Volume 4 Part 1 Article 56: Mushroom Research in the United Kingdom

Volume 4 Part 1 Article 56
Year 1960
Title: Mushroom Research in the United Kingdom
Author: F.W. Toovey

Abstract:

The national centre for mushroom research in the United Kingdom is the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute which absorbed the work of the former Mushroom Research Station at Yaxley, near Peterborough. The Yaxley station was set up by the Mushroom Research Association, an organization formed by growers to undertake, in the first instance, research on the problems arising from the dwindling supply of good quality manure for composting. After a short period as a private venture the Mushroom Growers’ Association and the Ministry of Agriculture took over, and ultimately the station was entirely financed by the Government. The most important contribution to mushroom growing made at Yaxley was the development of a formula for synthetic compost, but a wide field of research was covered. The Yaxley station closed down in 1954 after nine years of existence.

The Glasshouse Crops Research Institute was officially established in 1953. Its headquarters are at Littlehampton, in the County of Sussex, where the main research station is being developed. The station, which occupies about 100 acres of land, is situated in the heart of the important West Sussex glasshouse area. This is also an important area for mushroom production. The Institute’s terms of reference cover a much wider field than is indicated by its title, and, in fact, its main task is to promote research bearing on the cultivation of glasshouse crops and mushrooms, and of bulbs, flowers and shrubs grown in the open. Although research on glasshouse crops predominates, the mushroom receives a large share of attention as this crop is worth several millions of pounds annually to the country. Reliable statistics are not available, but it is authoritatively estimated that present production is of the order of 40,000,0Q0 lb. a year, worth about £ 6,000,000 to the producers.

The Glasshouse Crops Research Institute is administered by a Governing Body which consists of well-known growers and eminent scientists. It comes under the general supervision of the Agricultural Research Council, and is financed by grants from the United Kingdom government.

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