Comparison of Shiitake yield on Red Maple (Acer rubrum) on timing of cut and rate of wood moisture loss prior to inoculation
Project Number: FNC15-1021
Producer/Project Leader: Ingrid West
Address: 1053 Taylor Lane Stoughton WI 53589
WORK ACTIVITIES 2015
MFL logging operation was done in November-December of 2014 with slash logs salvaged in January-February 2015 and set aside in the woods on logs off the ground until spring inoculation. The grant was written for 10 Red Maple logs taken in the fall and then another 10 logs taken during sap flow in the spring. We decided to increase the number of logs and species so that we could improve the data that we collect and to compare the Red maple to the viability of traditional Oak logs. We also included other species that may be commonly harvested in an MFL tree stand improvement cut.
We cut twenty five 40-inch long logs 6-8”s in diameter of each of the following species: Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Hickory, White Oak, Red Oak, and Aspen. In March we cut an additional twenty-five sap flow Red Maple logs. All the logs were gathered and transported to the staging area for inoculation and incubation.
Logs were inoculated between late April through mid-July 2015 by staff and volunteers during 6 different 3-hour inoculation sessions. Holes were drilled in logs using a special drill and drill bit 6 inches apart in a diamond pattern and inoculated with the same all weather/wide range shiitake sawdust spawn (Night Velvet) from Field and Forest Products in Peshtigo, our SARE commercial project partner. Volunteers were trained on safety procedures, learned about the inoculation process and how to care for shiitake mushroom logs. Each volunteer received an inoculated red maple log to take home as part of their participation in the project. In total 47 individuals participated in the inoculation training.
Logs were stacked in a Lincoln log fashion, 5 across and 5 deep, on pallets keeping logs off the ground in temporary car port shelters. These shelters had the roofs replaced with mesh 80-90% shade cloth to allow rainfall through and to closely simulate natural woodland shade conditions. However, due to the dry conditions during the summer we supplemented lack of rainfall with some manual watering of the logs (about 1 inch per week) during the drought. This winter the covers were removed from the car ports to allow snow to accumulate on the logs. Each log was tagged and numbered to identify it individually, the species of wood, the mycelium strain information as well as the date of they were inoculated. Otherwise nothing else was done to the logs.
RESULTS SO FAR
This year the logs were set up and are in their incubation mode. We did have problems with a Cannon ball fungus on our Red maple logs and will be looking to see how that impacts the longevity of the logs and if that impacts fruiting production. We will not see any fruit on our logs until sometime in 2016.
We also learned that it is important to protect the logs from dehydration. Due to drought weather patterns we needed to do supplemental watering – approximately 1 inch per week during July and August.
WORK PLAN FOR 2016
This spring we will again cover the shelters with the mesh and begin monitoring the logs for signs of fruiting. Red Maple logs that were inoculated in 2014 prior to our study took an entire 18 months before any fruiting production occurred. Therefore, we may decide to take a subset of 10 logs from each of our 25 logs in the spring of 2016 to do a 24 hour submerged log soak, shocking the logs and producing a forced fruiting to see how that changes the production timeline, log longevity and project outcomes.
We invited individuals to participate in 6 field day sessions demonstrating log inoculation procedures. About 47 people participated and each participant was given an inoculated log and care instruction sheets to take home. Two individuals came from Troy Gardens. They were interested in developing a mushroom program at Troy Gardens/Common Ground and we trained them and gave them support to do their own inoculation event for their gardeners in 2016. Another young couple interested in starting their own mushroom farm came and learned the process. We have been mentoring them in their start up.
Progress Report Year: 2015
Producer: Mary Ellen Kozak
Address: N3296 Kozuzek rd
Peshtigo, WI 54157
WORK ACTIVITIES 2015
October 2015 we located a stand of red maple in the town of Peshtigo that was of uniform age and quality. December 1st, and on the 1st of each months for 11 additional months we cut multiple stems from the stand and selected 20 logs of 40 inch length, 4-6 inches in diameter from each cut. As a corollary study, we also cut logs in December, dead stacked and stored outdoors through the winter for a spring inoculation. Leaf and bud stage was documented and photographed at each cutting to help people relate bud development to timing of cut in the future. Each set of logs were dead stacked on the north side of a building for 2 weeks and inoculated with Night Velvet sawdust spawn from Field and Forest Products directly after the two week rest period. Logs were inoculated with hand tools in the standard diamond pattern and sealed with foam plugs. Logs were incubated indoors at 65-70 F at 85% RH in a crib stack configuration and tarped with plastic for the duration 12 months. Each log was labeled and detailed on a spreadsheet for best possible statistical analysis.
Note: Our original time frame for incubation was 9 months but we felt a few more months of incubation would lead to better yields and log health by looking at mycelial progress. Judging the best time to commence forced fruiting and adjusting the timeline is a common practice amongst shiitake growers.
RESULTS SO FAR
Log health seems very good so far so indoor incubation seems like a good option for cultivation of Shiitake on red maple. Longer incubation times may need to be planned for a commercial forced fruiting setting.
December of 2015 we soaked our first batch of logs (24 hour soak in cold water) that were inoculated the year prior. Only the logs on the upper end of the diameter class yielded any mushrooms, indicating the importance of bark thickness and probably increased log moisture control in this study. We expect mushroom production to increase with each additional soaking.
WORK PLAN FOR 2016
We will continue to soak logs and take yields every month. This includes first soak for logs inoculated a year previously, as well as logs fitting into their 8 week rest/soak rotation. We will continue to take yields as well as monitor temperature and RH in the fruiting and resting areas.
We described the project to 50 attendees at a spring workshop in 2015 as well as to 35 attendees at the fall Shiigaw annual meeting. The project has also been shared with a group of 100 at the Michigan small farms conference. We will be putting the results on our website (www.fieldforest.net) as well as the Shiigaw website and newsletter and sharing in social media and the Field and Forest Products blog when we start getting more reportable results. The study will also be described and tours held at Field and Forest Products in March, April and October of 2016. If results are meaningful we hope to share a poster at Midwest Organic Farming Conference in 2017.
Representatives from the NCR-SARE program visited the project in August 2015. This video was taken during that visit and shows the progress of the project in summer 2015.