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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Illinois shrimp farming season begins

  • The Brits call them prawns; we call them shrimp. Neither name is scientific. Whatever their names, they are delicious crustaceans. And, they can be raised in freshwater ponds.
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  • The Brits call them prawns, we call them shrimp. Neither name is scientific. Whatever their names, they are delicious crustaceans. And, they can be raised in freshwater ponds.
    Tuesday was the delivery day of this year's batch of shrimp hatchlings to the property of Jim Brown on Lover's Lane in Harrisburg. Bill Brown, Jim’s brother, received the shipment from Ronnie Koch of Metropolis. Koch got his shrimp from a hatchery in the Dallas, Texas, area.
    The shrimp are hatched from eggs in a salt water environment.
    "Hatching shrimp in captivity is a ticklish business," said Koch.
    Then the shrimp are moved to brackish water — part salt, part fresh — for part of their growth cycle. Eventually they are acclimated to freshwater and transported to ponds all over the South.
    When they arrive, the shrimp are slightly less than an inch long. They will grow to five or more inches over the course of the summer.
    "Some grow much bigger than five inches," said Brown.
    Brown received delivery of 7,500 to 8,100 shrimp from Koch who said, "We always bring more than requested to account for possible deaths in transport."
    Koch transports the shrimp in a tank on a trailer behind his pickup. He has a pump system which allows him to pump the shrimp into a client's pond. Koch has five clients and stocks about seven ponds a year.
    Brown's pond is about 4 feet deep, 1/4 of an acre in size and clear of any fish. It is drained every winter. It has algae at the beginning of a season, but the shrimp consume that quickly.
    "We use Farina Shrimp Food when the algae runs out," said Bill Brown. "We use pump to keep the pond water circulating and full of oxygen.”
    Koch tested the temperature of the tank of shrimp and found it to be at 77 degrees fahrenheit. Brown tested the pond water and found it to be 78 degrees.
    "Perfect conditions," said Brown.
    Koch hooked up a hose and pipe to the tank and put the end of the pipe in the pond.
    He turned on the pumps and in minutes the shrimp had a new home. They will be feeding on the algae for the next few days and then Brown will have to start feeding them shrimp food.
    "The harvest will be in mid-September when the water is still warm enough for the shrimp to live," said Brown.
    Late September is too big a risk and early October is out of the question.
    "A sudden freeze would kill all the shrimp,” he said.
    Brown said the shrimp will be used for personal consumption, not sale.
    Koch said one of his clients is growing shrimp for sale at a roadside stand.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I was talking to a manager who said he had big shrimp at his restaurant. He said they were 5 inches long — huge. He asked me what I had and I said 'bigger.'
    “‘Well, what would you call a 5 inch shrimp?’ (the man asked).
    “I said, 'that's our cull.'"
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