The targets for a mushroom farm are amongst others:
• Meet market requirements
• Good quality at the lowest possible harvesting costs
To meet the market requirements the farm needs about the same amount of mushrooms every day, seven days per week. Maybe a bit more on one day than the other depending on sales. This means generally picking seven days per week.
In most of the countries picking in the weekend is expensive so the target is often to avoid that when possible, or have mushrooms which are easy to pick. To have a relatively low cost price for picking it also helps to have more or less the same amount of mushrooms per day. So the planning of the picking and the calculation of the number is pickers needed is easier. To achieve all this a good stagger of the mushrooms is an absolute must. This starts with the choice of casing soil and the way the casing is treated.
A fine structured and perfectly finished layer of casing results often in too many mushrooms and a picking period of only 3 to 4 days in the first flush. So choosing a rough casing with an open finish of the surface helps in staggering the first flush.
Then the next important tool is the fructification or pinning. Take time to cool down the room. Take CO2 and room temperature down gradually over a period of at least 11 days. In the beginning the room temperature can be kept around 20° C for about 2 to 3 days. The compost will follow after a few days anyway.
Build in steps that are the same every day and keep humidity at the setpoint required. 95% for the first 4 days of fructification and from there a drop of 1% per day. Make sure that the band is set narrow on the RH because a deviation of just 2% can cost you the staggering you need so badly. So by taking time in this period, time and money can be saved during the picking again.
Just remember, the more un-even it looks the better. And do not look for too many mushrooms.