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MODERN MUSHROOM FARMS

We propose modern, energy safe and optimized z solutions for the field of mushroom cultivation

CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT OF MODERN MUSHROOM FARMS

WHICH ELEMENTS MAKE A MODERN MUSHROOM FARM

A professional, industrial mushroom farm is composed of:
• growing rooms provided with necessary air conditioning, ventilation and irrigation systems with a microclimate control system and equipment for cultivation processes (i.e. shelves, picking lorries, nets, tables for weighing mushrooms, scales),
• a communication corridor connecting growing rooms,
• cold storage with shockers,
• packing room, i.e. a separate room located in the immediate vicinity of the cold storage,
• loading ramp, often located inside the packaging warehouse,
• packaging warehouse,
• garage for machines (combine for filling and emptying),
• social, office and sanitary rooms,
• water chiller machine room,
• boiler room.

WHERE TO START THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS

Apart from the question what land you own, you should figure out at the design stage the final effect you want to achieve, which is the amount of mushrooms obtained over a period of time. And this depends on the amount of growing area. Then you are ready to prepare an appropriate project. It is very beneficial to choose a company that specializes in this type of construction. Here are examples of typical mushroom farms implemented by Agro-Projects (general contractor of mushroom farms and other industrial facilities), from design to construction, manufacturing, installation, service & turn-over.

Example 1

• Production: 2200-2400 tons (approx. 5 million pounds) of mushrooms / year
• 12 growing rooms
• Total growing area: 12 rooms x 723.6 m2 = 8683 m2 (total of 28,500 sq. ft.)
• Farm Building adapted to the 3rd phase of compost
• Yield of approx. 30-32 kg (66-70Lbs) of mushrooms per m2 (10 sq. ft.) of cultivation
• Filling of compost: approx. 85-88 kg (187-194Lbs) / m2 (10 sq. ft.) of crop
• The amount of compost needed - 124 tons (273,370Lbs) / week
• Filling of casing approx. 40 kg (88Lbs) / m2 (10 sq. ft.)
• Cycle: 6 weeks (from filling to emptying the growing room with compost & casing)
• The mushrooms are picked three times during that time
• Way of filling / emptying: mechanical
• Collection: manual or mechanical (electric picking lorries are recommended)

Example 2

• Production:. 5600-5800 tons (approx. 12,6 million pounds) of mushrooms / year
• 24 growing rooms
• Total growing area: 24 x 916.6 m2 = 21 997 m2 (total of 72,169 sq. ft.)
• Farm building adapted to the 3rd phase of compost
• Yield of approx. 30-32 kg (66-70Lbs) of mushrooms per m2 (10 sq. ft.) of cultivation
• Loading of compost: approx. 85-88 kg (187-194Lbs) / m2 (10 sq. ft.) of crop • The amount of compost needed - 320 tons (706,000Lbs) / week
• Filling of the casing approx. 40 kg / m2 (88Lbs) / m2 (10 sq. ft.)
• Cycle: 6 weeks (from filling to emptying the chamber with compost & casing)
• The mushrooms are picked three times during that time
• Way of filling / emptying: mechanical
• Collection: manual or mechanical (electric picking lorries are recommended)

WHICH MEDIA ARE NEEDED - LARGE PRODUCTION 5600-5800 TON (12,6 million pounds) OF MUSHROOMS / year (approximate data)

• Water demand: 34 000 m3 (9 million gallons) / year
• Area for investment - min: 3 ha. (7,5 Acre)
• Power consumption: 1600 kW
• Gas consumption: 320-400 m3 (11,3MCF – 14,12MCF)/ h

WHAT YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO IN PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION

First, the thermal insulation of walls and ceilings. This is particularly important due to the specific technology of mushroom production, including so-called “cooking” (steaming) the growing rooms. During this process there could be an extreme difference between the temperature inside the room, which can reach over 70 C (158 F), and the outside temperature, i.e. -15 C (5 F), and it needs to be maintained for several hours. That is why choosing materials for the building walls & ceilings, insulation properties, vapor tightness parameters are so important. The extreme conditions inside the rooms (i.e. high humidity) make it also very important to choose materials with high durability of anti-corrosion coating. It has now become more and more common to use sandwich panels with a polyurethane core clad in steel. In addition to the excellent parameters of the building itself, it is necessary to use special exterior gates for growing rooms, separating the interior from the exterior environment and interior doors to growing rooms with appropriate parameters heat & vapor transmission.

WHICH SYSTEMS AND INSTALLATIONS YOU MUST EQUIP THE MUSHROOM FARM

1. Refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and C.O. installations that will ensure optimal air parameters inside the growing rooms.
2. Microclimate control system, enabling central control of all parameters that are inside the growing rooms. The system measures humidity, temperature and CO2 concentration inside growing rooms. External technological devices (cooling, heating, air conditioning) controlled system, which additionally reads the parameters of the outside air, allowing to change the microclimatic conditions inside each room separately.
3. Ground irrigation system, which is installed over each growing shelf. It consists of a water main, equipped with an inverter controlled feed pump and spraying nozzles. The system is completed by hydraulic components to open and close valves automatically. The optimal solution is that the supplied nozzles have an 'anti-drip' module. The set should also contain inlet solenoid valves, drain valves on the supply divisions at the rack, valves at the end of the shelf, system pressure sensor and a meter to measure water flow. As an option there is also a dosing system for water additives and a top shelf hangers for the irrigation system.
4. Lighting system for growing rooms, usually in the form of hermetic LED lamps resistant to difficult conditions inside the growing rooms.

WHICH EQUIPMENT IS NECESSARY

Professional equipment, made of durable, anti-corrosive materials, and therefore:

• growing shelves,
• growing nets,
• lorries for picking the upper shelves,
• trolleys for picking the lower shelves,
• mushroom weighing table and lots of scales,
• containers for stems.

HOW TO GROW

Cycles: in buildings that do not have air conditioning, mushrooms are grown in two cycles during the year - spring (December or January) and autumn (started in August). In modern farms equipped with air conditioning, mushroom production can be carried out throughout the year in more than 8 cycles.

Requirements: the mushroom does not need light for its growth. It is also easier to maintain moisture in dark areas. It does not contain chlorophyll, so it does not have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide. The factor that has a significant impact on the success of the crop is the temperature, which should oscillate between 12-20 ° C. Due to the large amount of carbon dioxide released, accompanying the decomposition of the substrate, the cultivation room is constantly ventilated using air-conditioning units and pressure relief blinds.

Substrate: a suitable substrate is necessary for cultivation. Currently, it is possible to buy a ready substrate with mycelium that can be in two stages of development. The substrate in the third phase allows you to obtain mushrooms just three weeks after loading on the growing rack. The third phase is the substrate with already overgrown mycelium. The ground used for growing mushrooms is a mushroom compost that is fermented, horse or chicken manure with straw. Prepared substrate should be loaded with casing onto the growing shelf, which is continuously sprayed with water. After about 3 weeks, mycelial hypertrophy (mushroom spawn) occurs.

Yield: per one square meter of mycelium about 18 cm thick, more than 30 kg of mushrooms can grow. This means that a room with a growing area of i.e. 560 m2 (1,840 Sq. ft.), about 17 tons (37,5 thousand pounds) of mushrooms will grow. The yield is fairly large, because mushroom can increase its size by up to 50% just in one day.

Hygiene: one of the most dangerous growing diseases is the so-called green mold. This disease can destroy the entire crop, and when it appears, it is difficult to distinguish it from the mycelium. Sealing off the growing room does not always give best results, therefore an effective method of getting rid of unwanted microorganisms is the daily disinfection of the walkways around the shelves. Once a week, as well as during times between the cycles, complete disinfection is necessary. When the mold sets in, there is no way to control it. It is worth adding that the source of diseases in mushrooms are often the employees themselves. That's why it is so important to disinfect aprons daily, use disposable gloves and regularly clean the picking knives This procedure very effectively eliminates the transfer of mold spores directly to the crop.

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