Hygiene is the most important method for protection against pests and diseases and includes all measures that are necessary to prevent any possibility for the pathogenic organisms to appear, develop and spread on the mushroom farm. The basic measures to control pest and diseases and prevent their appearance are:
- The prevention of appearance and development of pathogenic organism populations inside and outside the farm. Thus reducing the chances for pests and diseases to get inside the growing rooms.
- The prevention of the entrance of diseases and insects into the growing rooms being carried by personnel, machinery, equipment and tools, through cracks and openings.
- The prevention of development of the already existing pathogenic organism populations by carrying out the technological operations properly (proper pasteurization, proper casing layer preparation etc.), that is, the obtaining of source materials that are free of diseases.
The rate of pest and disease development can be affected by using specific methods of protection. They are divided into the following: cultivation methods, chemical and biological methods. The first two methods are the most important for mushroom production.
The cultivation methods are, for example; proper pasteurization; correct climate regulation to ensure an optimal mycelial growth. This decreases the undesirable development of competing fungi, mites and sciarid flies etc. to a greater extent.
The chemical methods of protection include the use of insecticides, fungicides and bactericides and also disinfectants such as formalin.
But it’s important to remember that the prevention of diseases is always better and cheaper then fighting them. In order to prevent the spreading of pathogenic organisms in all growing rooms, it’s important to observe the following rules:
- Use sporofilters;
- Disinfect equipment, tools, footwear etc;
- Wear clean, disinfected clothes;
- Control insects, using various kinds of traps;
- Use disinfected (and not simply clean) crates for mushrooms, buckets etc.;
- Adhere to the rules of job division (for example, begin the mushroom harvest in the newer rooms and finish in the older ones etc.);
- Disinfect all growing rooms in good time;
- Carry out proper steaming of the growing room in the end of the cultivation cycle;
- Immediately remove spent compost and other wastes from the mushroom farm.