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What you should know about the day to day work schedule on an aquaponics farm

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell


Work smart not hard

An owner operated aquaponics farm is a well oiled machine. The type, timing and amount of labor inputs is geared towards constantly producing sales. Everything in the value adding process is well tough out and each task flows into each other task, a change in the routine makes for repercussions later down the value chain.

Daily schedule

Time Task
6:00 Walk farm for inspection
6:30 Fill fish feeders
7:00 Harvest crop
8:00 Prepare crop
9:00 Prepare grow beds
9:30 Transplant – pot to grow beds
10:00 Transplant – seedling tray to pot
10:30 Germination of seeds
11:00 Pest prevention measures
11:30 Walk farm for inspection
12:00 Deliver crop/ Collect inputs

Benefits of preventative maintenance

The reason for this weekly program is to improve the life, performance and safety of the aquaponic system and any other supporting equipment on the farm. This helps circumvent large scale repairs and helps reduce overall maintenance cost by working on a schedule rather than to repair catastrophic breakdowns. This also keeps the electrical components up to date with regular updates.

Weekly schedule

Time Task
6:00 Walk farm for inspection
6:30 Clean fish feeders
7:00 Clean filters
8:00 Clean plant germination center
9:00 Clean tools
9:30 Check electrical systems
10:00 Stock taking
10:30 Collect inputs/changes to system/maintenance
11:00 Collect inputs/changes to system/maintenance
11:30 Re-stock
12:00 Walk farm for inspection

What qualifications do you need to work on an aquaponic farm?

Like running most businesses you don’t need set requirements to be successful at aquaponic farming however the practical skill set required seams endless at times, accountant, weatherman, scientist, inventor, casual labor, plumber and electrician. You need to be good at physical labor, critical thinking and running a business. Experience is the best teacher and you will mostly get that from working on other farms working your way up until a manager and most managers have a qualification in agriculture.

Things I wish I knew before I started.

  • Most required skills are inherited but can be acquired
  • It’s both a life style and a job
  • You don’t get days off
  • This job is not filled with riches or stability
  • A day is never uneventful
  • You have to be flexible
  • A physically active role
  • A driver’s license is a necessity

Walk farm for inspection

This comprises of looking for leaks by checking around irrigation manifolds for mud or soft spots in the earth and drip leaks on the side of the tanks. Also looking for any evidence of rodents and other pest like birds of prey can leave feathers around fish tanks. Remove any frogs or toads from the sump tanks and check that the tanks have water flowing through them. Check that all the crops are there and are irrigated enough and look for pest, check that seedlings have adequate water. And check buildings and feed storage and the general up keep of the farm.

Fill fish feeders

Change out bottles of empty fish feeder and recalibrate feeding rate. Refill empty bottles, cover and put in storage.

Harvest crop

Could be cut the whole plant like with head lettuces or pick fruit from crop like egg plant

Prepare crop

Weigh and wash and parcel as necessary

Prepare grow beds

Take top 3 inches from one grow bed and sieve to half inch for use in germination trays and 4 inch pots and pull any weeds that may have survived

Transplant – pot to grow beds

Transplant – seedling tray to pot

Germination of seeds

Pest prevention measures

Spray with organic measures or place plant required matter into plant sump

Walk farm for inspection

Same as above

Deliver crop/ Collect inputs