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Three reasons why entrepreneurs want to grow oyster mushrooms


This post is also available in: English Russian


Larisa Teslenkova, consultant-technologist, author of the website and YouTube channel “Oyster mushroom expert”.

In a previous article I described the peculiarities of regions with spontaneous overproduction of mushrooms. Today we will discuss three of the most common motivations to get into the mushroom business, growing oyster mushrooms specifically. And what factors you need to consider in each case.

Why do you want to grow oyster mushrooms?


First motive to grow oyster mushrooms

You have vacant properties and you have read that you can grow mushrooms in any building. You also read that oyster mushrooms “are the easiest mushroom to grow,” which I wrote about in a previous article.

Herein lurks the first pitfall. Not all premises, in fact, can grow mushrooms. I do not recommend, for example, former barns, veal barns and rooms where poultry was kept.

You will have to invest a substantial amount of money in their repair, as most often in these rooms the floors have protrusions 20-30 cm high, downward parts, sewage drains. Slate and ceilings lined with minwool have not been repaired in many decades – all of which will have to be completely replaced.

In addition, there are untold numbers of spores of various molds in such rooms. As long as it’s dry, you won’t see them, but as soon as you set the humidity at 85-87% in the growing rooms- the spores will start waking up en masse, despite the repairs you’ve made.

If you have a former vegetable storage or warehouse space, I recommend finding two oyster mushroom technologists. And ask them to draw diagrams of the distribution of production areas on the territory, with a list of necessary infrastructure and equipment.

Also ask them to draw a schematic diagram (without calculations) of where the ventilation system can be located. So that they don’t think about it and end up with nowhere to put the fan or heat exchanger or the required distances between the heat exchanger, the fan and the fresh air pipe. If they are going to be practicing technologists, it is advisable that they have experience in multiple facilities. Since it is not a fact that everything is done correctly at the technologist’s current place of employment. If a specialist has worked at several enterprises – he has already formed his own vision of how to properly arrange all production areas.

Although, I believe that for your purposes, a consulting technologist who has seen many of their clients’ businesses and knows exactly how to properly utilize the spaces you have specifically would be more suitable.

You can find diagrams of production areas and even their schedules online. But, I have seen more than once when non-specialists, taking as a basis a seemingly correct scheme, made many mistakes, which then negatively affected the work of the farm.

Mostly because of adding their own ideas to these schemes. As an example, I can cite a case where mushroom growers decided to use the warm air from the outside unit of a refrigerator to heat the grow rooms.

Why am I talking about two technologists? If their conclusions and diagrams differ too much from each other, especially in calculating the amount of substrate that can be loaded into the grow chambers at one time – you will have to delve into the process, look for inconsistencies and ask each technologist to justify their opinion.

Second motive to grow oyster mushrooms

The second motive to grow oyster mushrooms is the desire to increase production. For example, you had a small farm and you grew 2-3 tons of oyster mushrooms per month. Now you want to expand the enterprise. Unfortunately, many mushroom growers, after two or three or even more years in this segment, believe that simply increasing the number of rooms or increasing the area of growing chambers is enough. There is also a hidden pitfall here – often the microclimate system, which worked more or less stable in manual mode in the growth chamber for 8-10 tons of substrate, does not perform its function in the chamber for 20-30 tons of substrate. Because if you just put a fan twice as big in capacity and double the duct diameters, you won’t get a properly working system. What to do in this case? Read below.

The third motive to grow oyster mushrooms

You have production facilities where you are already growing some type of mushrooms. After analyzing the market situation, you’ve come to the conclusion that you’d better switch to oyster mushrooms.

For mushroom growers in these two groups, I also recommend hiring a professional consulting technologist, but one rather than two. And strategize the enterprise with him. You may be able to calculate all the areas and sizes of all the systems that require calculations, including the ventilation system. But, as my experience shows, this is not always the case.

The help of a competent specialist will save you from buying unnecessary equipment, dispel your exaggerated expectations, draw your attention to the narrow points in the technological processes.

When you and your technologist have developed the production infrastructure, made a list of the necessary equipment according to the substrate processing technology and mushroom cultivation methodology – you can ask the bank or investors to recommend companies that are engaged in the development of TEE.

In further articles I will describe what production areas are needed and what to pay attention to when choosing equipment and cultivation technology.

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