A well integrated Fish Farming System
1 Excreta and waste feed from live stock acts as manure for crops
2 Byproduct and waste from crops used as feed for livestock
3 Excreta and waste feed from livestock acts as manure and feed for fish
4 Byproduct of crop used as manure for fish pond
Farming take up lots of landed space and many farmers don’t have the financial means to buy large parcels of land. If they are interested in diversified farming like livestock, crops and fish farming then the simplest solution is the integrated system.
The system saves landed space and provides an interlinking fish-crop-agricultural system. The optimized use of available land space increases the earning power of small scale farmers.
Many countries have adopted this system such as India, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. The system is simple yet highly effective the animals produce organic fertilizer for the pond and agriculture. It also provides crops food for animal and fish nutrient filled fertilizer.
The inter-dependency of each subsystem makes integrated fish farming an interesting format.
Animal waste in integrated farming system
The animal waste is consumed directly by the fish or other invertebrates which the fish consume. The waste is also a source of nutrients used for primary productions.
Other elements of animal waste in integrated farming system are a rich source of organic substrates for heterotrophic micro organisms which are consumed by fish food organisms, fish and invertebrates.
Poultry animal waste
Poultry animal waste is the best manure to use in your integrated fish farming system because it has the best combination of three elements. The three elements found in poultry waste are phosphorous, potassium ad nitrogen.
Even though the elements are found in other livestock like cows, goats and sheep, poultry has the highest concentration.
Multipurpose use of waste
Multipurpose use value and storage of Animal waste in an integrated farming system are important considerations. Animal waste deteriorates fast under high temperature and in time losses its value. There occurs a rapid depiction of nutrients, color and substantial deletion of nitrogen.
Storage of the waste is time dependent, should be stored in a cool place like a pit and covered with tapeline. The quality of the manure is based on type of soil or bedding, urine content and method of storage.
Chicken manure is used both as fuel and fertilizer for plants.
Advantage of using chickens in your integrated farm
Chicken provide lots of advantages in an integrated fish farming system which include egg production and meat. The waste as mentioned before provides food source for the fish and manure for crops.
The size and depth of the pod in relations to the combination ratio either makes or breaks this system. The stocking rate and species of fish introduced in the pond should be hardy and resistant to infections.
The farmer can integrate different species of fish in his pond such as bottom feeders and surface feeders.
Disadvantages of the farming system
Many people a adverse to eating fish produced from this kind of integrated system. The likelihood of contaminants and disease to fish stock is relatively high in integrated fish farming system.
Integrated fish farming system despite its advantages is not ideal for everyone.
Get much more information on integrated fish farming system on this website.fao.org