Scientists from Chandrashekhar Azad Agriculture University, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, develop new techniques that use jaggery, NPK and calcium carbonate to help farmers increase the yield of mushrooms and harvest them in less number of days.
Oyster mushrooms are easy and inexpensive to cultivate. All photos: Divendra Singh
Now is the perfect time to begin cultivation of mushrooms as September and October months are ideal for it. And what better news than this that the scientists of Chandrashekhar Azad Agriculture University in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, have developed a new technique that will improve the yield of oyster mushrooms, make them bigger and more attractive, and also cut down the time to harvest by 10 days.
Oyster mushrooms are easy and inexpensive to cultivate when compared to other kinds of mushrooms and they are also filled with nutritional benefits.
“Traditionally the mushrooms take up to thirty days to be ready for harvest. But this new technique allows them to be harvested in twenty to twenty two days,” Samir Kumar Vishwas, nodal officer from the university’s mushroom research and development department, told Gaon Connection. “This technique leads to a higher yield in less time,” he added.
Talking about the increased yield and nutrients in the mushrooms that have been cultivated using the new technique, Vishwas explained, “In the normal way of cultivating the Florida variety of oyster mushrooms, one bag would yield nine hundred and eighty grams of mushroom, while this new technique has yielded one thousand four hundred and ninety grams of mushroom.”
In the case of the Sajor Caju variety of oyster mushroom, while earlier the yield would be 1,200 grams per bag, the new technique yields 1800 grams, Vishwas said.
Mushrooms are grown on wet straw. Normally, straw is kept soaked in water for 24 hours after which it is removed. The straw should retain about 75 per cent of the moisture in it. Mushroom spawns are then mixed with the straw and after stuffing the mixture into plastic bags, the bags are kept in a dark room.
“There are two new techniques that we have developed to grow the mushrooms. We add jaggery and bran to the straw before putting them into the grow bags,” explained the nodal officer. In five kilos of straw, 400 gms of jaggery solution and 800 grams of wheat bran are added.
“In the other method, we add NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), and calcium carbonate to the straw before growing the mushrooms. In five kgs of straw, one has to add five milligrams of NPK and six milligrams of calcium carbonate,” he said.
Read the story in Hindi.