Hello All, ran across article, back home these's were good eating.
India: New method for growing Shiitake mushroom
Among various cultivated species of mushrooms, Shiitake variety has a good demand among consumers for its taste. Particularly in Northern India consumers prefer this mushroom since it is believed to be medicinal in quality. China and Japan are currently the bulk producers of this prized mushroom variety.
Up until recently, the proper technology to grow this variety on a successful commercial scale was not available in India. However, the Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR), situated at Chmabaghat in Solan district and Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR), at Hassargatta near Bangalore have now developed new techniques for growing this crop.
A farmer, Mr. Vikas Banyal, from Solan district, Himachal Pradesh, has further refined the growing technology by using willow wood as a substrate. He is the first farmer in the country to use willow tree wood as a substrate to grow Shiitake variety. According to Mr. Vikas this method gives a better and greater yield.
Initially Mr. Vikas was growing Shiitake on sawdust but was not able to get a good production. He got some scanty reference in literature about using willow tree logs as a medium for growing. He contacted the University which provided him willow logs for trying this as substrate. “The substrate that is the medium is very important for mushroom cultivation. Just as a healthy soil helps good plant crop a good medium alone can help get a good yield.
“My initial attempts failed because I used sawdust that was poor in quality. It was then that some mushroom cultivation experts from the U.S. visited my farm and while interacting with them I got to know that they use logs from trees to grow mushrooms. They also advised me to try out the method on some popular growing trees in my region,” he says.
The farmer started his search for the same through several literatures and got in touch with Dr. Y. S. Parmar of the University of Horticulture and Forestry in his region. The University was quite impressed by his dedication and perseverance and supplied him about 100 willow logs initially.
Explaining the procedure the entrepreneur says, “willow logs of 40 inch length and three to four inch diameter are ideal. Holes are drilled into the logs and spawns (in the form of bullets) are inserted into the holes and sealed with wax. The logs are kept in the open under shade. Fruiting of Shiitake starts in just three months and continues for four to five years. The technique is cost effective and also consumes less time.”
In addition to the logs, he also used willow tree sawdust for growing the mushrooms, which proved even more effective as harvesting of the crop started in just 45 days.
He could harvest on an average 750 gm of mushroom from one kg of willow sawdust. The harvested mushrooms are fresh and fetch Rs. 200-500 per kg (1 Rs= $0.016 USD) in the local market.
“Presently we are cultivating white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and Shiitake mushrooms besides making spawn and compost to cater to the small and marginal mushroom growers. We are also planning to set up canning and frozen mushroom processing units,” says Mr. Vikas.
For more information:
Vikas Mushroom Farm
Tel: +91 (0)1792-227651
Publication date: 1/23/2014