So, you want to start growing oyster mushrooms, and of course you are wondering how much money you need to invest in this project.
How to calculate costs?
How to determine how much money is needed for arrangement?
In the case of growing other mushrooms, such as shiitake, eringi or champignon, the calculation is quite simple. There are strict technological recommendations on the necessary equipment, placement of shelving, and necessary disinfection. In the case of oyster mushrooms, everything is completely different.
You will find an insanely large number of recommendations on the Internet. And they will definitely contradict one another.
In my article, I will explain why it is so difficult to find a list of equipment for growing oyster mushrooms on the Internet, and I will still try to compile such a list for different options for growing rooms.
And, if you read the article to the end, you will see recommendations there on how to calculate the cost of an oyster mushroom growing room.
I have not seen such tables where it is directly written: if you have a room of such and such size, you need such and such equipment, which costs this much money.
Why is that?
There are two main factors:
Those who grow oyster mushrooms have different climates.
And different climates require different sets of equipment. If you grow champignons, everything is simple, there is a standard set of climate equipment that is sold by specialized companies.
Regardless of your climate, champignons require a certain temperature, humidity and air exchange rate.
For oyster mushrooms, the concept of “standard set of climate equipment” is generally absent as such.
Moreover, many online teachers persistently promote the thesis that oyster mushrooms grow without any ventilation at all, and to create the necessary humidity it is enough to water the floor.
If it is constantly +18 or even 25 degrees Celsius outside your window, and the air humidity is 80%, this may be true – you do not need ventilation – just open the windows opposite each other.
And indeed, you can simply water the floor. In general, if you are lucky enough to live in such a wonderful climate, feel free to start growing oyster mushrooms. All you need to do is put up some shelving, buy or make mushroom blocks, open the windows and drag in a hose.
The second factor is that oyster mushroom growers do not have clear production criteria, unlike champignon growers. Standard ventilation equipment for champignon farms is designed for 20, 40 or 60 tons of substrate. Therefore, farms are built according to standard designs, with standard sizes of growing chambers.
But if someone wants to start growing oyster mushrooms, he will not count on 20 or 40 tons of substrate. This could be a format of growing in the basement “for yourself”, that is, a hobby.
Or someone has an empty premises, he typed in a search engine the request “the easiest business” and read an article about how to easily and without difficulty grow oyster mushrooms.
Even those who intend to grow oyster mushrooms in large volumes do not really believe in the need for ventilation with fans and air ducts, with air at a certain temperature and humidity.
Now let’s move directly to costing
I will divide everyone who wants to grow oyster mushrooms into three large groups.
The first group are people who want to start growing in a small room and a small number of blocks. That is, growing oyster mushrooms for yourself. Or the second option is to make sure that oyster mushrooms can be grown for sale.
That is, go through all the stages of substrate preparation, incubation, mushroom growth and harvesting, calculate costs and profits, and then either expand or stop this activity.
This group will have the lowest costs
To calculate the cost of a growing room, you need to decide whether you will grow oyster mushrooms only in favorable weather conditions or constantly, regardless of the time of year.
If you live in a climate where the temperature never drops below zero degrees Celsius or rises above 28, you just need to make shelving and provide a little air circulation.
I repeat – we are talking about small premises in which a small number of blocks are arranged. For example, blocks are placed only along walls or in rows on the floor.
For good air exchange, you can open windows on opposite walls. If the mushroom suffers from excess carbon dioxide, you need to install low-power axial exhaust fans on one of the walls – one or two, depending on the width of the wall, and open windows on the other wall.
How to determine if there is too much carbon dioxide, read here.
How to calculate the power of exhaust fans?
For every ton of substrate, air exchange must be at least 100 cubic meters per hour.
For example, you have 50 bags of 10 kg each, which is 0.5 tons of substrate. This means that a fan is needed at 50 cubic meters per hour. Plus another similar fan in case there are a lot of mushrooms at the same time.
Racks can be either wooden, iron or plastic. These can simply be wedges driven into the wall on which a shelf is placed.
To provide the necessary humidity, you need to buy an ultrasonic humidifier. It should not be household, as they provide a humidity of no more than 60%.
It is best to buy ultrasonic plates and make a humidifier yourself.
You can also install one or two medium-pressure hydropneumatic nozzles near the windows. Small drops of water will mix with the air flow, create the necessary humidity, and at the same time they will not drip onto the mushrooms.
That’s all you need.
If you make your own blocks, you may also need a heater. Since during the incubation period the temperature in the room must be at least 20 degrees Celsius. However, you do not need to ventilate the room during incubation.
Read about incubation.
If the temperature in your area drops below zero in winter, you will not be able to grow oyster mushrooms without heating the air. In small rooms with a small number of mushroom blocks, air heating is too expensive. Similarly, in small rooms it is not beneficial to cool the air in the summer if your climate is too hot.
Why? Because you need to heat or cool not the room air, but the air that comes in from outside, since without air circulation the oyster mushroom will not grow.
When will you need more equipment?
The second group of people who need more equipment are people who initially expect to sell grown oyster mushrooms. But, they plan to grow a small amount of mushrooms. A small amount is a little more than a ton of mushrooms per month.
I believe that the division between the second and third group occurs at a level of about 1.2-1.5 tons of oyster mushrooms per month.
If such people have enough space and can afford a low substrate load per square meter, they can count on costs approximately the same as those of the first group. They will only spend more money on shelving, an exhaust fan and humidification, since the area is larger.
If these mushroom growers plan to make maximum use of small areas, and the substrate loading will be 120-140 kg per 1 sq.m. – they will need ventilation with a supply fan and air ducts.
Read more about such ventilation here.
How to calculate costs in this case?
In addition to shelving, a humidifier and an axial exhaust fan, you also need to add the cost:
– supply centrifugal fan (the fan must be of medium pressure, and its power is 250 cubic meters per hour for each ton of substrate),
– film air ducts,
– a device that will maintain the optimal temperature in the growing room for mushroom growth, that is, warm or cool the air. This can be an air-water heat exchanger, or an electric duct air heater for outside air – if you need to heat the air. To cool the air, freon (with a compressor) or water (with a chiller) coolers are used.
To roughly calculate their cost, you need to multiply the volume of your grow room by 6 and find a unit that can cool that volume of air. Then, in the same way, find a unit that can warm such a volume of air.
If you have small growing volumes and no more than 8 tons of substrate in each growing room, you can buy my tables, where all the ventilation is calculated and the necessary equipment is described in detail.
The volume of oyster mushroom cultivation is higher than 1.5 tons per month
If you plan to grow this amount of mushrooms, and have experience growing oyster mushrooms, you can buy my ventilation calculator.
If you have no experience in growing oyster mushrooms, but you plan to immediately engage in such serious volumes, I recommend you my book “Mushroom Business from Scratch”.
It has an Excel spreadsheet for calculating equipment costs and calculating monthly costs. The area of premises required for growing a certain volume of mushrooms is also described – tables from 1.5 tons to 6 tons of oyster mushrooms per month.
You can read more about what is in the book here. While there is no article about this book in English, please use Google’s automatic translator.
If you want to order one of the listed books, write to me by email or whatsapp.