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February 18, 2014

Thailand

Farmers Think the First Crop of 2014 Will Be a Good One

 

As the weather in southern Thailand gets warmer, shrimp farmers are stocking their ponds, crossing their fingers and hoping for a turnaround season.

 

Farms in central and eastern Thailand are expected to follow suit, and some may have already begun stocking their ponds said Jim Gulkin, founder and managing director of Thai-based shrimp supplier Siam Canadian Foods.  “At this point, many farmers are very optimistic that Thailand’s new crop will be successful,” Gulkin said.  By late April, Thailand shrimp production should begin to improve, starting with small shrimp and, as production peaks, continuing on to larger shrimp in June or July.

 

With some new management tools, farmers have some good reasons for being optimistic.  For example, they have new test kits to catch early mortality syndrome (EMS) before it becomes disastrous.  “This is helping to detect the EMS bacteria in postlarvae shrimp, feed and sediment before seeding the ponds and thus greatly reducing the risk of a crop failure due to EMS,” Gulkin said.

 

One factor that will keep production lower than normal is stocking densities.  Most shrimp farmers are not yet brave enough to stock at the heavy densities they used before EMS.  They are stocking at about 60 to 70% of pre-EMS levels; however, “farmers appear to be stocking most of their ponds, which should help make up for the lower densities,” Gulkin said.  He predicts that when peak production hits in June or July, supply out of Thailand will be the highest it has been in over a year, although it is possible the peak period for 2014 could be even later, in August or September.

 

The Thai shrimp industry is now importing shrimp from Europe and South America for local sales and further processing.

 

Gulkin said the “doomsday predictions” at the end of last year of a massive drop in consumption in the USA and Canada due to higher prices simply did not materialize.

 

Source: Undercurrent News.  Editor, Tom Seaman (undercurrent@undercurrentnews.com).  Thai Farmers ‘Very Optimistic’ Current Crop Will Be Successful.  Jeanine Stewart (jeanine.stewart@undercurrentnews.com).  February 14, 2014.

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