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What German mushroom producers discuss?


This post is also available in: English


This time 75 Annual Mushroom Conference of German mushroom producers (Jahrestagung des BDC) organised by Bund Deutscher Champignon- und Kulturpilzanbauer e.V. (BDC) took place in Heilbronn, Germany on 28-30 of September 2023. The Conference consisted of German association meeting, The Conference on 29th and the visit to Pilzland farm.

  • At the beginning it was just German mushroom conference – but it gets more and more international, – explains UMDIS Dr Torben Kruse, the CEO of Pilzland and one of the organisers.

And it`s visibly true – coming to the hall you straightaway see suppliers and farms from Netherlands, also people from Poland. Up to 150 participants were present according to the registration.Organisers where good in choosing and covering most of up-to-date – burning and hot – topics for mushroom industry. General situation on the mushroom market in Germany (reports were presented just for German society) – marketing and selling boosters – casing soil – harvesting. Probably just banning of prochloraz was not touched with the reports, probably because in Germany the percentage of eco production is enough high – so the challenge of banning some chemical substances is not “unknown nightmare”.


According to the speakers, the production of mushrooms in Germany in 2021 was 90.050 t of mushrooms, and 85.000 t from them are champignons. As UMDIS was told by German farms – production increased in 2022-2023 as large farm continued to grow. In Germany now function much less than 100 mushroom farms – some of them are very large, some are small – as everywhere in Europe. As a notable tendency – Germans grow, as well as consume, lots of brown champignons: baby bella and portabella.

As now in Europe GEPC (The European Mushroom Growers Promo Group) launches EU co-funded 5 million euros promotion campaign “European Mushrooms, the hidden gem” – the first open presentation at the Conference was devoted to promotion. The presentation was done by Michael Legrand, Grünes media holding. The new mushroom promo film “Healthy Mushrooms” was shown.

According to Grünes media holding – integrated communication of mushroom industry with consumers should consist of elements: website as main source and tool, advertising materials, press, social media and influencers, advertising films, events and school programs. Talking about promotion in social media – for German society as the most suitable channels were named Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Key concepts that mushroom producers can use to boost sellings and awareness of consumers about cultivated mushrooms are: “superheroes – protein, vitamins and minerals source”; “neighbours – sustainably grown regionally”; “perennial favourites – lots of mushrooms varieties”; “delicious – with special aroma for every specious”; “superfood – prevent diseases”.

Another topic offered to participants was casing.  It was presented by Natalie Rangno from Mykolabor Dresden in Institut fur Holztechnologie Dresden – scientist who takes care of the project of modern casing creation without peat. This project is already being worked out for two years. As it is planned for three years – final results will be presented in a year – probably July 2024.

  • We are scientists who were the first in the world who proved mushrooms can be grown without casing soil. Research project is financed by German government. Here mushroom producers import casing from Holland and Poland – they do not have their own recipe. Now we made the test – when we mixed 50% of usual casing and 50% of our casing made without peat and gave it to five farms for testing – 3 of them received better yields on the mixture. The main ingredients of our casing are compost and wood, – tells UMDIS Natalie Rangno, promising to introduce the recipe in one year with showing all ingredients being used.

Talking from the side of our industry – for mushroom producers it is really important not just the ability to change peat-based casing soil with something – but to have this something giving them not smaller number of pins, yield and ability to hold water. Of course, peat can be replaced – but the every county`s government as well as EU who finance such programs should be aware that they cannot force mushroom producers for any quick switches – giving time to get used how to grow using new casing.

  • We never will ban something not helping to find alternative. That is why we finance and maintain such research projects to find alternatives for casing soil for mushrooms in Germany, – comments for UMDIS Dr Thomas Schmidt from German ministry.

Picking, picking… picking

After lunch – started the part completely devoted to harvesting. Organisers managed to gather with presentations five most prominent companies who offer solutions for picking mushrooms – Canadian Mycionics with their hand-picking robot, Dutch Christiaens with drawer system and tilting shelves, Irish Axis with picking conveyor and belts, Belgium TLT-Automation with tilting shelves and Dutch GTL-Europe with their tilting shelves. Notably – tilting shelves from Christiaens and TLT-Automation VS from GTL-Europe are petty different in terms of how they move, etc. As all suppliers are open to show their solutions on real farms – every can choose whatever likes more. Mycionics, by the way, will make the presentation of their robot in November and will install their first robotic drawer harvester soon in 2024, – explained UMDIS Michael Curry, CEO of this company.

30th of September was devoted to new Pilzland farm`s visit – which had been recently built by Limbracco Intermational and GTL-Europe according to modern system. The farm is located in Schwaigern, consists of 4 growing rooms and 4 harvesting rooms – so those processes are separated. It gives more hygiene, larger protection from diseases, as well as it is possible to make the distance between upper shelf and selling in growing room smaller – like the distance between other shelves – that makes the air goes the same way and the process go simultaneously. The growing surface of a room is 1,100m2. The farm is equipped with GTL-Europe tilting shelves with harvesting belts.

  • The pickers take around 120 kilograms per hour – which is pretty high. They do near 50 picks per minute. Actually, the advantage of tilting shelves is what Deckers farm told yesterday. They have tilting shelves for already three years – and their pickers can work 8 hours without getting tired and losing their speed. We gathered calculations from clients – at least more than double increased the speed of picking on the farms where we implemented tilting shelves, – tells Johan Houben from GTL-Europe while showing UMDIS around the Pilzland farm.

According to Johan Houben – already 14 farms with their tilting shelves work in different countries.

  • And after picking – mushrooms are discharged to a climate-controlled corridor on the first floor where the Limbraco packing stations are located, – explains UMDIS Frank Lemmen from Limbraco Intermational. – Here the stems are cut automatically to the correct length and the punnets are filled automatically to the correct weight. Also, fast coolers are being used in packaging.

The emptying system for used compost (champost) here is different – it is thrown by a shutter in the floor on the second storey (or first storey for Germans who start counting from zero) and is discharged by a Limbraco / GTL conveyor system in a concrete tunnel.

  • I think picking is the largest problem now for mushroom farms in Germany, – tells UMDIS agency Eric van Asselt, CEO of CNC. – The future for the industry is automatization and less labour. But namely – without lack of quality of the mushrooms. I believe most of mushrooms for fresh market will be picked by robots in not more than 5-7 years.

That is a very optimistic prognosis – in which we want to trust. The suppliers of such modern picking solutions who know the demand now – are not so confident to provide any direct years – or talk about a bit longer period. The costs of building such modern farm are enough expensive even for German large farm chains. Pilzland is huge mushroom company owning number of farms in Germany – but for this modern investment they took governmental support. The farm is in economic zone, building of the farm was sponsored by government as it is innovational solution. The mushroom farm is located next to a biogas factory. This was one of the requirements for the location of this farm. Next step is to install solar panels on the roof. All this to ensure an optimal climate for cultivation in an environmentally friendly way – what demands nature, future and of course European Union.Want to have the article about your company or farm published here? – You can do this!

UMDIS Mushroom Agency publishes articles in English, Polish and Russian, reaching European mushroom producers as well as lots of American and Australian mushroom growers. Welcome to cooperation – to have the article about your company or farm published here? – You can do this!

UMDIS Mushroom Agency publishes articles in English, Polish and Russian, reaching European mushroom producers as well as lots of American and Australian mushroom growers. Welcome to cooperation –

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