Cambridge scientists join NIAB & Young Farmers at the G’s Mushroom Farm in Littleport
On the evening of the 2nd of November the third gathering of the Cambridge branch of the Young Innovator’s Forum took place. A group of 20 Cambridge researchers, NIAB researchers and Young Farmers learnt about the challenges and innovations in mushroom and salad farming.
A small group of Cambridge scientists from Plant Sciences & SLCU visited the impressive G’s Mushroom Farm and learned all about white mushroom production: from the growing facilities to the packhouses, over 165 tonnes of mushrooms are produced each week! We also heard about the challenges and innovations in crop breeding and pre-breeding research underway.
We were introduced to G’s fully vertical integrated business: from salad crops to mushrooms, from the UK to Senegal – it is impressive how diverse their farming operations are. Then we went into the mushroom growing facilities and after putting on our lab coats and hats we saw the different growth chambers and learnt about sterile peat, temperature control, mycelia development and managing supermarkets demands. Air-borne mushroom diseases were a hot topic in the discussions among the enthusiastic plant scientists and the young farmers. We also talked about the AD facility and how their primary energy source comes from recycling farm waste.
“It was very interesting for me, as a scientist, to learn more about the growers’ actual challenges in industrial settings and what solutions/approaches they were pursuing.”
Researchers wanted to know about the main innovation drivers: Yield increase; better quality and water use are among the most important factors. Harvest automation is also crucial to mushroom farming efficiency.
“How do you pick the mushrooms? You Pull and Pick!!”
This event was extremely interesting and a new look into the world of mushroom farming.
Thank you G’s for having us!
The idea of the Young Innovators’ Forum is to build cohorts of early stage career producers and innovators who feel comfortable in each other’s worlds. A storify of tweets here (https://storify.com/beckyagritech/young-innovator-s-forum-may-farm-mushroom-producti).
This was the third evening part of the Cambridge YIF, aiming to develop relationships between scientist-industry-farmers. CambPlants with Agri-Tech East is already planning the next visit!