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Hygiene and mushroom casing soil

June 9, 2020

In mushroom growing hygiene is key. Mushrooms are susceptible to diseases and bad hygiene increases the risks of contamination. This article focuses on hygiene during different steps of the process and explains why proper sheltered storage of casing soil is important.

Mushroom growers generally take hygiene this very seriously. They’ve got protocols for proper hygiene for personnel, they rinse and sanitize cells, they make sure harvested mushrooms are handled with care and regularly clean the premises and surroundings.

Hygiene is part of our production process

Hygiene is also a big part our processes regarding the production of mushroom casing soil. For instance, all entrances to our casing soil materials are equipped with foot baths with disinfectants. In addition, we also make sure to properly clean every single truck that carries mushroom casing soil between deliveries.

Make sure to handle the casing soil in a hygienic manner

Once the casing soil is delivered to the growers, they have to take care of hygiene themselves. Next to the hygienic storage described in this article, it’s also important to focus on hygiene during the pre-wetting of the casing soil. Always make sure to properly rinse closed big bags, work in disinfected environments and use clean equipment.

Read this article to learn more about the importance of pre-wetting casing soil. Don’t forget to watch the “how to” animation explaining the pre-wetting process in detail.

Hygienic storage

We always tell our customers it is highly important to store casing soil in a sheltered environment. This is necessary to keep the high quality of the casing soil intact up to the point of taking it into use. We understand that sometimes it can be challenging to ensure good storage. In the following paragraphs, we focus on the risks of inadequate storage to make you understand why making the extra effort to securely store your casing soil pays off!

What sheltered storage of casing soil means

Casing soil should be stored in a place where it can’t be affected by influences from outside. Let’s see how the weather could actually damage your casing soil.

Risks related to wind

Many patogenes are spread by wind. Placing the casing soil directly into a windy environment increases the risk of contamination of the material.

Sunlight might harm your casing soil

Direct sunlight and heat cause the casing soil to dry out. If the moisture level within the casing soil gets too low, the water-holding capacity will decrease permanently. This means it gets more difficult to pre-wet the casing soil and the structure gets less coarse. Water absorption goes at a slower rate. As a result, it will take more time to properly pre-wet the casing soil.

Frost damage

When the outside of the bigbags of casing soil freezes, the water in the casing soil groups together and turns into clumps of ice. Using the casing soil like this has consequences for your filling quality. Frozen black peat has a lower water-holding capacity than unfrozen black peat, which is not desirable.

Rain, snow and hail

Obviously rain, snow and hail can cause the bigbags of casing soil to get dirty. It can also result in small puddles of water on top of the big bags. This type of stagnant water attracts insects, which increases the risk of diseases.

In conclusion, it’s safe to say proper storage of casing soil is just as much a part of hygiene in mushroom growing as using clean equipment. Feel free to ask your sales advisor for advice if you’re not sure about the quality of your own local storage facilities.