Mushroom Farming is the business of growing fungi for commercial use. The benefits of mushrooms vary from high nutritional food to its medicinal effects on tumour, hepatitis B, diabetes and various other diseases. There are more than 30,000 identified species of edible mushrooms found around the globe. Shitake Mushroom is a popular mushroom in China and Japan. In the United States, Pennsylvania is the largest producer of mushrooms while Connecticut, Florida, Montana also have mushroom producers.
According to Research and Markets forecast, the Mushroom market in the North America accounted for US$ 1.85 Billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% by 2027. As consumers grow more health aware and conscious, mushrooms the demand for mushroom production has spiked. Be it Mexico, Canada, or US, mushroom farming is a bountiful business for entrepreneurs.
Oyster Mushroom Cultivation is a popular culture in Europe and is considered profitable because it's the easiest to start. The major mushroom exporting countries are India, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Korea.
Mushroom cultivation consists of six steps i.e., composting, fertilizing, spawning, casing, pinning and cropping. Besides the benefits, the farming methods is vulnerable to major challenges and limitations. Therefore, you will come across various pros and cons of mushroom farming during the journey.
The production of mushrooms depends on compost from natural or synthetic products, and then mushroom mycelium is sown in the bed called spawning. Then the casing is done in which cow dung and soil is spread over the bed, and after the pinheads are visible after 5-6, it can be harvested easily. The process is quite simple and can be done with minimal requirements. If things go perfectly well, you'll likely experience some advantages of mushroom farming.
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As per research conducted in 2015, the edible mushroom was found to have more than 100 properties beneficial for human health. Furthermore, being the food of the Gods, the mushroom is also good for healing tumors, heart problems, and allergies. Therefore, there’s a great chance to succeed in the mushroom cultivation business, whether you grow it for consumption or medicinal uses.
The cultivation of mushrooms doesn’t require any complicated machinery to plough land and spraying fertilizers or pesticides. It can be done using agricultural waste products to obtain nutrition without the need for land. This is very helpful, especially for the farmers having no or less land.
Once the proper environment is created to suit the mushroom cultivation, very little or no maintenance is required to help its growth. Usually, mushrooms and fungi grow on their own in moisture conditions, and little is needed to be done to flourish its yield.
The mushroom cultivation is done indoors using planks of wood or shelves with controlled moisture conditions. It is not grown on land, and hence the basic requirement for its yield is very less and can be grown anywhere by creating proper conditions.
Mushrooms contain carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins in bulk and contain nutrition value as high nutrition foods. Its nutritional value is comparable to meat in various indexes and scales way upwards than GMOs and organic food. Therefore it is considered a good alternative to traditional vegetables and foods.Bonus Read: Advantages & Disadvantages of Aquaponics
To ensure growth and profit in farming mushrooms in your garden or home requires a proper supply of raw materials and products required in it. To make it a profitable business, proper finance and planning are needed to ensure proper returns. A hygienic environment is needed for better qualities and yield. Although mushroom cultivation is quite simple and easy, there are some drawbacks associated with it. The unforeseen problems and numerous challenges many growers consider disadvantages of mushroom farming.
The taste and nutritional value of mushrooms depend on pH levels. The optimal pH level for all mushroom species is between 5-8, a neutral or slightly acidic medium is required to check the growth of bacteria. However, apart from pH levels, other conditions like sunlight and oxygen make it difficult for farmers to maintain them.
The conditions for different mushroom varieties are different and hence the problems. The case varies, and problems evolved in one community is different from others, so proper crop management is required based on timely solutions.
The mushrooms grow best in the temperature range of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and to maintain temperature, external devices are needed to be installed. However, this increases the overall cost, and external conditions can make it difficult to ensure a proper environment.
The mushrooms are grown in moist conditions, and the smell can become unbearable as this is done indoors. This can spread to your home and furniture and make things worse by becoming intense over time until it requires complete removal and cleaning.
It is the main reason for the harvest failure as it destroys and spreads throughout the crop, making it unfit for eating and other uses. Moreover, if the place is not sterilized well, the doors to contamination of crop to harmful pests is open, and chances of contamination are always high in farming mushrooms and other fungi.
Continue Reading: Advantages & Disadvantages of Organic Farming
Conclusion on Pros and Cons of Mushroom Farming
Overall, mushroom cultivation is a profitable business and one of the simplest farming that can be done in less space with the least resources.However, the proper supply of required raw materials is needed to be ensured for efficient farming. Mushrooms are high-quality foods that benefit various diseases and are also a tasty alternative to other nutritional foods. Even if the business is easier than other forms of cultivation, being aware of the Pros and Cons of Mushroom Farming can save you from unprecedented problems.
They are easy to grow and yield large harvests, compared with other natural resources. In addition, producing mushrooms leave a minimal environmental footprint as 90% of their cultivation is derived from the waste of other agricultural processes. The economic benefits are also significant. The revenue generated by mushroom farming is vast, with an average return per square foot three times greater than traditional row crops like corn or wheat. One acre of mushrooms can earn up to $100 000 while corn averages less than $25 000.
The biggest challenge is finding the correct substrates.
Mushrooms are one of the most important agricultural enterprises in the world. It is also quite profitable since it can be started with a small investment and little space. Therefore, mushroom cultivation is becoming an attractive source of additional income for many farmers.
The demand for specific types of mushrooms is gradually increasing, and there appears to be a lot of potential for development. However, there were only 226 commercial producers of specialty mushrooms in the United States in 2017.