This article for readers of UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency prepared Artem Koval, Chief Grower of Gospodarstwo rolne Łukasz Laziuk farm, Poland.
Loading the room is the most important among all processes that take place on the mushroom farm, because it determines the further success of mushroom cultivation during the entire cycle of 2-3 flushes. Therefore, every mistake that can be made during loading will negatively affect the entire subsequent process. How to prevent this and make the feeling proces correct? I dedicated this my first article on UMDIS to this topic.
Filling is a process that must be performed with maximum hygiene. Every room to which we will load compost must be hygienically clean, without residues of the previous growing cycle. Also – if possible, cooked (personally, I think this is the most effective way to clean the growing room, although alternatives are possible). Clean tools should be used during loading – that is also important.
Before you start loading, you need to make sure that the room is tight, without cracks. It is very important and cannot be neglected – there should be no gaps in doors, windows, walls. Why? Because the smell that will spread from the germinating mycelium will attract various types of insect pests, which in turn will begin to spread diseases.
Also, loading team must start the process in clean clothes. The place where the loading combine will stand must be washed and disinfected. I advise to wash outside with running water every machine that delivers compost and peat to you – to wash off particles of dirt that can carry sources of infection. According to my experience, you will need 4-5 people for high-quality loading with an automatic filling machine.
When starting to load with a headfilling machine, we must first assess the conditions of compost and peat, i.e. structure, appearance, quality. After that, we perform the appropriate settings on the combine. Those days, most producers consider 80 to 85 kg to be the optimal and safe amount of compost per m2. The more compost we load per 1 m2, the better for mushrooms, because they will have more food – but this will increase the activity of the compost, it will heat up more actively. And if we cannot keep the temperature of the compost up to 30 degrees, a significant part of the nutrients will be lost.
It is advisable to start loading with 2nd shelf – then it will be more convenient to set all parameters on your combine. But even in case of a mistake, it is more convenient to correct something.
Adjusting the shafts on the combine is another important task for the grower. For example, amount of adding caking (a small amount of germinated compost) to peat is difficult to establish uniformly. It should be approximately 400 grams per 1 m2. It is worth taking into account that the addition of caking is a very important factor. By adding too much caking, we risk rapid dehydration of the peat, while too little can cause weak spawn growth. What is bad about weak growth? In the future, it will lead to the formation of a mushroom under the peat, what reduces the quality of the product and complicates its harvesting.
Is film required during machine filling?
I think so. After all, the film located at the bottom – retains the water that we pour in after loading on the shelf.
Are we forced to add water to the compost? Yes of course. Mushrooms are 90% water. After loading, each grower, based on his own experience and skill, determines how much water should be poured into the compost.
On average, about 15-30 liters per 1 m2 of the growing surface, but this depend on the structure and humidity of the compost, on growing technology, parameters in the growing room, etc.
After all, for growth, mushrooms use water that they take from the compost. Accordingly, the compost and the casing soil must be sufficiently moistened.
As you can see, filling of the growing room with compost of the third phase with the help of a filling machine – is not an easy task. However, with growing experience – you will learn to notice small things, adjust the combine in the best way, maintain hygiene. Each time it will be better.
The author of the article is Artem Koval,
Chief grower of Gospodarstwo rolne Łukasz Laziuk farm, Poland
Mail: [email protected].