OYSTER MUSHROOM CULTIVATION (Christopher W. Owner, Michigan Mushrooms LLC - from LINKEDIN 8/3) -
Oh the problems can be numerous... But the rewards can be as well. I ran an (primarily)oyster mushroom farm for a couple years and probably the biggest challenge we had was properly controlling the environment. Weather it was keeping it cool in the summer, or warm enough in the winter, or humid enough at all times of year; you want to make sure you have proper environmental controls. If you can raise and lower temps and humidity at will, that will solve many problems right off the bat.
Assuming your environment is properly controlled the next biggest problem you are likely to have is insects. You may be able to operate for about a year without the bugs getting too bad, but they will eventually find you and move in.
We were adverse to using pesticides for moral(I guess you could say) reasons. Once the problem got so out of hand we were losing more mushrooms that we were selling we had to shut down, empty out the grow house completely, let it freeze up for a week(luckily it was winter time), and then start fresh.
Obviously a move like that is enough to break a company, and it nearly broke us. I would always suggest to a new grower that they have at least two main grow spaces, preferably three, so you can take one out of commission for cleaning and still maintain some production.
Our next biggest problem was finding a market for everything we grew. We live in a kind of backwoods town about 4 hours away from any metropolitan area. We quickly outgrew our local market and ended up having to truck a few hundred pounds of mushrooms down to a bigger city once a week. That may have ultimately been our undoing: having to maintain a farm and travel like that so regularly was very stressful.
Do thorough market research, and be sure you can sell them for the price you need to make a proper profit. Oyster mushrooms are not as marketable as other types(Shiitake, Portabella), and the shelf life is not as good, so there is some urgency to move them once they are harvested.
Other minor issues that would be the same for any mushroom farm would be maintaining healthy spawn. I don't know if you are planing on buying spawn(which is very expensive) or growing your own, but it can be a trick to keep the genetics fresh and maintain a culture bank,
Labor can be a challenge, for which I would very much suggest seeking an intern or a team of interns. It's kind of crappy not to pay people, but it seems to be the way industry works these days, and you will have no lack of interest. We still get inquiries from a listing we made 4 years ago...
The final thing, which is in some ways the most critical, is to properly protect your self from the spores. Oyster mushrooms are prolific sporeulators, and you can quickly find yourself with long term health problems if you don't protect yourself. Usually just a dust mask is sufficient, but some people are more sensitive to them than others. If you are going to be in the fruiting room for more than a couple minutes: wear a mask!
No mention of Green molds at this stage - will keep updating as I gate the info
Ralph H. Kurtzman, Jr. - Visit : www.oystermushrooms.net ;