As mushrooms consist of up to 98% water, maintaining the proper humidity is crucial.
In the button mushroom industry, this is achieved by providing a water reservoir in the form of a casing layer on top of the compost. As the mushrooms grow, the casing layer is getting dryer and dryer.
Water is sprayed directly onto the casing layer and thus onto the mushrooms to compensate for the loss. Due to this method, the mushrooms stay wet most of the time.
They are, therefore, prone to contamination, especially bacterial blotch, which reduces the mushroom yield. In extreme cases, Trichoderma, better known as the green mold, can emerge and spread fast with the likelihood to wipe out the whole crop.
This forces researchers to look for alternative irrigation methods. Such a method was found with the drip irrigation system.
Drip irrigation has its origin in ancient times when people were using unglazed clay pots filled with water.
With the advent of plastic perforated pipes were introduced, which released the water through tiny holes.
While many systems are lying on the surface, some are buried in the soil. This burring in the soil is now successfully transferred in the button mushroom industry. Here, perforated pipes are directly laid in the casing layer.
By doing so, researchers could show that the water efficiency can be increased by 20 %. As the casing layer stays moist as needed, the thickness of the casing layer can be reduced. Reducing thus the costs for the mushroom company.
The costs are further reduced as drip irrigation needs, according to the researcher, less energy.
More importantly, the mushrooms stay dry by applying the water directly into the casing layer. Therefore, the risk of bacterial blotch is reduced.
Besides, the authors could show that the quality of the second and third flush can be improved using this method.
What do you think about this new system? Let me know in the comment section (YouTube only).
Talk to you in the next one.
 📝Danay O. et. al (2012) The Development of a New Concept and System for Watering during Agaricus bisporus Cultivation, ISMS Vol 18 Part 1 Art 109, https://www.pubhort.org/isms/18/1/v18_p1_a109.htm