Mushroom farming is a lucrative enterprise that comprises other components like:
- making spawns,
- preparing the substrate,
- growing the mushrooms
- and or adding value to cultivated mushrooms for sale.
Mushroom farming is often driven by passion for exploring options in variety, quality and price.
An essential ingredient in mushroom farming is to create local market opportunities which demand good negotiation and excellent relationship building skills.
This article will show you the steps to start a profitable do it yourself mushroom farming business. You’ll also find useful tips on how to stay in production and earn income all year round .
Growing mushrooms is very much like starting a small business that requires:
- working out a budget,
- writing out a clear straight forward plan for your business,
- keeping records
- and meeting required standards in the industry are critical to set you on the path of success.
Ideally,the budget should give you and the players on your team a fair idea of how much money you have and investment amount that is going into each component of your mushroom farm enterprise.
It makes good business sense to have a simple budget you can understand and figure out. The budget should state clearly the growing system, variety of mushroom and investments that will be channeled as well as returns expected.
A good business plan is another must have. It will help check that your values align to your business goals and dreams so you don’t end up working hard against yourself, it should also help you define what products or services you want to offer, how you want to offer them, and generally strengthen your resolve to stay on course.
Getting Started with mushroom farming??
Decide on … Variety of Mushroom to grow(stock)
This is determined by the area you want to invest in— either in the local market: for the grocery store, open market, or pharmaceutical companies :for medicinal mushrooms, or for export on the international market.
A good variety to start mushroom farming with is the Oyster Mushroom . Other easy to grow varieties like, Shiitake, Lions Mane, White Button and the Portobello mushrooms are also highly recommended.
There are a lot more mushrooms that can be easily grown at home, but these few seem to be the most popular, due to the ease of growing and the general taste of the mushroom.
Additionally, the option of hunting from the wild still exists for varieties like: Morel Mushrooms and Truffle mushrooms as attempts at home growing them have not been successful.
After deciding on a variety, you will need to read up on its specific growing requirements; as each mushroom has its own unique growing requirements.
You will need to find a substrate on which the mushroom grows( bearing in mind that they grow best on wood and other agricultural waste resources).
This is often determined by the space available and the growing system you are most conversant with. Most mushroom farms around the world use the ditch system. There is also the tray or shelves system but the oldest cultivation system however is the floor system (as shown in the picture above).
The right location coupled with favorable environmental conditions is the imperative first step to ensuring your mushrooms flush regularly and well all season round .
Old livestock or poultry farms are good places to start but the hygienic conditions should be given special attention to meet the right parameters otherwise simple structures built with durable materials that can keep out heat and sunlight are equally good.
Mushroom farms should be sited on low ground fields with a moist and damp atmosphere to encourage growth.
To establish a successful mushroom farming business, it is important to study your local market for prevailing prices, and be up to date on supply as well as demand trends in your locality as this informs where to sell your mushrooms.
Focus on winning customers through higher quality, better services, lower prices and exceeding customer expectation. Calculate costs involved in production and labor as these influence profit.
This is defined by whether a mushroom farm is geared towards continuous production and daily harvesting on commercial basis or on a very small scale.
In order to maximize your “mushroom farming” business potential it is important to consider hiring labor to take care of the technology aspects while you concern yourself with marketing especially as most of the harvesting work done in growing mushrooms is manual.
Components of a Mushroom Farming Business.
Mushroom spawns are one most important ingredient to think of when starting a mushroom farm business. Spawns are granular substances specially impregnated with mycelium from which mushrooms grow – usually created by mycologist .
The good news is that you can make your own spawns using old stem butts as this enables you to re use old mushrooms to start a new cultivation cycle-often termed re-spawning from the stem.
It is important to note however that most varieties do not have the stem growth capability apart from the Oyster, Morel and a few others.
Substrate Preparation for mushroom farming.
The medium in which mushrooms grow is called substrate or in more common terms, “soil” .There are several substrates including mediums prepared from a laboratory e.g. Agar.
Dry leaves or woody materials are however the most commonly used around the world.
Ingredients often included in making of the bags are; softwood sawdust,straw, quick lime, wheat or rice bran, and spawns for inoculation.
Bag Making for mushroom farming.
The bag making process usually involves; composting the substrate, filling the bags with composted material, spawning and then incubation till maturity stage.
If you are using sawdust like we do here on our farm, then each heap( 1ton) of saw dust should be mixed with; 4 sacks of wheat bran (or 8 sacks of rice bran), and 8 bottles of quick lime for neutralizing the saw dust. For every 1000th bag filled with substrate, you will need about 30 spawn bottles.
- neutralize the sawdust with your quick lime and allow to dry
- mix sawdust with your or wheat bran
- fill into polybags and compact
- sterilize filled bags preferably in an aluminum barrel over a source of heat
- inoculate with spawns after sterilization
- allow the bags to mature
Making the substrate or compost yourself gives an added advantage for continuous production since you don’t have to depend on external suppliers and efficiency of bags is better assured since you are entirely in charge of the process.
Additionally, after using your substrate or Compost bags it can still serve some useful purpose on your farm as a soil conditioner.
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