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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 03:34 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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earthbound wrote:
Rupert you really need to accept that aquaponics can be called commercial if it provides a wage.. It does not have to be "industrial" size.. And stop trying to belittle anything that's not "industrial" by calling it a hobby farm.

If anything perhaps something the size of the picture above should be referred to as "industrial AP", where as any AP business in general, large or small, so long as it acts as a primary source of income for at least one person, is commercial.


The biggest objection I have to so many of the "commercial" operators is not that there systems are small or where they generate their income from. Rather it is the constant hype that they spew out that they can sell people a system that will make the buyer money. They do this on and on and on even though they haven't managed to make it work for themselves.

Size is not the issue, even primary income is not really relevant because there are plenty of commercial operations that have diversified incomes. It is the ability of the venture to pay its expenses and return a reasonable return on investment. Reasonable is whatever the person spending the cash deems to be reasonable.

It is generally excepted in the AQ industry that small operations can't be profitable. A common figure given used to be 40t as a minimum but recent work by Deakin Uni on Murray Cod is suggesting that 100t or more should be a minimum. Having sadi that there are exceptions. For example in Tasmania there is an operation that only farms 15t of Salmon. General wisdom would say that they cant be making money but they are because of the quality of their product, the value adding and that their primary fish product is salmon caviar.

There is nothing stopping a small AP venture from being able to pay all its expenses and provide a reasonable rate of return. The problem is that the vast majority of the many commercial consultants have actually done it or even helped any one to do it. Which is another point. There is nothing wrong with being a consultant and not a producer your self but you better be able to point to successful clients.

It is only in the last year(?) that I believe we have seen some real attempts that have a chance of returning their capital with growth. The UES is one of them, Ryan apparently knows of at least one more and maybe the systems in the middle east. Everyone else just hasn't and until they show otherwise they are just talking. Which includes me by the way.

Again I say what I find objectionable is that they are trying to make money of their talk rather than their skills, expertise, experience or history of successful clients. Mind you many seem to demonstrate that how could they otherwise because they don't have the skills or expertise to make a AP system profitable.

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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 06:49 
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Lets define comertial as a system that pays at less minimum wage for all the persons involved with the system.

Lets define industrial as a system that pays wages to auxiliary staff.

Lets define a system that can't operate with out a income stream from knowlage products as a school.

Anything else is a hobby.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 06:49 
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I may regret this.

But by definition a commercial operation (any business) is an activity with the purpose of selling something (product or service).
I think it is arrogant to dictate what kind of profit is achieved to be considered commercial. That is more a question of successful or not.
There are many commercial businesses that do not return a successful per hour wage to the owners but they are still a commercial business. Just walk down a shopping strip and talk to the shop owners and if you can convince them to show you their books you may be surprised.

And many of the ones that do make a tangible profit after all costs (including directors wages) were certainly not profitable for many years.

I think it is good to give people a reality check but not to belittle them for desire to give it a go.

Equally the advice can be accepted or not but people should not be offended that some advice will contradict that persons current opinion.

I also would like to have a commercial system that can employ me full time, but I am also happy for it to be 10 - 15 years to get there. But if in a couple of years I have one that makes me $100 a week I will be glad to call it commercial and I am sure the Tax man will want his cut.

OK once I press submit, oh buy here it goes...............

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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 06:55 
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Then there is Joel his is I believe the only commertial system there is. As he sells AP systems. That's the last catogory.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 07:08 
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I think the current food system makes it very hard for a AP system to be a money maker, food from AP is not subsidise in any form, AP produce shows the true cost of bringing a crop. We will have to wait until the current food system gets more expensive, until then we all have to look at ways to beet the system, and shear them on this forum.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 07:10 
No disputing that any business that trades and sells something is a "commercial" business Rickle...

My criticism is based more on the fact that most of those claiming to be operating "commercial AP" operations are training others how be "successful"... when they usually can't demonstrate that they are themselves... mostly because they begin training before they've even harvested a crop...

And the reality check that their size... and marketing model... limits them to a operation that will never return more than a meagre "wage" for themselves....

I also think the model being hawked as "commercial aquaponics"... is seriously flawed...

They're hobby farms... nothing wrong with that at all.... or that they continue to survive by "diversification" like training...

I just think that the "possibilities" are being over-hyped... or perhaps even being misrepresented dishonestly... as are many of the "figures"...

If you, or anyone else is happy to put the work into an operation that barely pays a wage... and essentially doesn't return an ROI....

No problems... go for it... I just think there's an awful lot of "romance" being passed off as "potential"... and a fair bit of bullshit...


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 07:15 
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RupertofOZ wrote:
No disputing that any business that trades and sells something is a "commercial" business Rickle...

My criticism is based more on the fact that most of those claiming to be operating "commercial AP" operations are training others how be "successful"... when they usually can't demonstrate that they are themselves... mostly because they begin training before they've even harvested a crop...

And the reality check that their size... and marketing model... limits them to a operation that will never return more than a meagre "wage" for themselves....

I also think the model being hawked as "commercial aquaponics"... is seriously flawed...

They're hobby farms... nothing wrong with that at all.... or that they continue to survive by "diversification" like training...

I just think that the "possibilities" are being over-hyped... or perhaps even being misrepresented dishonestly... as are many of the "figures"...

If you, or anyone else is happy to put the work into an operation that barely pays a wage... and essentially doesn't return an ROI....

No problems... go for it...


It's true.


I like the part about the marketing model being a limiting factor, it sound plasuable. I am interested in why its limiting and ultimately how to defet that hurddle.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 07:32 
I've been through it all before Damian... and just keep getting flack for it...

How do you defeat the hurdle of the limitation of a wholesale premium price direct to farmers market model....

Scale... and that means capital investment... and paying for labour.. other peoples....

And that means selling to a retail outlet/distributor... and "retail" pricing....

People just want to ignore some basic figures and realities... so be it... go for it... best of luck...


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 08:27 
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The object is to sell at retail price, I agree, I don't expect we will solve this tonight but some head way has been made already.

To sell at retail price you have to lower operation cost, and......... I can't think of what else we have to do, I am trying to get and idea of the min output a system most do to pay min wage for on to start and form a picture of this problem that alludes us, I am ball parking here tell me what you think.

I am counting $500 us a week as min wage and using 10 months as fish crop time, 10 months = 40 weeks @ $500/week= $20000 in ten months. Using 2:1 ratio plant to fish = $13333 from plants $6666 from fish during that time frame.

$13333/40 weeks = $333/week in plant sales.

That just to pay for one persons wages, then you have to calculate operating cost to produce said crops, then add that to get decent ball park. The weekly plant sales must pay for the operating cost of the fish and still wages so we got to look at that too, just trying to get a picture in my head to work with any input is apriceated.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 08:52 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Damian wrote:
The object is to sell at retail price, I agree, I don't expect we will solve this tonight but some head way has been made already.


Actually what Rupe is suggesting is that the object is to sell at whole sale.

Forget defintions of what is commercial or not what it comes down to is people have time, money and a given set of circumstances which includes their skills, location, available markets and whole stack of other stuff.

For AP to become an industry and a significant part of our food production it needs to be better than available alternatives.

So if a farmer is considering what to do with their cash, land, time and other resources, is AP attractive compared to other options available to them.

If standalone hydro and/or aquaculture are more attractive then AP doesn't really get a look in. That is the nub of the problem.

I've got a business plan that is profitable on paper. That returns a ROI that is as good or better than stand alone hydro which also means that real wages are paid and that the calculation of ROI does not include the wage of an owver/operator. However, until I actually get the capital I need to implement it the question of whether I actually can do it or not is debatable.

People talk about these sorts of threads and the egos involved. For me and I'm sure others it is not ego but a genuine willingness to save people (and fish) a lot of heart ache and effort.

Maybe a good rule of thumb is that you don't get involved in a commercial discussion until you have read a text on recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics. Until you have that basic level of understanding how the parent industries work how can you have a sensible conversation about how to best integrate them?

I think my standard response to anything commercial in the future will go like this:

ME wrote:
have you read Timmons et. al. 2007 or Lekang 2007?.

new commercial enthusiast wrote:
No.

ME wrote:
Go and read one or the other or both and I'll be happy to answer any questions you turn up as you go. After you've finished then we can talk about AP


Any one who isn't willing to help themselves in this way I'll leave to others to educate.

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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 09:04 
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Who knows witch door wisdom walk through?

Sorry I ment wholesale in the above post.

I like to remind people that the first air plane was built by bicycle makers, and not by the scientis that were trained in that stuff at the time, I think the peple that read timmons etc... had their say and now I want to have mine. Everything I know about AP is from the internet and trial and error.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 09:05 
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And agueing with guys with experience/phds.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 09:50 
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Damian very interesting post.
From my opinion, to make profit your plants have to organic certified. Your fishes taste twice as good as the retailer.
the retailer need a constant supplies of vegetable and fishes every week.
your customer would be organic small store, families restaurant or upscale restaurant.

In order to have a large scale aquaponic you need to start small,
but the system can always expand to make it medium size, than commercial size.

start with part time doing AP on you free time, than dedicated your time slower to it.

I myself are interested in getting a commercial system started. In a developing phrases right now.
Im planning to sell the small system to residential. But I have to proof to them that its easy and carefree gardening.
second im planing to make a aquaponic system irrigation style garden for tourist. Like the babylon garden of ancient time.

right now I believed aquaponic can only be profitable for tourist and leisures park styled setting. But when the time come it will be aquaponic leading g the way in farming. Maybe 20years or so.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 13:30 
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Hi sebringFl welcome to the discustion, thanks for your imput, you brought something to my attention, what is the best practice when it comes to harvesting fish? Meaning ten months is a long wait for income, could we tweak harvesting timing and batche sizes to amplyfie chances of success.

Bills come every 30 days, maybe every sixty days should be fish harvest, it was $6666/40weeks or 280 days= $23/day= $1380/60day. Just to pay wages for one person.


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PostPosted: Oct 29th, '13, 13:39 
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Ok this sounds like a solid point to discuss here, manipulation of total fish biomass via-harvesting and its effects on cash flow and nutrient levels. Any takers on this? Lets have some fun and shear some ideas.


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