Maine oyster farmer believes new harvesting system will revolutionize industry

A Maine oyster farm has installed a new harvesting system that the owner says could help revolutionize the industry. Yarmouth’s Butterfield Shellfish uses what is called the “turning system” to harvest oysters. it makes the business model a sustainable business, ”said owner Keith Butterfield. Butterfield said he discovered the “rollover system” while in New Zealand. He said it would help oyster farms save significantly on labor. His farm is the first in Maine to use it. “This system allows you to stand up. The baskets are on a pivot. You can open the baskets without lifting anything, ”said Butterfield. Raising oysters the traditional way means a lot of lifting every day. Each basket of oysters can weigh 100 pounds. Each must be removed from the water one at a time, emptied and turned over. “The amount of work to be done doesn’t make it a sustainable business for a small family farm,” Butterfield said. Butterfield said he could do it mechanically. in an hour which took him a whole day to accomplish by hand. He said his farm could produce more oysters at a lower cost per oyster. “This system, this farm turnaround system, allows you to increase production to over a million oysters per worker, per year, and that gives you the benefit of running a farm,” Butterfield said. Although his farm is the only one in Maine to use this method, he hopes the idea will catch on. Most of Maine’s 150 or so oyster farms do not see themselves as competitors. Instead, they work as one. cooperative. “I don’t see them as my competition at all, at all. So not only would I love to see them use the mechanization of the flip farm, but I’m willing to share, and I think it’s an opportunity for farm groups to share the equipment, “Butterfield said. Butterfield believes the flip system will allow him to grow from 200,000 pounds of oysters this year to over 1 million pounds in two years. He said that this would result in more benefits for his treprise and a cleaner Casco bay. water quality and the marine ecosystem. We need to rebuild our commercial fisheries. This is one element in which we improve our waters, ”said Butterfield.

A Maine oyster farm has installed a new harvesting system that the owner says could help revolutionize the industry.

The Yarmouth Butterfield Shellfish uses what is called the “rocking system” to harvest oysters,

“The reason you would use this system to grow oysters is that it makes the business model a sustainable business,” said owner Keith Butterfield.

Butterfield said he discovered the “rollover system” while in New Zealand. He said it would help oyster farms save significantly on labor. His farm is the first in Maine to use it.

“This system allows you to stand up straight. The baskets are on a pivot. You can open the baskets without lifting anything, ”said Butterfield.

Raising oysters the traditional way means a lot of lifting every day. Each basket of oysters can weigh 100 pounds. Each must be removed from the water one at a time, emptied and turned over.

“The amount of work to do it doesn’t make it a sustainable business for a small family farm,” Butterfield said.

Butterfield said he could do mechanically in an hour what took him an entire day to accomplish by hand. He said his farm could produce more oysters at a lower cost per oyster.

“This system, this rocking farm system, allows you to increase production to over a million oysters per worker, per year, and that gives you the benefit of running a farm,” Butterfield said. .

Although his farm is the only one in Maine to use this method, he hopes the idea will catch on. Most of Maine’s 150 or so oyster farms don’t see themselves as competitors. Instead, they work as a cooperative.

“I don’t see them as my competition at all, at all. So not only would I love to see them use the mechanization of the flip farm, but I’m willing to share, and I think it’s an opportunity for farm groups to share the equipment, ”Butterfield said.

Butterfield believes the flip system will allow him to go from 200,000 pounds of oysters this year to over 1 million pounds in two years.

He said it would result in more profits for his business and a cleaner Casco Bay.

“We are raising an animal that really contributes to the quality of the water and to the marine ecosystem. We need to rebuild our commercial fisheries. This is one element in which we improve our waters, ”said Butterfield.


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