Volume 12 Part 1 Article 55: Factors Infloencing Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) Yield and Quality in Plastic Bag and Tunnel Growing

Volume 12 Part 1 Article 55
Year 1989
Title: Factors Infloencing Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) Yield and Quality in Plastic Bag and Tunnel Growing
Author: W.P. Staunton


The mushroom industry has developed very significantly in the Republic of Ireland from a level of 6,800 tonnes in 1980 to 21,700 tonnes in 1987. This expansion has taken place concurrently with a major change in the growing system from a few large farms growing in wooden trays to a large number of small units based on a plastic bag and tunnel growing system. Central specialist composters supply spawned compost in bags to these units. By July 1987, there were a total of 329 growers with 1,294 plastic tunnels. The tunnels measuring 33.5 x 6.5 m consist of an inner steel framework covered by a white plastic sheet, 125 rrm of fibreglass insulation with an outer sheet of heavy gauge black plastic. Approximately 800 plastic bags containing 25 kg of compost can be placed on the floor of these houses giving a capacity of about 20 tonnes.

The use of the plastic growing system enabled the entry of growers with little capital into the mushroom business. These growers would have been unable to meet the costs of establishing a large tray or shelf farm.

This system of production has greatly improved the ccmpetitive position of the Irish industry with the growers producing good yields (200-250 kg/tonne) of quality mushroctns at a ccjrpetitive cost.

The widespread adoption of bulk pasteurisers for peak heating in Ireland in recent years, has resulted in improved compost quality in terms of uniformity and yield. The bulk pasteurisers in use are an adaption of the lowcost easily constructed prototype developed by McCanna (1979).

Much of the research in the raushrtxm unit at Kinsealy Research Centre, Dublin has centred on the research and developnent of the plastic bag and tunnel growing system with the object of optimising yield and quality. This paper reports on sane of this work.

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