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Computer software helps commercial fish production
By Chantel Lott
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Computer software can ease the burden of paperwork in fish farming, and the latest release of Fishy 2001 will continue to help farmers make the most of their ponds.
On April 1, Fishy 2001 a microcomputer program developed at Mississippi State University will be available for fish farmers. Fishy records, analyzes and makes reports for fish farmers to keep track of fish numbers, feedings, weights and sizes.
"Since farmers generally cannot see their fish, they need Fishy 2001 to track fish growth over time, as well as keep records of feed fed, fish harvested, fish lost and fish moved," said Wallace Killcreas, Fishy programmer and agricultural economist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
Fishy maintains two types of information -- historical and simulated -- and supports these with pre-programmed background data. Historical information is entered directly into the program, such as feed provided, fingerlings stocked, fish moved and observed mortality. Simulated data deals with future aspects, such as harvest schedules, feed needs and potential fish production. Background data includes feed conversion ratios, feeding calendars and estimated monthly mortality and comes with the program.
Farmers can change the background data to better reflect their ponds' characteristics.
Catfish farmers carefully keep track of fish weights until harvest, and some continue to track through processing. Fishy 2001 allows more in-depth reports to aid farmers in tracking discrepancies between pond bank fish weight and the weight of the fish actually sold to processors. This discrepancy can be caused by such things as the fish being too small, too large or of the wrong species.
"Catfish farmers appreciate computer software such as Fishy because it organizes critical information needed to efficiently manage their ponds. Although it was originally designed for catfish, Fishy also can be used to manage trout, tilapia, hybrid striped bass and other fish," Wallace said.
Originally designed in 1981 as a DOS program, Fishy is now a Windows-compatible program. In addition to being more user-friendly, another advantage of Windows programs is the flexibility of printers. The program has pull-down menus and looks like other Windows programs. This reduces the time needed to familiarize users with the program.
"Some skills for Windows programs are very helpful and speeds the process of integrating this new version into the farm's activities, but if someone is not familiar with Windows, they can learn to work with the program fairly easily. The Windows version is also much more aesthetically appealing than the old DOS version," said Keith King, chief financial officer of Dillard and Co. Inc., in Leland. King is testing an early version of Fishy 2001 for the university.
Fishy software...3 "We had the new version installed and transferred all the existing DOS data in less than 30 minutes," King said. "The new reports can present more specialized information from our farm. It has sort and query functions that allow me to search for specific information about our ponds. I cannot manually keep the records I need without Fishy, not even with a spreadsheet program, in the same amount of time."
The new version of Fishy is free and available beginning April 1 on CD or it can be downloaded online at http://www.agecon.msstate.edu/wek/fishy.htm.
Contact: Dr. Wallace Killcreas, (662) 325-2672