Mushroom farming remains one of the most lucrative small businesses in the world, though very few venture into it. While you’re busy with something else, someone is deep into commercial mushroom farming and making millions.
All that is involved in mushroom farming is to find out the edible specie of mushroom, collect the spawn and grow it. Your income depends on how large your farm is and how bountiful your harvest can be.
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of a kind of fungi. They grow on their source of food which is usually a rotting wood, and on the soil. Though some species of fungi are harmful and contain toxins, other edible species that have amazing tastes are good and nourish the body massively.
Despite its high demands, the number of mushroom farmers across the globe is still meager. Many people still overlook mushrooms not believing that you can earn a living from them. Sometimes, mushrooms are even imported from another country.
If you so much want to earn from a mushroom business, here’s a guide on how to start one. But before getting right into it, here are some things to consider
How profitable is the mushroom farm business?
Like I said earlier, mushrooms have a high demand with a low supply. You don’t have to worry about buyers because they’ll locate you immediately after your harvest is due. As a farmer, hard work is necessary, but in mushroom farming, you’ll earn as much as you want
Mushroom farmers make millions or at least as much as was invested.
How much does starting a mushroom farm cost?
The cost to starting a mushroom farm can initially range from $4000-$600,000 depending on big you want your commercial mushroom to be. The startup cost for farming mushroom would be on the less side if some of the essentials are present.
But subsequently, the cost of maintaining the farm will reduce as some requirements are already available.
How to start a mushroom farming business
Learn about mushrooms and how to grow them.
You must have experience with how to grow mushrooms before you go to the business. Venturing into the business without any experience will make you go against some rules and make so many mistakes that will increase the cost of production, decrease your profit or even make you lose the entire farm. Get the experience so that you can confidently run your farm with no worries.
Find a good Location for your mushroom farm.
For an indoor mushroom farm, you’ll need land of at least 20ft x 20ft room to produce around 50 Kg per week. You may keep your farm in one corner of your residence. Your farm mustn’t necessarily be located far away. Not so much area is needed so finding a location is not usually a big issue.
Buy the necessary equipment and tools.
You’ll need to get all the necessary tools and equipment for growing mushrooms effectively. These necessary materials include plastic bags or buckets, substrates like straw or wood chips, gloves and disinfectants, and sprayers to mist the mushrooms. A perforated plastic bag or bucket will give the mushroom a good opportunity for sprouting, wood chips are a good substrate for indoor cultivation while gloves and disinfectants are to ensure the cleanliness of your body and the farm.
Choose the type of mushroom to grow
Different types of mushrooms have different production costs, and you have to choose one that fits your budget. Some of the best mushroom species are Shiitake (Letinula Edodes), Pink Oysters (Pleurotus Ostreatus), Morels (Morchella Esculenta), Chanterelles (Cantharellus Cibarius). Other mushroom species are Lion’s mane, Button mushrooms, and paddy straw mushrooms. They are very rich in proteins, fibers, and minerals.
Collect the mushroom spawn and begin growing the mushrooms
To grow mushrooms, you need the spawn also called the eggs or seed Or, you can produce your spawn through a sterile culture. This will be cheaper in the long run. Get your spawn from a reliable source so that they be of good quality and develop into a healthy mushroom.
Two main mushroom growing processes
You can grow mushrooms both indoors and outdoors.
Indoor cultivation is more technical and requires much experience and care. Modern facilities are used to grow the mushroom inside an inoculated room with inoculated bags.
After sterilization of the culture, the substrate is cooled down back to room temperature. This process takes from 20 hours to a few days. Next, the air in the bag is disinfected using a High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing (HEPA) filter.
After introducing scoops of mushroom mycelium into the bags of sterile substrate. Then the mycelium will start to consume the substrate. Shift the substrate to an incubation room at room temperature between 21 to 22 degrees C at all times, then to a fruiting chamber after two weeks. This chamber must have a temperature between a certain range, a very high humidity, Lights of a certain spectrum, Low carbon dioxide levels, and a small hole in the face of each bag. This is to allow the fresh air and humidity to touch the mycelium and the substrate.
After a week you’ll have your mushroom growing, wait for it’s harvest harvest.
Log cultivation is the local manner of growing mushrooms. It requires much labor with low technical know-how. In this process, mushrooms are grown on a large log of wood outside. After purchasing a log of wood, you inoculate them with mushroom spores and sawdust mixture at the beginning of the growing season.
The logs will grow mushrooms in temperate weather where there is cold rain followed by sunshine just as seen in the wild forests.
Mushroom growing tips
The mushroom will grow over the next few months, before they are harvested and sold.
Feed the mushroom
The mushroom grows as a by-product of growing grains and legumes. Mushroom farms generally use sawdust or wood pallets to grow mushrooms. To make the thing look better you need 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.
Care and handling
While growing on the farm, during harvest, and after-sale, mushrooms should be handled with absolute care. Their delicate nature requires carefulness while dealing with them. You don’t want your handwork to be easily destroyed, do you?
Market and sell the mushrooms
Once your mushroom is due, you can harvest them and take them to the local market or you can sell them online. Because it doesn’t have so much supply as to the demands, you’ll sell at a high price quickly and get back for another round.
Make the product convenient for customers’ use
Your packaging and delivery method matter a lot. People don’t like anything that commands so much stress. They are ready to get your product at any price as long as you’ve made it ready for use. Bear this in mind when marketing your mushroom.
Mushroom plus bucks!
Apart from selling your main farm produce, mushrooms other minor things can give your extra bucks from your mushroom farm. For instance, You can sell mushroom spawn to other growers. You can also sell ‘Grow Kits’ which are meant for first-time growers, and help the mushrooms grow very fast. There are other mushrooms I spired products you can sell and make money such as dried mushrooms, mushroom tinctures, and mushroom jerky.
You can still reach others how to start and run the business either physically or through online means and monetize your services. All these are beautiful features of mushroom farming that keep it ever lucrative.
Benefits of mushroom farming
There are many advantages of mushroom farming:
- The mushroom itself is nutritious and has a great taste, you as a farmer will enjoy what you grow
- It yields in a few months and it’s available in all weather, all year round
- It doesn’t cost much to start up yet its gain is amazing
- There’s a high demand for mushrooms locally and internationally
- A mushroom doesn’t need much to grow. A log of wood or compost of degradable biowaste can grow your mushroom
Challenges faced in mushroom farming
Mushroom farming is profitable, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean there are no challenges. Challenges come in so many ways such as pests, dangerous fungi growing amongst the mushroom, weather disasters, and so on.
A popular Fungus that destroys the mushroom farm is the Inky white toadstool. It can ruin your farm if not properly handled. Since mushroom cultivation is a labor-intensive process, a shortage of labor can affect your operations. Lack of compost and facilities is another difficulty that growers face. As a mushroom farmer knowing that your retailers consider price and quality should make you be careful and manage the challenges so well.
There are so many advantages accompanying mushroom farming. First, Harvest is continual and not seasonal-so, as a mushroom farmer you can make money throughout the year depending on how much work and effort you put in. Mushroom farming is interesting, but not so many are involved in it. It’s easy to run and manage. Within a few months, you can sell your yield and pocket your profits. You are lucky to have considered this business. Just learn the process and follow them and you’d have for yourself a booming business.