How to start a business in mushroom farming | How to start mushroom farming at home | How to start a mushroom farm: Mushroom farming, which started many years ago, today is one of the most rapidly growing farming businesses. As a business, the predicted growth rate is 10% over the next 5 years. And the US is the world’s second-largest producer.
The exotic mushroom industry has a promising future. Exotic mushroom farming is taking off in sheds, garages, and suburbs. Mushroom is gaining momentum as a versatile ingredient in food and also as an immunity booster. Since many people are cooking at home, and trying interesting recipes, there is a good demand for mushrooms.
Boutique mushroom farms have been opening up all around the world, offering customers a local selection when buying fresh mushrooms. These farms generally produce between 20 to 200 kilos per week and will serve a small geographic area. You can sell to local customers and restaurants. Mushroom farming is gaining popularity among the small business ideas in the food industry.
How to start a business in mushroom farming
Mushroom is important not only as a food, but it has medicinal uses also. Due to the huge demand abroad, the export of mushrooms is slowly picking up. In this article, we will tell you how to start a business in mushroom farming.
Mushroom cultivation requires little land. You can set up a unit in a 20ft x 20ft room, and produce around 50 Kg per week. It is a low-investment small business, where you can start to make profits within a few weeks. When your business scales up, you can rent a small building.
2. Cultivation method
When you have decided on a mushroom species, it’s time to look at the different cultivation methods. Shiitake for example are mainly grown on logs or sawdust. In the Netherlands there is accompany called Groene Takken [Green branches] that has created a business model on selling these logs. In fact, that was the first cultivation method rotterzwam used. But these logs need an outside environment, they prefer shady areas and need to be partially buried. We could not provide that in our swimming pool, so we abandoned this cultivation method.
3. Get your spawn and substrate
You’ll need a spawn to start the culture. You can produce your own spawn using a sterile culture, or you can buy ready-to-inoculate spawn, which are carried by suppliers. Producing your own can be cheaper in the long run, but the start-up costs can be high, so chances are buying the ready-to-inoculate spawn is the way to go for you.
You’ll also need to buy the substrate. Many growers use straw or wood chips. Straw is generally the preferred method. You want straw that can be chopped up into little pieces.
4. Prepare the substrate
First, chop the straw into short pieces. Next, wet the straw. Now it’s time to heat the straw in boiling water. Continue boiling for half an hour and then remove the straw and drain it. Next, spread out the straw on a clean surface and let it cool down.
5. Pack the plastic bags
Now it’s time to pack plastic bags with the straw and spawn. Pack two or three inches of straw into the plastic bag and then lightly sprinkle the spawn on top. Repeat this until you’ve almost filled the bag, close the top and poke holes in the bag.
6. Materials Required
To grow the fungi, you can use disposable plastic bags or buckets with holes on the sides to allow the mushroom to sprout. You will need to buy the substrate like straw or wood chips.
7. Food for mushrooms
Mushroom cultivation is part of a circular industry where waste products can become an income stream. The mushroom’s growing medium or substrate is a by-product of growing grains and legumes. Mushroom farms generally use sawdust or wood pallets to grow mushrooms. To make the substrate that mushrooms like to have, you have to buy organic softwood fuel pellets, wood chips, and soy hulls. Then you have to mix these two ingredients in a biodegradable bag, and then add water to get the right moisture content.
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For your fruiting room, you need a high level of humidity. The temperature will need to be 65 to 70 degrees F. Unlike the incubation room, you’ll actually need a lot of natural light—at least 12 hours a day. To shock your mycelium, which will force it into fruiting, move the bags to a cool place for a day, such as a basement or other cool place, and then move them back to the fruiting room. Next, cut away the bag, which allows mushroom growth to take place.
9. Choose the type of mushroom
Different types of mushrooms have different production costs, and you have to choose one that fits your budget.
Mushrooms are of the following types:
1. Button Mushroom
2. Dhingri (Oyster) Mushroom
3. Paddy Straw Mushroom
Mushroom farming business can be very profitable within few weeks. In addition, starting your own business growing oyster mushrooms for profit is fairly easy.
10. Care and handling
Handling and climate play a crucial role in the mushroom small business. Mushrooms are delicate and can be easily damaged. So, they have to be handled carefully during transportation and display in stores.
11. Selling mushrooms
The market is severely under-supplied; this keeps the mushroom prices high and attracts a growing number of cultivators. You can load a van with the mushrooms and take them down to the local market. You can also open an online shop.
12. Make the product convenient to use
The produced world is moving towards convenience, packaged, and prepared items. Since many people cook mushrooms at home, if you can slice and package them, it will make it easy for them.
13. Start small
It might be tempting to start big, but I recommend you resist that urge. Most successful farmers I know, started small. The biggest oyster mushroom farmer in the Netherland started with the inoculation of one straw bale. There are a lot of advantages to begin small [end even not grow to big].
The tragedy of the commons is an example that specifically applies to farming of what happens when we grow too big and overexploit our surroundings. Next to that research shows that yields can reach nearly twice the yield of typical commercial vegetable farms.