Quite often, we have situations of when the Harvest department does not have enough time to finish the rooms properly. The Harvest department needs to understand what to do and how to fix the situation so it does not happen again. The situation needs to be considered in more detail.
Step 1. Planning, planning and planning.
Planning and organization of the Harvest Department is essential. On the larger farms, the planning is done by the Coordinator. On the smaller farms, planning is done by the Senior Harvest Supervisor (SHS). Every morning, the Coordinator or SHS is to update the rolling forecast.
Rolling Forecast: Picture 1.1
When you make the forecast for one week, you can better organize the schedule for Harvesters. As you can see on the Picture 1.1, that busiest days on the farm will be on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. We need to make a schedule for the harvesters according to the forecast. The forecast needs to be updated every day!
Step 2. The Harvest Plan for tomorrow
Every day in the afternoon, the Coordinator or SHS needs to create the “Harvest Plan” for tomorrow.
Harvest Plan for February 15: Picture 1.2
If you plan properly and update daily, you will manage your rooms well.
If the situation is that the team did not have time to complete for rooms, there are three reasons as to why this has happened:
We did not have enough harvesters to harvest 20 250 lbs.
The Coordinator or SHS did not plan well and did not schedule enough harvesters.
Too many harvesters absent.
How to manage these three situations:
If the farm does not have enough harvesters, the Harvest Manager, Coordinator or SHS must work very closely together with the growing team. The harvest team must ask the growing team to pin the rooms lighter and ensure good stagger so that production and fresh can be managed well. The Coordinator or SHS has to check their forecast and planning daily. If the Coordinator or SHS sees that next day will be very busy and that they don’t have enough harvesters, they need to over pick second flush so that harvesters coming after picking first flush can come in time to help manage the room.
Reasons 2 and 3 have the same solution for both situations:
It is vital to remember that First flush is priority! You always need set up harvesters on the First flush. If you do not have enough harvesters to set up for First flush, try to make multiple passes so that you can control the quality of mushrooms. If on a busy day in the First break, do 5 passes (depends on what sizes mushrooms grow) but when don’t have enough harvesters, try do 8 passes. Create s mini picture for the next day. In this way you are able control the quality of mushrooms and minimize loss of yields.
If you are in a situation where you only have enough harvesters to control two rooms but have four rooms that need to be picked, remember that first flush is priority! When the farm has situations like this, the Coordinator or SHS needs to control harvesters and move harvesters between rooms timely.
For example, make two passes on the first flush and go to make one pass on the second flush. If you need to do separation on the First flush, try to make one pass of a “Mini picture” and then after, go to second flush, make passe and then come back to first flush to make “Nice picture for tomorrow”. Make passes so that you can control the quality of mushrooms and minimize loss of yields.
What is the best time to finish work? I think every owner has a different opinion about what time we need to finish harvesting mushrooms. Every Manager can easily say that the finish time is 5 P.M. and to go home because the salary of the Manager is not dependent on the quality of mushrooms but not every owner a mushroom farm can say finish work at 5 P.M. if they know that they will lose $10 000.
My suggestion is to always check the forecast and ensure there is strong communication with harvesters and the Harvest team. If you have only one crazy day in the week on the farm it is will be one time to finish, but if you see that every day on the farm is crazy and impossible to finish rooms properly you need check what is good finish time to finish harvesting mushrooms and so that Harvesters can come to the work the next day and the company doesn’t lose profits.
Edited by Vanessa Le