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In Germany, scientists developed casing soil without peat that gives better yields. Is it so?

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This post is also available in: English Russian Polish

In Germany they say that in the near future, casing soil without peat will be available to mushroom growers. This is evidenced by the results of the research project “MykoDeck” FNR No.: 2220MT005 (08.2021 – 07.2024). It is carried out by two scientific institutes: the Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme (IKTS) Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden (IHD) and the casing production company LAV Technische Dienste GmbH & Co.

UMDIS Mushroom Agency spoke with a mycologist from the Dresden Institute, who is developing recipes for peat-free casing soils for champignons and other compost mushrooms such as almond mushroom and white dung beetle. Natalie Rangno reports that the project has been in development for more than two years. Tests are carried out in the IHD laboratory – as well as on mushroom farms in Germany selected for the project. The results are more than promising.

Currently, all mushroom casing soil is imported to Germany, up to 55,000 t/year, from Poland and the Netherlands. It contains about 85% peat. Peat is only available in limited quantities for environmental reasons and from 2030 it can no longer be used for growing mushrooms. Scientists are looking for options. As a substitute for peat, scientists propose the use of biological residues from regional agriculture and forestry.

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From 45 materials selected and analyzed in IKTS and LAV, 120 soil variants were produced in IHD. Through extensive laboratory testing at IHD, 12 peat-free casing soil recipes were selected and tested with a variety of fungi. Three of them were tested with mushroom substrates from Pilzhof Pilzsubstrat Wallhausen GmbH on mushroom farms. Tests were carried out with both white and brown champignons.

The results are that in three out of five mushroom farms, higher yields of brown mushrooms were achieved when using a mixed casing soil (1:1) with or without peat – compared to a control group with casing soil from Poland. The results of two other peat-free casing soil recipes with white mushrooms compared to a control group with casing soil from the Netherlands, carried out at ReiPiKo Reitzenhainer Pilzkorb GmbH, are also very promising.

Scientists collected reviews from mushroom farms about mushrooms grown on mixed casing soil (1:1) with or without peat. They are positive. According to Natalie Rangno – comments were: “Good yield”, “Good quality mushrooms” and “Mushrooms are a little heavier and more flavorful”, “You can collect three waves or more, without disease”

Despite the generally positive results, there were also negative qualities – which scientists are now working on. In the experiments, the tested casing soil dried out somewhat faster than the control soil containing peat, and it had to be watered somewhat more often.

Natalie Rangno from the Dresden Institute in Germany says it will take another couple of years to achieve the ideal peat-free casing soil formulation. She is absolutely sure that one will be available in the near future.

Currently, scientists together with mushroom farms are preparing a new scaling project to ensure a high standard of safety and the best quality of peat-free casing soil with high mushroom yields.

In the photo you see mushrooms grown on the new tested casing soil.

If you are ready to test a new casing soil  with reduced or no peat content on your farm (Germany only for now) – contact Natalie Rangno via email Natalie.Rangno@ihd-dresden.de

White champignons on casing soil without peat (IHD recipe) in mushroom farm ReiPiKo Reitzenhainer Pilzkorb GmbH
Dipl.-Ing. Sc. Natalie Rangno testing a new casing soil without peat in IHD laboratories
Brown champignons on mixed casing soil (1:1) with and without peat (PL), peat (IHD recipe) at the mushroom farm ReiPiKo Reitzenhainer Pilzkorb GmbH

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