‘Sleeping better’ in Ecuador with iQuatic™
Data Insights improve Fuzu’s Decision-Making and Work-Life Balance
September 13, 2019
A healthy and popular protein source worldwide, shrimp has been farm-raised widely for several decades. With shrimp production worldwide estimated1 to reach approximately 5 million metric tons by 2020, informed and responsible shrimp farming is critical to addressing sustainability concerns long-term while also managing inherent and ongoing weather and disease risks today.
Fuzu, a 245 hectare, or 600+-acre, shrimp farm located in Monteverde, Ecuador (90 miles west of Guayaquil) lives this challenge. Fuzu is the Fuentes Zuñiga family’s business. Since it was founded in 1988, Fuzu has been seeking new ways to combat challenges and improve performance in terms of both growth and survival of the shrimp. Cargill Animal Nutrition’s iQuatic™, Cargill’s digital platform for aquaculture, is helping José Alberto Fuentes Zuñiga, administrator for the Fuentes Zuñiga family business, do just that. It’s even helping him “sleep better these days” despite the recent arrival of a new baby in his young household.
José Alberto is resting easier after he started using IQuatic’s iQShrimp predictive software to get real-time, accurate visibility into his farm’s performance. “Thanks to iQuatic, I found out the failure was due to larvae quality rather than feed,” he shared. As often is the case in shrimp farming, José Alberto and the Fuzu team had assumed feed quality was responsible for the poor performance. Through iQuatic, they learned not only was there no direct correlation between the feed quality and performance, but that poor-quality larvae stock was the likely culprit. Armed with this new insight, José Alberto was able to select better larvae and larvae stocking dates. He also reverted to Cargill’s Aquaxcel™ feed, a product he had swapped out earlier in an attempt to solve the problem before he understood the cause.
Sra. Lola Zuñiga de Fuentes, Jose’s mother, shares her son’s optimism for the future of Fuzu—emphasizing the value iQuatic offers her family business. “We now have a comprehensive overview of what is happening. From the beginning with iQuatic, we have been able to confirm the findings. Clearly, the technology is making a difference for us,” she remarked.
Working with Cargill Animal Nutrition since 2017, Fuzu now monitors operations using iQuatic, which uses machine learning from data collected through mobile devices, sensors and automated feeders to understand shrimp size, water quality, feeding patterns, and health and weather conditions. This data is then used as the basis for operational recommendations that help optimize pond management.
For José Alberto personally, iQuatic has given him and his family much more than improved farming operations to continue his parents’ legacy. Trusting iQuatic’s online reporting capabilities, he even monitors the farm remotely some days now, replacing his 2-hour commute each way with time focused on ideas for growing the business and increased personal time. In fact, he’s even had enough time lately to share his new-found success with neighboring farms, hoping his community and the greater shrimp industry have the opportunity to further benefit from his learning too.
1Global Aquaculture Alliance; October 2018