Before you make the decision to start mushroom farming, there are a few things to take under consideration as a future Investor. You should learn how and in what conditions mushrooms must be grown, what machines and equipment are necessary for mushroom cultivation and where this kind of facility should be built.
How to grow mushrooms?
Mushroom farming takes place in an indoor area. A modern mushroom farm consists of many growing rooms and each of them is different from each other by the growth phase of mushroom. For instance, in one room a spawn might be growing onto the substrate and in another one mushroom can be already being picked up. A single cycle of use of such a growing room lasts from 30 to 60 days depending on a chosen technology, which gives from 6 to 12 cycles of mushroom cultivation per year.
To be successful in mushroom farming, after every cycle, you should change 2 main resources that are a part of compost and casing soil. You can purchase both of them from mushroom substrate producers, however some mushroom farm owners set up their own facility to manufacture compost and peat cover which they use for their own needs.
Today’s standard growing rooms can fill from 20 to 100 tons of substrate for mushroom farming and is placed on a special growing shelving. The substrate weights from 85 to 95 kilograms per square meter of shelving. Growing shelving should meet the requirements that are needed to use special machines for loading and unloading compost and casing soil.
Under what conditions do mushrooms grow?
When a new substrate is being loaded to growing rooms, a mushroom farmer must maintain the climatic parameters in the hall in line with the technological process.
In a mushroom farm a grower is responsible for setting these following parameters: temperature and humidity of the air, the speed of the air, concentration of carbon dioxide in the air.
To manage the microclimate, climate control devices are installed near each growing room. They read the air and compost parameters and in cooperation with the air conditioning and humidification systems regulate the climate in the room. Their purpose is to mix the outdoor air with the air that is in a growing room and to give this mixture the right proportion. Later on, it is heated or cooled, humidified or dried and sent back to the room. This way we are able to provide cool and humid climate – exactly what mushroom need to grow. The climate in each room will differ slightly as mushrooms are at different stages of the cycle in each of them.
What equipment and machines will be needed for mushroom farming?
If you’re thinking about starting your own mushroom farm, you need to know a thing or two about the necessary machines that are essential to the effective operation of mushroom growing facilities.
A mushroom farm will need some equipment – both specialized and general. Among the specialized ones there are under-shelf automatic irrigation system (it is advised to choose it before the building of the facility starts and to include it into to construction project), growing shelving (racks), machines for substrate loading and unloading, pesticide dispensers, mat washer, lamps and more. A crucial element of the specialized equipment are mushroom picking lorries that are used by pickers. There are many versions of lorries – from simple ones, moving vertically and horizontally with manual drives, to fully automatized ones with electric drives controlled by a remote.
When it comes to general equipment, you will need i.a.: mushroom weighing tables, decontamination mats, insect lights, and scales, among others.
A mushroom farm, besides growing rooms, should consist also of: boiler room, cold store, sorting/packing room, machine room, locker room, dining room, laundry room, and administrative and utility rooms.
Where should a mushroom farm be built?
Like any business, location is important for a mushroom farm – availability of resources, labor, markets, and infrastructure must be considered. Before the construction starts, all the above should be met. It is also worth verifying that there is room for possible expansion in the future.
It is also important to consider whether there are enough workers in the region. A mushroom farm with a production capacity of 500 tons of mushrooms per month hires up to 250 people. The solution to the lack of labor is often getting employees from abroad.
To start a high-functioning and profitable mushroom farm, an Investor should learn everything about mushroom cultivation and its production. A wise decision will be to work with a general contractor who has many years of experience in building such facilities and has the necessary knowledge about the mushroom industry.