If you are a successful mushroom cultivator, you must pay attention to mushroom yield and biological efficiency and learn how to optimize them. It is important because the yield you obtain from your mushroom is highly dependent on the structure, function, behavior, or type of organisms present in the soil.
Every mushroom cultivator wants to boost the growth of their farm; they want to turn what seems like a hobby into a booming business. If they achieve that, they will have to be concerned about how many mushrooms they can produce with their substrate.
WHAT IS MUSHROOM YIELD?
The quantity of good fresh mushrooms you can yield with the space, substrate, and other constraints at your disposal. The larger your yield, the more cost-effective your growth.
Yield can be measured using the total weight of fresh mushrooms from all flushes until the substrate block is entirely spent. The total yield is the best gauge for knowing the yield of your mushroom. This is because the yield for different flushes varies. The first flush tends to yield more while successive flushes begin to wane as they are spent.
WHAT IS BIOLOGICAL EFFICIENCY?
Biological efficiency is abbreviated as BE; it is used to estimate the effectiveness of a mushroom strain and substrate combination when growing mushrooms. This method was initially developed by the button mushroom industry to rate certain strains of mushrooms.
So to know the 100% biological efficiency of fresh mushrooms is when 1 lb. of fresh mushrooms is harvested from 1 lb. of the dry substrate over multiple flushes.
BE = (weight of harvest / weight of dry substrate) x 100%
You can get a biological efficiency greater than 100% since we use the weight of the dry substrate for the calculation. The weight of all mushrooms gotten from a substrate from all flushes is used to calculate.
Most growers will find that most fruiting blocks or straw logs are weighty because of the water in them; this puzzles them because the calculation uses the dry weight of the substrate. It is best to evaluate your fruiting container when inoculated, then contrast the weight to the weight of the fresh mushrooms harvested.
Even though it might not be easy to get dry substrate, one can still measure its weight with the “wet-weight” even though it is not technically “biological efficiency.”
AN EXAMPLE OF CALCULATING BIOLOGICAL EFFICIENCY
For instance, if you harvest 2 lbs. of King Oyster mushrooms from a 5 lbs. supplemented sawdust fruiting block.
Each fruiting block weighs about 3.1 lbs. and contains 1.4 liters of water.
Consequently, the substrate's entire dry weight is 1.9 lbs.
So the Biological Efficiency would be 105% (2 lbs. /1.9 lbs.), with 40% (2 lbs. / 4 lbs.) wet-weight efficiency. These values may appear different in amount but are the same thing.
It is essential to understand biological efficiency because the numbers spawn producers draw notes to evaluate how many mushrooms will grow for a given bulk weight. So even as an amateur mushroom cultivator, you must know the concept of biological efficiency.
EXPECTED YIELDS FOR DIFFERENT MUSHROOMS
The potential biological efficiencies of different mushrooms and different strains of the same species are widely different. For instance, Oyster mushrooms, a species that grows well on straw, such as Pearl Oysters and Blue Oysters, have high Biological Efficiencies.
Other mild mushrooms, such as yellow oysters and slower-growing mushrooms, such as Reishi, tend to have lesser BE values.
HOW TO INCREASE MUSHROOM YIELD
As mentioned earlier, every mushroom cultivator looks for ways to increase the yield of mushrooms. They want to make their mushroom harvest more productive, efficient, and profitable. Here are how:
- CHOOSING A HIGH PERFORMING STRAIN
Picking the right strain for cultivation matters considerably and determines the result or yield you would get.
The same species of different strains can yield tremendous different results. If you look at the life-cycle of a mushroom. We can see that a mushroom culture begins with the hyphae of two well-matched germinating spores mating and then beginning to grow out as mycelium.
So we can deduce that during this process, that is, growth from spores, the different possible combinations or strains we can get due to genetic differences are extremely measureless and can impact yield.
Now we have many top-performing strains that have been deftly developed and optimized from different experiments over the years to give us excellent, healthy, and reliable yields. They are often well-maintained as cultures and are commercially available.
If you will truly maximize yield, selecting the appropriate producing commercial strain is of great importance.
When nitrogen-rich content is added to the mushroom's substrate to increase the potential yield and efficiency, the process is called supplementation. For this process to have a lasting effect on the mushrooms, the mycelium of more considerable base nutrients is needed to support and produce sturdy and better fruits.
You achieve supplementation when you add bran to the substrate. People often use wheat bran or oat bran for supplementation.
But you must be wary of the amount of supplementation you add so that it won't actually destroy your project. Because when supplementation becomes too much, it can be the gateway to increased contamination, thus diminishing returns on your yield.
Use supplementation carefully, starting small and increase slowly to achieve optimum results.
You can increase your nitrogen content by increasing your spawn bulk substrate ratio; it is a form of supplementation.
- TIMING YOUR HARVEST
You need to carefully choose the time to pick mushrooms; it will determine the overall yield and the structure, composition, and nature of your harvest.
Certain strains of mushrooms will require that you harvest them once you observe their nature and fruits. Your time of harvest will affect biological efficiency.
Mushrooms such as Agaricus species need to be harvested when fully grown. Picking mushrooms late will allow for a larger overall yield, but the quality of the mushrooms may be less due to the fruits being past their prime.
As a cultivator, I know the best condition and time to harvest their mushrooms to get the best yield for the desired quality.