3 Production Risks To Be Aware Of With Oyster Mushroom

3 Production Risks To Be Aware Of With Oyster Mushroom

It is interesting to note that it only takes less than a month to plant and start harvesting oyster mushrooms. After that a farmer enjoys a future cultivation and harvesting period of at least 4 – 6 months. Currently in Harare, oyster mushroom is retailing at US$1,50/kg. Put simply, farmers serious about oyster mushroom production often make a steady and regular income from the project. However, nothing good comes easy, this business demands adequate skills and perseverance in managing the cultivation process. The business comes with its own set of risks which should always be at the attention of the farmer. In this article we attempt to give a brief run down of some of the risk associated with oyster mushroom production and what you can best do avert them.

1.   Poor Pasteurization Risk

Oyster mushroom farmers spread across Zimbabwe are incurring losses by failing to observe proper pasteurization practices. The rule of thumb in mushroom production is that every material used in the production process as well as the growing house must be pasteurized. The process of pasteurizing eliminates insects, nematodes, fungi and any other organisms in the substrate or growing house. You may observe this anomaly in instances where developing mushrooms develop a discoloration effect. The best way to avoid poor yield risk therefore is to follow closely the steps outlined in the production oyster mushroom guide. Startup farmers need to understand that poor pasteurization during any of the preparatory stages often leads to poor harvests as some growing bags become contaminated.

2. Risk For Mycellium Development Disorders Due To Pest Infestations

Oyster mushrooms are also probe to suffer from pest infestations which deform the mycellium. The most common pests are the Scarid Fly or the Phorid fly and these often lay eggs in the holes punched on the growing bag. This disorder is proof of a poor disinfection process in the cultivation and watering stage. Without proper remedial actions in place the eggs develop into forming a larvae which consumes the developing mycellium. Infected bags develop a mycellium which is thin and patchy thud affecting the quality of harvested mushrooms. The best way to prevent this pest disorder is to install fly traps in and around the growing house so as to trap the adult flies which lay eggs. You get more guidelines to dealing with this disorder from our mushroom production guide.

3. Poor Raw Material Quality Control Measures

Where no quality control measures are in place to guide the selection and use of raw materials, farmers will suffer disappointing yields. Oyster mushrooms tends to perform differently in terms of yields depending on the type of agricultural waste (cotton husks, wheat straw, sunflower stalks, sugarcane waste, dried grass and saw dust among many others) used as substrate. High quality substrate should contain a relatively high organic matter. In most cases, saw dust has the least organic matter when compared to cotton husks and/or wheat straws. It is advisable to confirm with your agronomist on the best quality substrate to use. However, it also serves you well to counter this risk factor by adding gypsum to your pasteurized substrate before spawning.

The best way to guard against production risks in oyster mushroom cultivation is to ensure you operate in a properly disinfected environment. You can also make use of natural insecticides, trap lights and fly netting for risks to pest disorders.

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