The goal of any mushroom farmer should be to grow lots of quality mushrooms with as little time and money as possible. The method used should be simple enough that agricultural workers with minimal experience should be able to execute it with ease.
No matter which mushroom species is cultivated, it should have 3 qualities.
- High (BE) – BE is the comparison of the dry weight substrate to the weight of harvested mushrooms from said substrate. For example, if you buy 10kg of dried paddy straw and used it as the substrate to cultivate 10kg of mushrooms, you are said to have had 100% BE. If you instead were able to grow 15 kg of mushrooms on the same amount of paddy straw, BE would be 150%. How can we get 15kg of mushrooms from 10 kg of straw? Keep in mind that mushrooms are usually 85-92% water. It is best to determine the weight of your substrate and the amount of mushrooms harvested to determine your farms overall efficiency.
- High : Each mushroom variety has its own maximum BE and the ease with which it can be obtained in different conditions. Some strains of mushrooms are more suitable for commercial cultivation then others. The mushroom farmer must always choose the best high yield mushroom strain which is also suited for the environmental conditions and available infrastructure for his farm.
- Fast Crop Cycle: There is usually a set number of days between Spawning the substrate and the it takes to get the first crop. This should be preferably as less as possible so as to be able Mushrooms fast. Longer crop cycle means that the substrate would take space in the incubation and growing house for a longer. This hinders daily production especially when cultivating on a smaller scale.
So then how do you choose the best mushroom to grow?
Usually the only way is through trial and error. You would need to familiarize yourself and grow a variety of mushrooms that are within your means on a very small scale and then see which is the most suitable for you.
In the beginning, farmers are passionate about growing as many types of mushrooms as possible. However, it is always advisable to focus on only one variety in beginning and then expand to 2 or 3 more. Each mushroom has its own unique growing requirements and cropping cycle and try to manage everything at once can lead to messing things up, especially when starting out.
We usually advise new mushroom growers to start with oyster mushrooms as they are one of the easiest and cheapest mushrooms to grow. Once you have mastered this and gained confidence in your knowledge and skills, you can jump on to other varieties.