This project is designed to determine the efficiency of cultivating morels in the northeastern US following current production practices being followed by commercial farms throughout China. We plan on conducting field cropping trials in Pennsylvania in 2019-2020 and running an additional Pa trial and a cropping trial in Maine in 2020-2021. In the fall of 2019 we purchased and installed a high tunnel at Penn State University’s Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology Department’s farm at the Russell E Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, Pa. The high tunnel was covered with a shade cloth instead of plastic to allow precipitation to reach the production plots and also help maintain soil moisture. We made three rows of raised beds inside of the high tunnel, one with no soil amendments, one with chopped wheat straw and one with oak sawdust. The amendments were tilled into the soil after application. The field plot design consists of 6 treatments with 4 replicates per treatment. A master’s student was funded with this grant and he produced spawn using two different species being tested in the field plots (Morchella rufobrunnea and Morchella importuna). Once the soils were amended and tilled, spawn was added to the plots and hand incorporated into the soil. Treatments: 1) control soil with M. importuna 2) control soil with M. rufobrunnea 3) chopped straw-amended soil with M. importuna 4) chopped straw-amended soil with M. rufobrunnea 5) sawdust-amended soil with M. importuna and 6) sawdust-amended soil with M. rufobrunnea. Drip line irrigation is ready to be installed in early spring, but wasn’t necessary in the fall due to the rainfall received after spawning. Soil temperature data loggers were also purchased and will be installed after winter so that soil temperatures can be closely monitored and compared with initiation of morchella fruit bodies. No data collection has taken place yet. Indoor cropping and biological studies as well as the first outdoor cropping date collection will take place in 2020. No outreach has been conducted yet at this time.
1: Determine the best Morchella species to use for mushroom cultivation in northeastern United States.
2: Test effects of different soil organic matter amendments on morel cultivation.
3: Monitor the effects of soil environmental parameters as well as environmental conditions on morel fruiting.
4: Test effects of soil physical and chemical properties on morel fruiting in climate controlled indoor cultivation system.
5: Disseminate morel cultivation information to farmers throughout northeastern U.S.
US mushroom enthusiasts and research scientists have tried cultivating morel mushrooms for decades with very limited and sporadic production results. Several patents were issued in the US on morel cultivation techniques but, unfortunately, following these processes production was often unsuccessful. Recently, scientists in China developed a new outdoor cultivation technique that has been successful and adopted by many mushroom farmers throughout China. However, much still remains unknown about the details of what is needed to successfully produce morels on a consistent basis. This proposal was developed with the objectives of determining the feasibility of farmers in the northeastern US adopting these techniques and growing morels as a profitable business venture. Our project will: 1) Determine which species produces the best in the northeastern US. 2) Test the effects of different soil organic matter amendments on morel cultivation. 3) Monitor the effects of soil environmental parameters as well as environmental conditions on morel fruiting. 4) Test effects of soil physical and chemical properties on more fruiting in climate controlled indoor cultivation systems. 5) Disseminate morel cultivation information to farmers throughout the northeastern US.
With this project, we propose to address 3 questions regarding morel production in the US.
1) Which Morchella species grows and yields best in Northeastern US soils utilizing Chinese cultivation techniques.
2) What influence does soil amendment have on yield potential.
3) Based on yield data, what profit potential is there for US growers considering cultivating morel mushrooms.
Field Cropping Trials:
- Control soil with Morchella importuna
- Control soil with Morchella rufobrunnea
- straw-amended soil with Morchella importuna
- straw-amended soil with Morchella rufobrunnea
- sawdust-amended soil with Morchella importuna
- sawdust-amended soil with Morchella rufobrunnea
Soil chemical analyses measured at spawning. Soil temperatures will be recorded during cropping.
No data collected at this date.