During the first phase of the introduced changes that were examined at the Chelkowski Farm, the supplements based on soybean meal used in the past were substituted with soybean meal prepared according to the developed own recipe. The new product was applied at the same rate i.e. 1.5% mass of substrate phase III, the same amount as others available supplements. The completed observations were implemented in further tests, which goal was at increase in yield in three flushes up to 40 kg/m2.
The most important findings are as follow:
- Quality improvement of primordia in the first and third flush. It was then when a concept of well-being (fruit bodies welfare) was developed. The obtained yields varied from 32 to 35 kg/m2 despite variable cultivation conditions and both quality and quantity of purchased substrate and casing layer. The yields at this level were achieved when provided substrate and casing layer were a very good quality. The level of production in a range of 25-27 kg/m2 that was observed on other mushroom farms who used the products from the same supplier was not considered as a reduced yield.
- Mycelium regenerated faster and the mycelium turned white sooner.
- Temperature increase in the substrate after an application of a casing layer was easy to control. If local overheating took place, the inner part of the substrate did not decay and there were no signs of green mold growth, which were observed when the supplements containing soybean meal were used. Overheated substrate was dry and loose. The mushroom kept producing primordia although the substrate surface has been collapsing in the following weeks. Red pepper mites did not show up.
- Periodically, shock could be initiated 5-6 after an application of casing layer.
- The substrate producer provided a compost of phase II colonized with two strains of fungi that resulted in better results. Over pinning was easily avoided and the improved quality of fruiting bodies of the more demanding strain, that was related closer to the strain from a group of U-1 was observed.
- Occasionally water shortage in the substrate was noticed, particularly when the substrate characterized low moisture and too hard straw, which was caused by poor removal of a wax layer and it resulted in blocking water access.
- Waving eelworms were found on the surface if either incorrect granulation of meal was applied or improperly mixed, and when large quantities on meal occurred between the casing layer and the substrate.
The positive results obtained from the implementation of the controlled mushroom feeding with an application of a feeder allowed gradual increase in its dose and extension of cultivation period up to four flush.