Nowadays mushroom business is growing with the increasing demand for mushrooms. Yet building a mushroom farm is expensive and challenging, so making a mistake in the location of your future mushroom farm can cost you a lot. For example, if you want to produce 2,700 tons of mushrooms per year, you need an average of 9,500 m2 of cultivated area - and the investment can be estimated at 5.7 million euros today.
After spending such a sum, the investor would have a huge problem if he chose the wrong plot of land. On the one hand, it would cost a lot of extra expenses at the construction stage, on the other hand, it would hinder the mushroom production process, make it expensive and endangered. As our Agro-Projects company has built and equipped over 80 farms around the world, here are some things we can advise you on when choosing a place to set up a mushroom farm.
1. Plot access
Mushroom farming requires the delivery of compost, which is delivered by trucks, and then the delivery of mushrooms is planned. The truck must easily drive up to the farm, so if you have a plot on the main paved road – you will need resources to invest in infrastructure for access. You should also check to see how far away from a major highway the lot is that you will be transporting compost from your chosen facility. This has a significant impact on the price of future compost hauling.
2. Importance of the climate
The climate is maintained by many installations and automatics that work thanks to electricity. 12 growing rooms of 60 tones of compost require 400-450 kW of electricity (and this number can be even higher in hot climates). Power connection is a top priority for mushroom farm. It should be checked if there is enough electricity in this place, the sufficient power of the current line. Requirements may be different depending on the country.
To ensure the safety of your mushrooms, it is strongly recommended that you use two independent power sources. Independent means that you should have electricity from two different lines. If one of them breaks down, the other will work. Keep in mind that in the summer, when there is no electricity even for a few hours and you are not able to control the parameters of temperature, nor humidity – you can lose the entire harvest.
In this situation Agro-Projects advises their clients, that are forced to have a plot with only one source of power, to set up an electric generator. However, a device with such power is pretty expensive, that’s why it’s more profitable to find a plot with already existed two lines of power.
3. Water connection and sewage system
You could drill a borehole within your area and have enough water for mushroom growing, but this generates additional costs. For an investor looking for a suitable plot of land, a better solution may be to supply water from the municipal water supply system and find an area where this is possible. Some of Agro-Projects’ customers from France and Belarus have recently done it and as a result the cost of the whole investment was significantly lower.
A good option would be to discharge wastewater to a central municipal sewage system, so it would be great if such a system is somewhere near the plot. Sewage cannot just be got rid of, that’s why you will need to install purification filters and then discharge the water into the vacuum evaporator. So having a municipal sewer system near your farm saves you money on wastewater treatment systems. If you use an already existing building and want to make it a mushroom farm, you’d better make sure that the existed canalization is suitable for such quantities of water. As a hint: to grow 450 grams of mushrooms, 8 liters of water is needed.
4. It can be hard to find previously discussed three things in one place
However, special industrial zones exist in many countries – it would be great to build a mushroom farm in such place. They may differ in terms of contracts that are offered to investors but generally bonuses include tax reliefs, customs reliefs and already present infrastructure – electricity, water supply, central sewage system.
Three mushroom farms that Agro-Projects has built in France are located in such zones. Countries organize them for three reasons. First is taking industrial facilities out of the cities. Secondly it turns out much easier for municipal government to build all infrastructure in one place as they have all industry situated together. Third reason is attracting more investors who will pay more taxes.
Sometimes the land in these areas is poor quality or located near airports, so the government organizes industrial zones over there. It is a good idea to look for such areas in a country where you are going to build a mushroom farm.
5. Choosing a location for good yields
It is not recommended to build mushroom farms near facilities where flies or microorganisms may be present such as meat or vegetable processing plants. It is important to keep your farm away from your compost supplier – sometimes this rule is broken by investors who build a mushroom farm and compost plant on one land, however in this case more attention needs to be paid to hygiene in both facilities. Otherwise, you can come across many issues during cultivation such as mushroom diseases.
Theoretically mushroom farm should not be less than 5 kilometers from the compost yard – practically, it could be 2 kilometers if you know how to manage hygiene. The less the distance – the more the risk of spreading diseases from the compost yard to the mushroom farm, for example green mold. Most germs occur on the Phase 1 of the compost and if you have to put two facilities close to each other, pay attention to the wind direction and make sure it does not come from Phase 1 of the compost to the mushroom farm.
6. The flatness of the construction plot
Another important thing worth mentioning is flatness of the construction plot. If the land where you are going to build is very flat – the earthwork with leveling will cost you less. However, in any case, you need to remove the humus and plot drainage for the rainwater. Sometimes, there is no choice but to deal with rough ground, and this can also be a good choice, especially if the land has other advantages, such as two sources of electricity or central plumbing.
7. No area limitations
Even if you only plan to set up a small mushroom farm, Agro-Projects always advises to choose the plot with no area limitations. From the very beginning the investor should consider possibility to extend the facility in the future. Expansion is cheaper than building another mushroom farm elsewhere – you can save about 30% compared to setting up a new facility. It’s because there are already changing rooms, warehouses, connections, and full internal and external engineering infrastructure. Limitations could be natural: forest, river, or artificial like other facility standing next to yours.
We also simply suggest buying a larger plot of land if possible. We had investors who were sure that they do not want to expand their facility, years later they changed their mind and they had to deal with various limitations.
8. Availability of labor
The one thing that some Investors forget is choosing the location of the facility in terms of labor availability. It would be great to have a major city or larger town nearby from which you can draw workers. Otherwise, you will definitely face labor problems – mostly with mushroom pickers.
Sometimes an Investor has no influence on the choice of the land, because he already owned the property before he made his final decision to build the mushroom farm, and the plot in the industrial zone may prove to be too expensive. All these aspects should be consulted with a general contractor who can advise you on any matter.