Volume 10 Part 2 Article 21
Title: Mechanical Harvesting of Mushrooms
Author: P.J.C. Vedder
It is since several years the Dutch Mushroom Growers have applied all their skill and have payed all their attention to speed up the production per square meter per annum.
They were forced to do so by the increasing competition on the world market. The productiviness of the farms came under high stress by this competition. A search for means to save expenses was necessary to lower the cost price.
Apart from the pressure on proceeds, there were also the constantly increasing wages in Europe and especially in the Netherlands. Fourty percent of the total costs in mushroom production goes to wages; and the greater part of these are the harvesting costs. Moreover, in some of the areas, pickers are not sufficiently available. The European growers also meet with more and more competition from canned mushrooms out of the so called “low wages countries”. Particularly in the Netherlands the notion established itself that something had to be done about it.
The costprice of mushrooms had to go down especially of those meant for the canning industry.
In this connection somewhat can be gained by the use of certain strains. The picking rate is very much influenced by the size of the fruit bodies. This is one of the reasons why the cultivation of special off-white or ivory white strains has become more and more popular in the Netherlands. These strains combine a high productivity with relatively big mushrooms.
For the pure white strains the average piece weight per mushroom is around 6 gram , for the so called off-white strains it is around 10 gram. (this applies to picking in a tightly closed stage).Please login to download the PDF for this proceeding.