By Frank Parker and Stuart Whitehall, Nutrigain Ltd
The development of the MycroNutrient concept dates back to the work we did in the 1990's which demonstrated the improvement in quality, yield and mould resistance in mushrooms grown from compost supplemented with carboxylic salts used to stabilise mixed nutrients.
An intensive Research & Development program since then has revealed that the beneficial effects of carboxylic salts may be very much enhanced and magnified using very small doses of these confined within the casing layer. We were amazed by the improvements in pinning, quality, piece weight, yield and lower incidence of mould infection.
Because the nutrient is confined within the casing layer, phase 2 supplementation becomes a practical proposition. Phase 3 growing is also simplified because the compost does not need to be supplemented at all or at a much lower level, in fact too much protein can depress yields, especially on UK and Irish composts. MycroNutrient can give huge cost savings on your annual supplement bill as well as making the transportation of compost much safer.
There is little or no bed heating so cooling costs can be cut by at least 50%, an important economy with ever rising energy costs. In tropical or sub tropical areas this is of even greater importance.
One of the most important aspects of casing supplementation is that it gives nutrition at the point where the mushrooms are growing and stimulates more pins which means greater potential can be derived from the compost whilst maintaining good quality. Because watering patterns can cause leaching and move the nutrient away from the casing and pinning zone, we have developed a granule which when mixed in the casing will retain its position, not get leached and allow the mycelium to access it. The granule is simply the MycroNutrient absorbed on an inert carrier. It is much more tolerant to a wider range of growing conditionsand the best starting point for growers, especially those with limited abilities to premix for longer periods.
Other benefits include an improved speed in timing between 12 and 36 hours which is very useful when on tight cycles.
Day 5 normalDay 5 with MycroNutrient
There are some very important parameters that must be observed to gain the optimum results.
1.Casing PH must be 7.7 - 7.8
2.High CO2 levels must be adopted in the casing run; 10,000ppm minimum
3.Premixing in the casing and leaving for a minimum of 1 day and preferably 3 days before application to the compost surface. This allows the possibility of buying a ready mixed casing containing MycroNutrient.
4.Depending on premixing, you need to be aware that watering may cause leaching into the compost, which we donít want. Delayed watering can be advantageous. MycroGranules overcome this to some extent.
5.Only low levels of protein should be added to compost if felt that it is needed.
Below is some data shared from the last three trials (phase 3) on our own unit.