The mushroom sciarid fly can cause major problems in mushroom cultivation. But for years, the farms Biopaddestoelen Limburg and De Bourgignon in Weert (NL) have been effectively keeping the mushroom sciarid fly under control with Koppert’s Scia-Rid.
The two farms, owned by Henk van Roij and his wife, have twelve 300-m2 cells. Three of them (at Biopaddestoelen Limburg) produce certified organic cremini mushrooms and the other nine (De Bourgignon) produce white mushrooms, which by all intents and purposes are also produced organically.
Van Roij supplies its product to trading companies, which sell it to demanding customers in and outside the Netherlands. ‘In the long run, we want our entire production to be organic,’ says Van Roij. ‘But organic compost isn't always readily available, which is one limiting factor.’
Good meat substitutes
Van Roij is aware that organic mushrooms are gaining ground in the market. ‘More and more consumers are realizing that organically grown mushrooms are good meat substitutes,’ he explains. ‘Of course, they expect these substitutes to be very healthy, so we don’t use any chemicals.’
Henk van Roij doesn’t think that organic cultivation is more complicated than conventional cultivation. ‘A mushroom is a mushroom, climate is climate, and water is water,’ he says, giving a matter-of-fact answer. ‘Only crop protection is a little different. As in other sectors, there used to be plenty of chemicals on the market against mushroom sciarid fly, fungi, and flies. Now we only have three products.’
Permanent preventative spraying
But Henk van Roij doesn’t have to use chemicals anymore. Mushroom sciarid flies are the major vectors of fungal infections in mushroom cultivation, so a grower who effectively controls mushroom sciarid flies automatically reduces the damage caused by fungi.
Van Roij has been using Scia-Rid from Koppert to control mushroom sciarid flies for years, as per the advice of supplier Mertens. And he doesn't regret his decision. Scia-Rid is the insect-parasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae. It penetrates the larva of the mushroom sciarid fly, after which the larva dies.
‘At the start, we had a bit of trial and error before we found the right method of spraying,’ says Van Roij. ‘Since then, we’ve mainly used an automated standard trolley. Spraying with Scia-Rid is a standard, preventative measure at our farm. Each crop receives a one-time treatment with Scia-Rid five days after filling the cell. Only when the mushroom sciarid fly population is very low can we skip a spray treatment. We determine the population using Horiver sticky traps and Rollertraps.’
The Limburg-based entrepreneur tells us how important accurate work is. ‘We want to dose Scia-Rid very precisely in order to maximize its effect. But we also want to be very conscious of energy use and all the other cultivation factors. Whatever you do, the art is in remaining aware of everything. We’re an exporting country, so most mushrooms go abroad. We have to provide the European end consumer with a healthy product, which is why we must be committed to working carefully.’
For more informatiom about SciaRid contact our team Mushrooms.