Economic analysis of oyster mushroom production in an unused poultry house

2013 Annual Report for FNE13-786

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2013: $8,849.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: Northeast
State: Delaware
Project Leader:

Economic analysis of oyster mushroom production in an unused poultry house


Ram Sagram owned an empty poultry house over the years and was looking for some alternative ag enterprise to use such house to generate income. But he was not sure if growing mushroom in such an empty house is good or not. Therefore, Sagram wanted to have economic study with the support of SARE farmers’ grants by growing oyster mushrooms in a section of his poultry house. Once his application was approved, Sagram bought oyster mushroom kits to be grown in his poultry house from Kennet Square at Pennsylvania and he suspended those 18 lb weight kit bags over the poultry house ceiling and he maintained temperature and humidity around 70oF  and 90% respectively by misting water over the bags and moistening floor full of straw to maintain humidity. He picked first flush 15 days of introduction those kits and second flush he picked 30 days and third flush he picked 45 and fourth and last flush he picked in 60 days of Introduction of mushroom kits. Total he picked 1208 lb mushroom worth of $6000.00.


Ram Rattan Sagram is currently living in Seaford, Delaware with his wife. He owned 5 acres of land and has a poultry house- size of 18450 sq ft. He has diversified his farm with vegetables, swine and small flocks of chickens. But, he was interested to utilize his empty poultry house in growing mushroom to utilize it productively and he was able to receive farmers grant from SARE for 2012/13 with the help of his Technical Advisor, Lekha N. Paudel, Farm Management Specialist at Delaware State University. His interest was to grow such enterprise to learn the production and build his own market networking comprised of local stakeholders. He learnt production and marketing issues so that he would be a good producer in future.This project was becoming good to know consumers preferences and other requirements that could go along with mushroom business. He grew only oyster mushroom and tried to reach whole food markets, local Asian grocery stores and some restaurants. All those places wanted other varieties of mushroom for which he has to learn further because shiitake, portabella, and button mushroom all havedifferent production requirements and different market opportunity. In future, he will try to grow all these varieties to meet the market needs to hook customers. He wants to share one thing to the readers of this report to have some sorts of market study to gain idea about customers’ preferences and possible market. Most importantly, he advises others to build a walk in cooler to save such a delicate products otherwise it is deteriorated very fast in a couple of days. He said others- once you find your market start productionall major veritiesin small quantity so that you will not have great loss in adversary too.

Objectives/Performance Targets

His objectives were: (1) to know cost and return from oyster-mushroom production in unused poultry house; (2) to build own market for sustainability.



Mushroom kits of 125 bags were brought in first round on May 15, and second round 100 kits brought in last of July of 2013. He picked total 1208 lb mushroom during June 6, 2013 to August 2013. Actually he expected 1600 lb mushrooms but due to dryness of some kits he could not picked as he expected. Out of 1200 lb mushrooms he distributed 200 lbs free sample as marketing promotion in order to enter into market. And Sagram dried 400 lb mushroom to sell as dried products.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Sagram became a good mushroom farmer. He is known as mushroom guy. He developed skills to produce and find market. Now he is enthusiastic to expand his operation with other mushroom varieties also. Other visitors were happy getting locally grown mushroom in their neighborhood. It has provided him avenue to use his poultry house in mushroom operation. It could be the best means of his living in the future. He learnt to keep the records well for production, marketing, and sales and other also learnt from him the way he carried operations.


Sagram expected that some farmers will adopt to grow mushrooms.

Potential contributions

Other farmers can adopt mushroom production in their property as Sagram did. Sagram is helpful and he will be more than happy to share his experience if someone is interested.

field day was organized and more than 90% participants curious and like the way to utilize unused house for generating extra income. 15 participants were joined in field day.
some flyers and power points are attached.
Future Recommendation

Sagram said “Make sure if you have empty unused house in your property. If you have any, try small quantity in major varieties like oyster, portabella, buttons, and shitake mushrooms depends on your customers type. Mostly restaurants Chinese demands buttons, American restaurants demands oyster, portabella and shitake”. Thus study about marketing opportunity before growing mushroom is essential. If you have time and labor, you can make your own kits too. If you need my advice I will provide you.”


Dr. lekha paudel

[email protected]
Farm Management Specialist
Delaware State University
1200 N. Dupont Highway
Dover, DE 19901
Office Phone: 3028577796