Why Grow Oyster Mushrooms?

Why grow Oyster Mushrooms
Why grow Oyster Mushrooms?

When it comes to the top 100 farm investments, Oyster mushroom makes the list, and that’s why you just have to be one of those farmers that grow Oyster mushrooms.

It is an easy to start and very profitable agribusiness requiring less startup capital.

As there are great demands for mushrooms, interestingly, the required equipment for commencing the business are readily available.

Why Grow Oyster Mushrooms
Why Grow Oyster Mushrooms?

Wait, let me shock you a little with this uncommon information.

Are you even aware that you can actually grow Oyster mushrooms or any other species of mushrooms in any empty room in your house?

It’s just so easy to begin a mushroom farming business.

Don’t get too excited yet, just relax and grab every detailed knowledge you need to know about mushroom cultivation then make moves to begin launching your mushroom farm.

Table of Contents

Mushroom Cultivation – What Does This Mean?

Mushroom cultivation, also called mushroom rearing or farming is a type of farming scientifically referred to as Fungi culture, Mushroomology or Mycology.

This simply defines mushroom cultivation as the act of growing the fungi known as mushrooms.

Regardless of the way it may sound to you, Mushroom cultivation does not involve the growing of crops. However, it is the growing or nurturing of fungus so as to produce mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom Farming

Unfortunately, the modern day farming practices such as the use of fertilizers has become an obstacle on the natural growth of mushrooms.

In addition, deforestation, change in weather and global warming all contributed to the disappearance of this wonderful food source

What Are The Best Species Of Mushroom??

According to a recent discovery, there are about 10,000 known types of mushrooms.

They are classified under the followings;

  • Poisonous Mushrooms
  • Medicinal Mushrooms
  • Edible mushrooms

In this resource today, we will discuss only the edible oyster mushroom (what it is and how to grow it)

Maybe, some other time, we will look into the other two types of mushrooms.

Health/Nutritional Importance Of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are frequently in high demands because they possess several nutritional value.

Most significantly, they aid in cancer prevention, are immune boosters, and offer nutrients with anti-ageing properties

The following below are primary benefits of consuming mushrooms;

1. Mushrooms Contain Immune  Nutrients:

Different types of edible mushrooms comprises different degrees of fibre and protein.

Additionally, they contain B vitamins and selenium (a powerful antioxidant that aids to support the immune system and avoid cells and tissues damages.

2. Rich Source Of vitamin D:

As we may know, white button mushrooms are one of the many non-animal sources of vitamin D. And upon their growth, be it outdoor or indoors, they have direct contact to UV light which steps up their concentration of vitamin D.

3. Protection Against Cancer:

The good news is that there are several species of mushrooms with a potential capacity of preventing cancer.

They achieve this simply by shielding our cells against DNA damage inasmuch as they may inhibit tumour formation.

More so, there are proves that Mushrooms tend to be beneficial in the management and cure of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

4. Ability To Maintain Healthy Heart

Again, Mushrooms have proven to contain few therapeutic properties that aid in lowing cholesterol, which is quite evident especially in overweight adults.

Furthermore, they manufacture phytonutrients with the capacity to stop cells from gluing to blood vessel walls and creating a plaque build-up.

Generally, these actions facilitate the protection of the heart by maintaining a healthy blood circulation and pressure.

Why Start A Mushroom Farming Business?

Just as you may be asking why you should begin farming mushrooms.

Amongst all Farm business ideas, the following reasons are why you should consider venturing into this agribusiness;

1. Requires Low Capital Or Startup Cost:

Unlike commercial Fish rearing, there is no need for a large farmland (which is however capital intensive) to launch your mushroom farming business.

Just have an available room (empty room) in your house and then you are ready to grow mushrooms!

Best Way To Grow Oyster Mushrooms

Every other equipment needed unlike the Land Snail Rearing Equipment are quite affordable to obtain.

2. Readily Available Equipment/ Raw Materials For Startup:

The core raw material required for mushroom farming production is sawdust. Once you have it, everyother material will fall in place.

Luckily, sawdust can readily be found in every wood mills.

3. Easy Manageability Of Mushroom Farms:

Unlike the land practices in most farming business, there is no need to plough, weed or even apply fertilization in the land in mushroom farming.

There is only two jobs to do which is to:

  1. Spray water on the blocks with the aid of a knapsack [and]
  2. Harvest the mushrooms as they appear

4. Helps In Agro-waste Management:

Did you know that Mushrooms are bio-converter with the capacity of converting organic wastes into useful food? Yes, they do.

They use organic wastes like leaves and straws, grass, sawdust and paper. And these are all biodegradable.

5. Rapid Growth Rate:

Mushrooms are harvestable six (6) weeks after planting them.

Now, you can see how fast their growing process is when compared to that of several other crops.

6. Mushrooms Are Good Source Of Income:

Mushrooms products and produce are of high demands and valued across nations/countries.

Therefore, farming mushrooms can generate steady flow of income for you, as you could either decide to sell locally or export as foreign trade.

7. Contains High Nutritional Composition:

In terms of nutrition, Mushrooms are also beneficial as they have rich fibre, antioxidants and vitamin contents.

Thereby making them quite edible and satisfying.

How To Start A Mushroom Farm – Beginners’ Guide

I am happy that you now understand and see Mushroom farming as one of those agribusiness opportunities that can make one a millionaire.

You are eager to start a mushroom farm right now, but you just don’t know where and how to begin right?

Grow Oyster Mushrooms

Yes, I feel that, and that’s why I decided to come in. In this subsection of this resource, I will be enlightening you on how to start your own mushroom farm and the basic materials that you need for the startup.

First of all, before we get started with that, it would be so wrong if you don’t understand certain terminologies used in Mushroom farming.

So, lets discuss them

What are the commonly used terms in Mushrooms Farming?

1. Mixing: 

The involves the mixture of your sawdust, calcium carbonate and wheat bran with water so as to form a substrate.

2. Bagging: 

The act of storing your substrate in a bag just before pasteurization.

3. Fumigation: 

The act of destroying insects or/and pests in your incubating room.

4. Composting: 

This is the substrate in which the mushroom mycelium grows and on which it yields fruiting bodies.

More so, this is the product of a fermentation process produced by a number of thermophilic and mesophilic microorganisms able to decompose plant residues (and other inorganic and organic matters).

5. Substrate: 

This is the soil in which a mushroom can grow.

More so, it is the surface or material on or fro which organisms breathe, grow or acquire nourishment.

6. Mushroom Blocks: 

This is the result of mixing and bagging your substrate into nylon bags.

The nylon loaded bags are further heated or pasteurized to create a solid referred to as a BLOCK –on which the mushrooms germinate.

7. Spawns: 

This is the fungi or seed grown to produce mushrooms.

8. Pasteurization unit: 

This refers to the space or place where the blocks are heated for about 12 hours (nothing less) to destroy bacteria, germs, and other microorganisms.

9. Mycelium: 

This is the body of a fungus (hidden within the wood or underground).

10. Ramification: 

This is said to be what occurs when the spawns start to grow in the block.

The spawns spread their roots in the block till the block becomes white in colour.

11. Ramified: 

The complete turning of white by the mushrooms.

12. Sterilization: 

This involves processes that deactivates, removes or destroys all forms of microorganisms like spores, bacteria, fungi, and even unicellular eukaryotic organisms like Plasmodium.

13. Inoculation:

This refers to the cultivation of the mushrooms spawns into the blocks.

14. Incubating room: 

This is a dark room with little amount of oxygen and light where the Blocks’ ramification process is done.

For better understanding, this room is built by sealing all parts of the room with a plastic bag (preferably black in colour).

Additionally, this room is often pitch black, so you will need a torchlight for locomotion in the room.

15. First generation spawn: 

This is simply the initial time mushroom mycelium is transferred onto the grain.

16. First flush: 

Refers to the initial plucking of a Mushroom (especially during harvest season).

17. Fruiting/Cultivating room: 

This is a cool space or room where the blocks are stored to commence mushroom production.

18. Fruiting: 

Involves the process where the completely ramified blocks begin to produce mushrooms.

Recurrent Raw Materials Required In Order To Grow Oyster Mushrooms

When I mean recurrent materials, I’m trying to say that such materials are to be bought every time and anytime you wish to produce oyster mushrooms.

fruiting-Oyster-mushroom-block

Such materials have short durability, and they include:

  1. Water (10 litres
  2. Calcium carbonate (1kg)
  3. Mucus spirit
  4. Cotton wool
  5. Nose mask
  6. Gas
  7. Saw dust (100kg)
  8. Wheat bran (5kg)
  9. Ice block nylon
  10. Rubber bands
  11. PVC pipes
  12. Bleach
  13. Fumigant (for disinfecting the building)
  14. Disposable gloves

Fixed Assets For Production Of Mushrooms

  1. Gas cylinder
  2. Gas burner
  3. Table and chairs (optional)
  4. Hook-scale
  5. Digital table scale
  6. The building
  7. Fruiting room
  8. Incubating room
  9. Production room
  10. Drums
  11. Shovel
  12. Synthetic Ropes
  13. Shelves or ropes
  14. Knapsack
  15. Labour
  16. Large black nylons
  17. Razor blades

As soon as you have the aforementioned materials with you, you are ready for Oyster Mushrooms farming or production.

Practical Steps On How To Grow Mushrooms

Finally, we have arrived at the big deal of the day.

You are ready to grow oyster mushrooms, but don’t know how right?

Lets learn. Shall we?

Generally, there are five (5) steps in oyster mushroom production, and they include;

  • Composting
  • Spawning
  •  Casing
  • Spinning
  • Cropping

However, for easy understanding, I will break them down into sub-steps.

Step 1 – Prepare the incubation room:

In mushroom farming, you only need to fumigate and sterilize the incubating room as a land preparation practice unlike that of other crops.

This step is crucial as mushroom production needs sanitation and hygiene at their prime.

This means that even a slight contamination in your mushroom farm can result to infertility of your mushrooms.

All materials including the handler (farmer) must be sterilized before moving or stepping into the incubation room.

This means that suppose you leave the incubation room 5 times, you must have to sterilize yourself for the same amount of times *this may sound creepy, but that’s the fact.

Step 2 – Scale the amount of ingredients you require:

You can achieve this by using the digital or hook scale to measure the quantity of ingredients that you require.

The ingredients to measure include the following;

  1. Wheat offal
  2. Sawdust [and]
  3. Calcium carbonate

Make use of the hook scale to measure 5kg of Wheat offal and 100kg of sawdust.

Hook scale remains the best for scaling heavyweights, and that’s why we adopted it here.

Use the digital scale to measure only 1kg of calcium carbonate.

Well, depending on the dampness of the sawdust, and to bring it to the appropriate texture, 10 litres of water should be enough.

Step 3 – Screen the sawdust to discard unwanted debris:

Once you’ve measured the sawdust, empty it on a clean surface and then screen correctly to discard every unwanted objects in it.

Don’t get confused, this can be done on a clean cemented floor.

All you need to do is to use a shovel or your hand to turn the sawdust gradually to deselect nylons, woods, stones, and other unwanted objects.

Step 4 – Collectively Mix the ingredients:

In this step, you are to mix the wheat offal, calcium carbonate and sawdust all together.

You can begin by spreading the 100kg sawdust on the cemented ground with the aid of a shovel so as to increase the surface area.

Once that is done, quickly spread the Ikg calcium carbonate and 5kg wheat offal all over the sawdust and mix properly.

In order to achieve this, the use of shovel is highly recommended and you turn until the mixture is consistent.

Up next, slowly introduce water and then mix together with your hands, afterwards test to confirm if it’s well moistened.

In order to test if the water is perfect, grab some of the mixtures in your hand and then squeeze tight.

Note that the mixture in your hand must be compacted together and must also take the shape of the squeeze.

RESULTS:

Suppose it doesn’t compact together or even breaks easily, quickly add more water slowly and then mix.

However, if it drips water, then this shows that the water content is quite much.

Please, avoid such situation by all means.

Step 5 – Bag the substrates, scale and then seal nylon:

Soon after obtaining the proper moisture content in your substrate, load it into small bags.

How do you do that?

Tie the bottom or sealed part of the ice block nylon bags, afterwards turn it inside out, so as to ensure that substrate fills every corner of the bag.

Secondly, put few substrate into the bag with your hand, then hiya the bottom gently on the floor. Afterwards, press down with your hand to prevent air gaps.

Why Farm Oyster Mushrooms

Next, measure the bag with the substrate using the digital scale to obtain a 1kg measurement.

Lastly, you have to repeat this process until the entire substrate on the floor is exhausted.

Step 6 – Treat the blocks with heat [i.e Pasteurization]:

Once you’ve bagged the substrates inside the nylon bags, the last outcome is referred to as mushroom Blocks.

In addition, these blocks need to be treated so as to destroy germs and microorganisms inside of them.

The best way to achieve this is by pasteurization, which involves heating the blocks consistently for as long as 12 hours.

This is done by placing a metallic drum over the gas burner and then adding sufficient water to it.

Next after that is to throw in some huge stones or wood trunks until the water shows atom of invisibility.

This is actually done to ensure that water in the drum doesn’t interact with the blocks.

Well, for this cause, only the steam emanating from the boiling water in the drum to pasteurize the blocks.

As soon as everything is ready, stack the mushroom blocks on the wood trunks or stones to fill up the drum.

Afterwards, make use of a black plastic bag to enclose the drum rightly so as to make sure that the steam doesn’t evaporate and the heat retained.

Don’t forget to put on your gas and then permit the setup to heat up for 12 hours.

After 12 hours, put off the gas and leave them set up like that to cool for about 24 hours.

Timing at this phase is of essence.

Step 7 – Inoculation in the incubation room:

You should be aware that this step is the most crucial in the mushroom production process.

That being said, a slight error would amount a heavy cost.

Ensure no contamination is introduced into the incubation room by sterilizing every block one after the other just before taking them in. You must be careful.

For cleaning, make use of a white handkerchief dipped in hypochlorite solution to clean the body of every block.

You as the farmer isn’t exempted, you must sterilize yourself just before entering the incubating room by washing your feet and hands in a bowl of hypochlorite solution (commonly called bleach).

In addition, you should also wear hand gloves and then a face mask in order to ensure your spit doesn’t drips down and surgical hand gloves.

Don’t forget to make use of a sterilized spoon in breaking of the spawns apart into a sterilized bowl.

Next, to successfully inoculate a block, you have to sterilize your hand by applying some bleach solution on your palm.

Shortly after, make use of a sterilized spoon to spread some spawns inside the blocks (particularly, around the edges of the bag).

Also, ensure the spawns are interacting with each other and create a complete ring around the edges of the block.

Afterwards, push the open part of the bag via a PVC pipe and then press downwards to leave a minute opening the just as the size of the PVC pipe.

Furthermore, make use of a rubber band to firmly hold this arrangement in place and use cotton wool to close the little opening, so as to stop contaminants from finding their way into the block.

As soon as your block is ready, set it aside in one corner of the incubation room.

Put this process in motion for all the blocks.

Step 8 – Patiently Wait For Ramification To Occur:

You must arrange the blocks in the incubation room in a way that you can easily move around to sort them.

Soon after the arrangement, lock the room for about two (2) weeks in order for ramification to occur.

And after the two weeks, return to confirm whether ramification or/and even contamination has occurred.

A contaminated block appears green whereas a ramified block turns white.

Upon contamination, please quickly remove.

Also note that few blocks may appear to be black in colour, indicating a very hot temperature in the incubating room.

In this situation, improving the temperature is the remedy.
And to achieve this, place a thatch on the roof (as this has a way of reducing the adverse effect of heat from sunlight).
The best temperature for mushrooms ranges from 25°c – 27°c

It can take 3 – 4 weeks for the mushroom blocks to completely ramify.

Step 9 – Must hang your ramified blocks in the fruiting room:

You are to bring the ramified blocks into the fruiting room after about 4 weeks of ramification process in the incubating room.

Recall that the incubating room doesn’t allow light and oxygen, well the fruiting room does!

However, just before bringing out the blocks, there’s need to sterilize the fruiting room.

And to do this, we use the knapsack.

What’s the process?

First, mix a hypochlorite solution [commonly known as bleach] poured into the knapsack.

Afterwards, spray the solution generously at every corner of the fruit room with the roof not exempted.

Ensure to spray on every spot continuously until the solution begins to drip the ground.

Once you’re done with the thorough sterilisation, fetch the ramified blocks for tying, and then remove the cotton wool closing the small opening at the top of the block.

Have in mind that any excess nylon should be cut off.

You must do these two things after thorough sterilization so as to easily wet the block properly.

Step 10 – Wet blocks daily:

Next, after concluding with tying the blocks, wet the blocks everyday until the usefulness of the block is exhausted.

Always wet the blocks very early in the morning.

Suppose there is a hot weather (for instance, in dry season), you would need to wet the blocks at least three (3) times per day.

How To Wet The Blocks?

Fill up a knapsack with clean water and then spray on the blocks.

For proper wetting, you must spray the water all over the blocks.

Step 11 – Fruiting and harvesting, Scaling, Drying and Bagging:

If you got to this step, congratulations!

This is the grand finale! (Last step).

As soon as the mushroom block begins to fruit, you will now have to do your harvesting every 3 to 5 days in a week.

Recall that Mushroom can take up to 6 weeks before it Begins fruiting, and then after the 6th week, it continues to fruit for about 6 months.

How To Harvest Mushrooms?

In order to harvest mushrooms from the block, simply twist it to initiate a break off from its roots.

More so, you can equally decide to scale your mushrooms and then market them as they are fresh.

MARKET ALERT:

You must sell off all fresh mushrooms as soon as possible as mushrooms have a very short durability.

Methods Of Preserving Oyster Mushrooms

They include;

  • Powdering
  • Freezing
  • Turning into ketchup, tinctures or pickling.

Also note that when cooked or refrigerated, their shell-life can be extended by 10 days.

Regardless, the best way to preserve your Oyster Mushrooms still remains by drying them, as dried mushrooms can stay up to a year.

You can store your Mushrooms in bags as soon as you’ve dried them.

Step 12 – Marketing Of Mushrooms:

This is a pro-step (after production).

There is need to discuss marketing of Mushrooms as it one of the most difficult things to do in the mushroom cultivation process.

Yes it is, especially when you reside in an area where there is discrepancy or depreciation in value due to its short durability.

This is why you must SELL OF YOUR MUSHROOMS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Is Mushroom Farming Profit-oriented In Nigeria?

I don’t want to starting giving you a guessed work, so we would figure this out together by doing a simple financial calculation on oyster mushrooms cultivation using a 100kg sawdust.

In this calculation, we will look at cost price of starting the business and selling price (profit).

First and foremost, you must know that on a normal, 100kg of sawdust will yield 180 blocks weighing 1kg each after mixing is done.

So, lets begin the calculation…

Cost Of Starting A Mushroom Business

Lets first examine the costs of materials needed for this agribusiness

They include;

  1. 5kg of Wheat Offal >> N250
  2. 100kg of Saw Dust >> N2,000  [though not fixed]
  3. Gas >> N5,000
  4. Calcium carbonate >> N50
  5. Fumigation or Sterilization which includes;
  • * A bottle of 500mls hypo bleach >> N600
  • * 2 bottles of mucus spirit (2 x 600) >> N1200
  • * Cotton wool >> N400

Other materials:

— Ice block nylon >> 200 pieces for N1,500

— 2 PVC pipes >> N800

— Rubber bands >> N200

— Workmanship >> N3,000

— Spawns (36 bottles) >> N36,000

— Nose mask and gloves >>N1,000

Therefore, the net cost of mushroom production is N 52,000

Where “N” represents the Naira currency.

Profit To Generate From 180 Mushroom Blocks

Usually, a mushroom block is expected to yield a minimum of 1.5kg of fresh mushrooms.

But, we will make use of 1kg per block and an 85 percent (%) success rate to do our calculation.

Here we go…

1kg of mushroom goes for a minimum price of N1500 per kg (however, it could range between N1,500 per kg to N3,000 per kg.

N1,500 by 180kg = N270,000

This calculation is valid if you did the wetting of blocks all by yourself daily without expenditure on labour.

In the case of paid labour

The cost of labour isn’t fixed, so we will assume a fee of N15,000 paid to workers per month for wetting of blocks;

6 months by N15,000  = N90,000

Recall, net profit for 180 blocks of mushrooms is N270,000

Therefore we have;

(270,000 – 52,000 – 90,000) in naira = N128,000

At 85% success rate, we have;

85% of N128,000 = N108,800 profit

Where “N” represents the Naira currency.

Recall that the 85% success rate is fixed, this means that it could be between 90% and 95% or even lower (both depending on your level of training and expertise).

Interestingly, almost all the raw materials outlined are reusable –such as the rubber bands, nose masks and PVC pipes.

Challenges Encountered In Mushroom Farming/Production

The challenges are as follows;

  1. Short durability
  2. Effect of weather
  3. Contamination
  4. Ignorance of the health and economic benefits.

However, the most pressing challenge faced in mushroom farming is the sustainability in sales.

Proffered Solutions To The Challenges Of Mushroom Farming

In the bid to solve challenges encountered in Mushroom production, the following measures should be put into place;

1. Adequate training of mushroom production operators/farmers:

By doing this, you a step closer to overcoming such challenges, as contamination can be minimized via good hygiene and training, situating your mushroom farm in a less polluted or free environment (without rodents).

Furthermore, Adequate fumigation, Sterilization and Pest control should be carried out immediately after productions.

2. Establish cooperatives for mushrooms farmers: 

This will for surety aid in sharing market infos, meeting market demands, accessing loans, and even having a stable price.

3. Performing networking campaigns: 

Networking is quite crucial as it involves offline marketing strategies that can skyrocket mushroom sales.

Prior to the campaign, you can even design a mushroom recipe booklet and share to potential customers.

In the campaign, the samples of your products can as well be distributed to variety stores including big malls.

Finally, you can also create awareness via outdoor publicity like social media advertisements, wall hoardings, influencers, newspaper publications, banners, and affiliate marketing.

4. Situate farm near the market:

Recall that people are afraid of venturing into mushroom farming because of its shirt shell-life.

Here’s a simple solution to that, as locating your farm nearby market will foster quick sales.

You can also broaden your market audience/reach through adequate networking and marketing.

Business Opportunities In Mushroom Farming

Just as we have many business opportunities in Catfish rearing, there are also several businesses opportunities one can venture into in mushroom farming, and they include;

  • Fruiting and sales of mushrooms
  • Duplication of spawns
  • Production and sales of spawns.
  • Production and sales of mushroom blocks.
  • Production and sales of mushroom products such as spices, ketchups and pickles.
  • Brokerage of Mushrooms

Summary

First of all, I must say congratulations on reading to the end.

Amongst all agribusinesses and agro-products that can make you a millionaire farmer, Mushroom farming has proven to be a sustainable business with the capacity to yield up to 45 percent Return On Investment (ROI) in the first cycle, with a promising 75 percent in the second cycle and so on.

Most interestingly, Mushrooms can be eaten in several (processed) forms such as;

  1. Stew and soup
  2. Burger
  3. Pizza
  4. Sandwich
  5. Fried and grilled form

In addition, Mushrooms can be used in the production of spices, seasonings, and even ketchup.

Why grow Oyster Mushrooms
Why grow Oyster Mushrooms?

Mushroom farming is not a farming for everybody, it is indeed a farming for those ready to make cool cash out of it.

Hello friend? So what are you waiting for? Lets grow Oyster mushrooms today!

Was this resource helpful to you? If yes, please drop a comment and share to your farmer friend.

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