Dutch system speeds mushroom harvesting

Dutch horticultural manufacturer Frans van Zaal Totaal Techniek has launched a container transport system for mushroom cultivation that it claims makes harvesting more pleasant and increases efficiency.

"Mushrooms are grown on three or four levels in dark, humid rooms where they have to be harvested by hand," said sales engineer Antonio dos Santos. "Harvesting consumes a lot of time and it is not a very people-friendly environment. This separates the growing and harvesting environments."

By using seven layers of containers instead of the conventional three or four, Frans van Zaal Totaal Techniek's system also doubles production per cubic metre, dos Santos said. This offered a potential labour saving of 45 per cent, he added.

"It's not a cheap solution, but in the Netherlands labour is expensive, so this will pay for itself in a little over three years," he explained.

"Growers are under pressure from cheap imports from Poland and other eastern countries, so to compete with that they have to be cheaper."


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