Production costs are rising sharply. Faced with the high cost of compost and higher energy costs, how can you produce more mushrooms per ton of compost using less energy? This blog explains one of the options.
The average filling weight on a mushroom farm that picks manually is approx. 85-90 kg/m2. In the current cropping cycle of two flushes picked in 4.5 weeks, this appears to give good production volumes and quality in many different conditions. However, a filling weight of 77-80 kg/m2 can also give good production and quality.
By filling less compost in the beds, compost activity declines, the compost temperature compared to the room air temperature decreases. This requires less cooling and the fan speed can be reduced.
You fill 10% less compost, so can apply at least 10% less water. Less compost activity also means less water is lost during mushroom growth.
It is important to use a colder air temperature however. So during mycelium growth, make sure the compost temperature does not exceed 25.5oC and start the first flush with a compost temperature of around 19-19.5oC.
The growth rate will be slower, but this slower growth will maintain good quality and you will still be able to pick the kilos you need. This also applies in the second and third flush. Set the temperature in the second flush to 17oC instead of 18oC, and to 16oC in the third flush. This will allow you to maintain production and quality.
Growing mushrooms this way takes longer, but it is still possible to pick up 3 flushes in 6 weeks. You will only have 2 days left to cook-out and empty the rooms instead of 4 to 6 days.
The yield per square metre will be lower, but per ton of compost it will be higher. Assume you produce 35 kg/m2 on 90 kg compost, that converts to a yield of 38.8%. Production of 32 kg/m2 on 80 kg compost takes you to a yield of 40%. And that using less energy (cooling costs).
If you take more time, you can produce mushrooms more cost-effectively. Join one of our training courses to learn more about how to cut your production costs!
Mark den Ouden|Mushroom Blog