Aquaponics Farm Business Planning Tools.

Aquaponics Based on Practical Experience.

Business planning for your farm project is just so important. It costs hundreds of hours and much expense to create a comprehensive planning tool that is capable of delivering meaningful numbers.

Aquaponics Business Plan

There are many other integrated pages to this budgeting tool. An absolute must in creating a quality business plan.

Here is a screen shot of part of a very comprehensive budgeting tool that has a total of 16 integrated pages/sheets allowing for the planning of every possible variation to your proposed farm.
The tool comes with hypothetical numbers inserted, working formulas ready for you to go through and work the variations for your farm project.
Find out if it is really going to work for you before you shell out tens of thousands on equipment and labour to build your farm.
Insert numbers that you have gleaned from your market research to get a real life scenerio for your particular location.

This and heaps of other very valuable info is taught in our Aquaponics Future Farm Master Class.

Next session in Brisbane Australia starts March 14 and runs through to March 17 2016.

Still places left. Join right away

See here for further info.

Sucking up Filth and Dirt.

Pump Maintenance in Aquaponics

Pumps like sucking up filth and dirt. This ultimately leads to total destruction.

Look at this disgusting mess.

The possibilities of killing everything in the Aquaponics system is very high starting with pump failure, quickly followed by fish deaths. OK, it will take a bit longer to kill the plants but not too long to kill all the fish.

The possibilities of killing everything in the Aquaponics system is very high starting with pump failure, quickly followed by fish deaths. OK, it will take a bit longer to kill the plants but not  long at al to experience fish deaths.

So, what is the problem?
Very simple, = poor maintenance regime.

So many home systems in particular, suffer from poor pump maintenance. The pump should be looked at weekly. Just give it a quick look over to remove any debris that may have collected on the filter screen. Quickly remove and we are all good. This is particularly important for systems being run outdoors, that is, not in a protected cropping structure such as a greenhouse.

Leaves and even dead plant roots coming down from the raft system to the sump and finally onto the filter screen of the pump.  In the photo above you can even see a lonely clay pebble that has found its way onto the pump.

Commercial farm systems need to be even more vigilant. A well-organised regime of maintenance should be followed. Checklists for farm staff should definitely include physically looking at the pump or pumps.  Not good enough to walk past, "Yep, water is moving and I can hear the pump".

Stop, take a careful look and if necessary clean the filter screen.

Of course, you will not have any of these problems if you employ an air-lift pump.

Immediately following our March the second 4 day Master Class we will have Glenn Martinez from Olomona Gardens Hawaii here to teach and demonstrate a full day of airlift pumps.  That's right, pumping water, loads of it using a regular air pump.  That is Friday March 6, 2015 here at Brisbane.   We are flying Glenn down to Australia to demonstrate airlift pumps.  This is a rare opportunity to meet Glenn one of the very few innovators in the world of Aquaponics.

Glenn will, on the day, actually build several different configurations of pumps.  These are real and are capable of moving lots of water in a very economical way.  No more pump blockages.

Book now for this standalone one-day event.
If you are coming to the Master Class make sure you book to stay for this fantastic learning experience.

Go HERE to make your booking.

The Four Hard Questions For Commercial Aquaponics.

 

Aquaponics Course

A student from Egypt receives his Certificate on completion of the February 2014 Practical Aquaponics Commercial and Small Farm course.

I have been most fortunate over the last few years in that I have travelled widely around the world and visited and consulted on many Aquaponics farms.  It is always on my mind to identify and clarify the most common reasons some farm projects succeed and some fail.   There is a multitude of reasons both ways, but here I am attempting to condense it down to the four most obvious.There are many many successful farms. For the most part they are quietly going about their business, doing business, expanding business and making money.  Bad news travels fast so it is not surprising that we hear the failure stories.   Almost all Aquaponics farms I have been involved in have either failed or succeeded based on how well or otherwise they have dealt with these four issues.

There is nothing wrong or inherently bad about growing top quality produce. In fact, it is a business activity for this time, without doubt. We see everywhere an increasing demand for quality pure food.  People from all socioeconomic groups are seeking better food for their families.  I should not need to spell out all the bad things that are happening in our “normal” food supply chain. Instead we can concentrate in delivering the “good news” about Aquaponics;  nutrient dense, clean, tasty food.  People everywhere get excited about the possibilities Aquaponics offers, from a commercial business perspective and as a consumer.

It really is a “no brainer”. Good, pure, high nutrient density produce will sell for premium prices.

Aquaponics produce is a great product to sell and should be relatively easy to market in most parts of the world.

Many see the beauty and the opportunity Aquaponics offers and set out to create a business plan, a construction plan to “Go Commercial”.

The four big questions you must ask yourself and your business partner if planning to “Go Commercial” are:

Q1. Will I have a viable and vibrant Marketing strategy?
This is the most important aspect of any business and Aquaponics is no different. The old adage “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” is just not true, unfortunately. You will need to be very intentional in researching your particular location, identifying just who the clients are, then getting your message to them.   And this task will NEVER end.  It is not a “set and forget” type of thing.

Q2. Do I have enough capital?
Make sure your set up costs and earning projections are realistic.  Remember Murphy’s law? “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Any form of farming is a risky business. Make sure you have enough cash to see your project into profit. Go over your cost projections over and over again. Be very conservative in your numbers.  Ignore the crazy claims made by some - “1100 vegetables and 400 pounds of fish per year” from a system about the size of a snooker table, and tens of thousands of pounds from something as big as a family tennis court.  Growing produce by the Aquaponic method is not some “dark art” that will produce magical harvests and truckloads of money.  Gather information from a reliable source, or two.

Q3. Do I have a good work ethic?
This may sound like a silly question, but many an “investor” type person’s idea of running a farm is sitting all day in an air-conditioned office and expecting the “hired hands” to get it all done.  If you are going to be a successful farmer then you need to be a farmer. That means getting out there at daylight, harvesting the produce and getting it to your clients.  I have seen a couple of farm failures that have flopped for this very reason. The guy turns up at 10 am and is gone again by twelve.  Farming is farming.  Having said that, one very experienced and successful farmer says that Aquaponics farming is the easiest farming he has ever done, but it is still farming.

Q4. Do I have unrealistic expectations and have I set unrealistic pre conditions?
Some contact me and ask for advices and then place unrealistic conditions on their proposed project. The most common one I see of late is: “I expect to be introduced to a half-dozen successful farms and I demand that these farms reveal their last two years profit and loss statements and that the farm only has one revenue stream”.   This attitude reveals an underlying desire to just copy someone else’s plan and be guaranteed success. If this was actually done it would almost guarantee failure.  Someone else’s plan can never be your plan.  Their marketing strategy can never be a perfect fit for your location. Their work ethic is most likely very different from your work ethic. Their capital availability is very likely to be different from yours and so on it goes.  It is just plain silly to demand such things.  People that are successful farmers are not very likely to open their books to any old Tom, Dick or Harry that demands to take a look.  You need to be first convinced that Aquaponics produce is a good and saleable product, then you need to have a plan to sell it for the highest possible price.  Having said that, it is good and worthwhile to be able to view some case studies. No one makes money from growing produce, money is made from selling the produce.

Never discount other revenue streams from your Aquaponics farm plan. Businesses everywhere and of every type strive to create and identify as many revenue streams as possible to incorporate into their business plan.  In my view it is a recipe for failure to place such revenue restrictions on your Aquaponics business model.   We see this idea of revenue only from one source being sprouted on forums and email groups, interestingly from people that do not even have a Aquaponics farm or, in some cases have not even had a small Aquaponics home system.  Most promoting these fanciful ideas have never even had and run their own business; of any type.

In creating your business plan it is prudent to be assured that you can ultimately make it pay from the core activity alone.  However, do not discount or exclude other possible revenue streams.   Other revenue streams are very useful in providing cash flow, especially during the development and bedding down phases of the business plan implementation. Every business has seasonal or circumstantial dips in revenue from the core activity. That is when the other smaller revenue stream activities carry the business through those down times.

So, the questions you need to answer very truthfully to yourself are:

1       Will I give due attention to my marketing plan?

2       Will I have enough cash to see the project through to profit?

3       Will I work like a farmer and do on a daily basis the work that needs to be done? and

4       Do I have very realistic expectations?

Murray Hallam's Practical Aquaponics.

Truly excellent Commercial and Small Farm training delivered by Murray Hallam himself.  Find out how you can attend one of these 4 day or 1 day Aquaponics courses HERE.

Murray Hallams Practical Aquaponics - Aquaponics based on practical experience.