06.2014 Water in compost and feeding

Water availability in compost should go through a review due to the implementation and development of the controlled mushroom feeding concept. The amount of available water must be significantly higher than in mushroom production that provides yields in range of 30-32 kg/m2 in three flushes.

All things considered, an important factor for good production appears to be water availability in compost that is reffered to as active water or built into compost water. Currently the active water plays a significant role primarily in the compost production phase. Stored water; built into compost water source is not sufficient to achieve high yields of very high quality mushrooms. Water shortage increases when thermal effect occurs in the compost. High temperature and necessity of intense cooling decrease the amount of water availability during the feeding process.

Compost moisture content during its production phase III cannot be increased above 67-69% due to the risk of incorrect course of production process. Water excess, particularly not built into compost during phase I causes disturbances in a balance of oxygen and proper course of the phase called hot composting. It can result in developing anaerobic environment. In turn in the wet compost phase II it is difficult to control a required compost structure during stage of overgrowth in tunnels or yielding spaces such as shelves, boxes, blocks. The compost with long period of cultivation creates the most difficulties. This favors the process of rotting.

High yields require absolutely much higher amounts of water availability for mycelium rather than currently used after placing a casing layer. This can be achieved in a correctly prepared compost, particularly if straw is loose and pliable with good structure and without the presence of competing and pathogenic organisms. These high water amounts are used in feeder enzymatic degradation and transferred into mycelium from substrate. The transfer of water into mycelium protects compost from rotting and overheating. Water shortage causes dryness of the compost.

The time period during which water is added is relatively short, less than 3 days after the recolonization and achieved compost temperature min 23oC with a trend of increase. The process of adding water should be performed after blocking air availability; placing casing. Water dosage should be determined in relation to the expected yield based on the rule 2 l/m2 and introduced feeder dosage. Presently, feeder dosage has been established for processed corn grain. The schedule of adding water must be established individually for each compost. It needs to include both its quality and quantity, and dosage and type of feeder. One can not forget that the added feeder absorbs water equivalent to its wage.

Lack of a balanced feeder dosage associated with deficiency of water availability will negatively affect the mushroom production. It will result in yield decrease and worsen its quality more than without a feeder.

All tests and cultivation are carried out on a substrate made of straw and chicken manure without horse manure.