Satellite” Farming of Agaricus Mushrooms with Expandable Growing Pod Prototypes

Project Overview

FNC18-1143
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $14,972.00
Projected End Date: 08/28/2020
Grant Recipient: Willow Mountain Mushrooms
Region: North Central
State: Missouri

Commodities

  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms

Practices

  • Crop Production: cropping systems
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, Distributing different stages of production between multiple farms
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships

    Summary:

    This project will involve construction of two compact portable structures suitable for developing Agaricus mushroom crops. The “pods” will be expandable, to accommodate increased production, as needed. The pods will contain several compartments to maintain weekly crops at different stages of maturity.

    The intent of this project is to explore the creation of an efficient, economically viable, cooperative Agaricus growing model for small farms in our region. Mushrooms are a high value, specialty crop that can be grown year round. Many farms in our area would benefit from bringing an additional crop into their markets, especially one that is not seasonally limited.

    The project applicants have both witnessed demand and interest from other farmers in adding mushrooms to their operations, but our experience has shown that most farmers don’t have the ability to succeed with managing all phases of mushroom production. This project aims to combine the skill, knowledge and equipment of an experienced Agaricus grower, with other farmers not specifically trained in this area. If successful, this project would provide an additional income opportunity for satellite farmers, while relieving the central production farm of the additional harvesting, packing, travel time and expense associated with marketing directly.

    Project objectives:

    1. Develop and Test a compact, climate controlled portable facility for small scale production of Agaricus mushrooms.
    2. Evaluate the feasibility of a cooperative growing model in which one farm prepares mushroom growing mediums while other farms conduct later stages of crop production and harvesting.
    3. Experiment with “Blocking” techniques and dimensions to find a viable and efficient method and size for the creation of the growing medium “blocks” for transporting to satellite farms.
    4. Share research findings at local conferences, farm days, and online with photos and video.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.