Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Any story related to building in the LOS, whether everything turned out hunky dory or not!

Moderators: MGV12, BKKBILL, fredlk

Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:30 pm

This is a story about building a mushroom farm and surrounding buildings in Sakon Nakhon.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:05 pm

Introduction: After building and selling a house in Khon Kaen a few years ago - See: "Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000" I left Khon Kaen and the relationship I was in (After getting back the funds I put into it) and moved to Bangkok for a few months. I met someone new and within a year decided to move to Sakon Nakon after convincing my girl friend who comes from there a long time ago. Problem was I didn't have enough to build houses for a living. We needed another business that could make a lot of money for all future requirements - Living expenses, car, house, land and eventually building houses again for sale. I decided after my last build that being a house developer was what I wanted to do.

However we needed to come up with a ton of cash to start a mushroom farm and build it. Over the last 2 years I've been back and forth from Australia to make money painting houses, coming back to Thailand, finding out I need more, returning to Australia etc etc. Finally the farm is almost big enough and efficient enough to support itself plus make a decent monthly profit. We have also borrowed a lot of money from Thai banks and even loan sharks a couple of times. We owe around 500,000 at the moment but soon we can start taking big chunks out of that. I expect the farm to give us 50,000-100,000 extra left over profit per months within 3 months.

Our Mushroom farm supplier says 9 out 10 people who move to the country to build a mushroom farm will give up within 1-2 years. I can understand that. I have felt like doing that several times when big mistakes and a lot of money go down the drain. However I decided I've spent so mush on it already I will persist. And so we have.

This is one of the hardest things I have done.

There is a lot of various buildings to be made on a mushroom farm such as:
Main Working Area
Mushroom Bag Storage Houses
Mushroom Houses
Mushroom Preparation Area
Steaming Area
Spore Room
Farm Toilet
Mushroom farm office/sleep area (for our 1 year old baby girl)
And eventually a new house for the Mother in Law (not too big or special)

I would not have much idea how to build these it I hadn't built a house in Thailand already and knew the materials available to us and how to find and deal with builders/suppliers. So this forum has been invaluable over the last 5 years.

Here is a before we started photo and a current state photo as well as a farm layout plan.
Attachments
Farm Design 2015.jpg
Farm design plan is about 80% complete, except the house, office and last 3 mushroom houses
Photo1630.jpg
Current Farm, New Working area, 6 mushroom houses behind that, 3 storage houses, 1 spore room, 1 steaming area, 1 packing area
our farm2.jpg
Before - 2 years ago: Working area on the left, Mushroom growing houses on the right
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:47 pm

At the begining:

The original plan was to build 4 mushroom houses with 5000 mushroom bags each. Each bag costs 8 baht. 20,000 x 8 = 160,000

Plus about 40,000 for the working area and 15,000 per mushroom house = another 100,000

Plus we had to raise the level of the whole farm area that use to be rice fields. This cost another 40,000 or so to raise around 15m x 60m area.

Plus a bunch of other things so all up the starting cost was around 350,000 baht.

We thought this would give us 50-60 kgs a day at 80 baht per kg giving us 4000 baht per day = 120,000 per month. Sounds good right?

Well the bags did not arrive on time from the suppliers, the mushroom houses were not built properly and we ended up not even making half that. We started losing money and the delays mean there is nothing you can do to change the situation immediately. Everything is on a 5 week delay between ordering and getting mushrooms for the first time. You need a lot of back up cash when doing such a business.

We decided we should start making mushroom bags for ourselves but i had to go back to Australia to make a lot of money for the equipment to do that. we would need another 200,000 at least.

So I went back to Australia to make the money. Instead of using the mushroom bags we started making my girl friend started getting a lot of interest from other to buy them. she kept selling the ones we needed for our own needs and we never really got past 20-30 kgs a day.
Attachments
ALIM9024.JPG
Hed Kon Mushroom houses (hot houses) being built
030120092664.jpg
Mushrooms get cut off with a blade. These are wood rot jungle mushrooms known as "Hed Kon Kao"
100120092679.jpg
Our first mushroom house. Looks good until you start adding water - the houses was built slightly below ground level meaning the floor became flooded all the time.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:18 pm

We are growing 2 completely different mushrooms with 2 completely different house designs:

Hed Kon: Is a white mushroom with a long stalk and a small flat top. They grow well at around 35C and very high humidity. the houses are wrapped in UV plastic and 2 layers of black plastic mesh to darken the houses. 80 baht per kg wholesale and about 100 baht retail

If you leave cutting them more than a few hours too late the tops flatten out and the mushrooms go "off" or unsellable so they have to be cut every 4-6 hours even at night. Like in; wake up at 1am, go to the farm and cut them then drive to the city market while its still dark and deliver to a local seller kind of thing.

The houses can be built in different ways:

Design 1: 10m x 5m (3 rows) Use Eucalyptus tree branches cut locally for the pillars and support beams. Red stone dirt floors about 10-15,000 baht per house with plastic

Design 2. 10m x 5m. Cement floors and pillars with real wood support beams. About 20-25,000 baht per house.

Both designs have bamboo shelves to support all the mushroom bags.

Hed Nung Fa: This is an oyster mushroom from Bhutan and is very popular and low cost (60 baht per kg wholesale and 80 baht retail). The grow slower and come out in a group of leaves type design and can be hand pulled in a clump. They grow in a grass roofed huts with plenty of air flow at a much cooler 28C but still fairly high humidity. Mushroom houses need to be watered every 2-3 houses to keep the humidity very high. Our first batch came out all at the same time ( 2 houses and we had to sell about 200kg in 1 day - that was a VERY crazy day ) Since then we do it differently schedule wise and get up to 80kg on those crazy days with 20kg on other days.

We decided to do both types of mushrooms because they can grow near each other without causing problems and both are in demand. So we don't have too many of each for our sellers to sell.

The working area was built on a tight budget so we used Eucalyptus tree pillars - about 150 baht per pillar at 3m high. and thin tin roof with a cement floor. We used cement block walls to keep out the wind.
Attachments
Nick Mushroom.jpg
Me and my GFs Cousin in the Hed Nung Fa house. He worked for us at nights as a second job to pay some debts.
250920132944.jpg
Hed Nung Fa
310120092732.jpg
Hed Kon
ALIM9043.JPG
Working Area next to mushroom houses
100120092689.jpg
Mushroom packing area
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby martin b » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:38 am

Fantastic job mate, good luck with it, are you growing them on rice straw and saw dust? :D
martin b
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:56 pm
Location: nottingham UK

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:27 am

Thanks Martin!

We use rubber tree saw dust which is available from south Thailand. We order a 15 ton truck every month which costs around 35,000 baht delivered. This is the best and only worthwhile saw dust known for these kind of mushrooms. The rubber trees need to be 20 years old before they can be used.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby martin b » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:24 pm

I wish we could set up something like you, all we seem to manage to grow is cat s**t, it's really easy all we have to do is go to bed at night then :Hey Presto: the next morning the gardens full of cat turds. It doesn't cost us a penny, only problem is the cats owners won't buy them back :evil:
martin b
 
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:56 pm
Location: nottingham UK

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:52 pm

Imagine if cat turds could be farmed!... you'd be rich! You know they probably could.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:00 pm

martin b wrote:I wish we could set up something like you, all we seem to manage to grow is cat s**t, it's really easy all we have to do is go to bed at night then :Hey Presto: the next morning the gardens full of cat turds. It doesn't cost us a penny, only problem is the cats owners won't buy them back :evil:


By the way, anyone can grow mushrooms in their backyard. Especially Hed Nung Fa which are quite easy to grow. Just water them every 3-4 hours during the day. Mushrooms are very good for your own health too.They are easier to grow than Hed Kon.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:44 pm

Stage 2: Start making our own mushroom bags.

This will reduce our costs and give us a new income source of selling to others. Most mushroom farms when they get big stop growing mushrooms themselves and only sell the bags to other smaller farms. This works only if you can get AT LEAST 30,000 mushroom bags orders a month. We would need more than that to have the income level we want so we would need at least 60,000 orders a month. Until such a time we will do both grow and sell our own mushrooms and sell our spare bags to other smaller farms.

Our working area became a lounge room, personal storage and only a small part of it was used for work until stage 2. We needed a space to mix the rubber tree on the ground (manually with a shovel to start with). We needed a spore room that was clean and no wind to place spore into the bags after steaming them. And we needed a steaming area where we converted oil drums into large steaming pots that heat the bags to 90-95C. So the working area was divided into different rooms to do this.

We also needed a storage house that is cool and dry while it takes a month for the spore to grow.

And we needed a place to put the rubber tree saw dust. We ended up making a place next to the house and main road with was slightly below road level... that was nice for when the city had the largest flood in 8 years... more on that soon.

We also needed a new place to receive guests and prepare the mushrooms for sale. So we built a grass roofed Sala.

Photos of these buildings below:
Attachments
House 4.jpg
Hed Nung Fa in house 4 starts coming out all at the same time
farm view front front.jpg
Farm seen from the side so you can see the storage house on the left and mushroom houses on the right
20131024_163138.jpg
Storage house for mushroom bags as they take 30 days for spore to grow before our use or for sale.
141020133056[1].jpg
Mixing and steaming area next to spore room
Spore Room.jpg
Spore in bottles preparing to place manually in each bag
mushroom farm seller.jpg
One of our sellers who comes to the farm around lunch time to buy 10-20 kgs a day
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:19 pm

DISASTER !!!
Last year Sakon Nakon had the biggest flood in 8 years. The water level rose around 1.2 m higher than normal. Imagine looking around as far as the eye can see and all you can see is rice fields 1.2 meters below your ground level. How can it possibly rain so much as to fill all these fields up another 1.2 meters? Well, IT CAN and IT DID. It rained hard for 4 days and 4 nights. The damns in the mountains had no choice but to release a lot of their water.

I thought we had spend too much on land fill. I thought we had over done it. I never imagined the water level would rise so high. It rose up to and over our new land level. Our working area was flooded by about 5cm of water. No work could be done there for several days. Our rubber tree pile was soaked near the main road. We lost several hundred kilos of rubber tree saw dust due to this.

Our mushroom houses were in danger of being flooded too. This could mean bacteria growth and destruction of the mushroom bags.

We got lucky. The water stopped 5cm below the mushroom houses.Over the next few days the water slowly subsided to normal levels. The nearby Klong (irrigation channel) went back to normal, the bridge was no longer over flown. But many people lost their rice harvest and many local fisheries lost their fish. the rising flood waters allowed hundreds of thousands of fish to escape their ponds.
Attachments
the flood.jpg
water levels approaching the working area after the nearby klong had flooded.
141020133062[1].jpg
after the flood water levels still high, rice fields flooded.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby Roger Ramjet » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:52 pm

kknaj wrote:Last year Sakon Nakon had the biggest flood in 8 years. The water level rose around 1.2 m higher than normal. Imagine looking around as far as the eye can see and all you can see is rice fields 1.2 meters below your ground level. How can it possibly rain so much as to fill all these fields up another 1.2 meters? Well, IT CAN and IT DID. It rained hard for 4 days and 4 nights. The damns in the mountains had no choice but to release a lot of their water.

I'm sorry to hear about your disaster. I am expecting the same thing to happen here, but not on the scale of the last big flood. Nothing is being done to prevent it and water management is at an all time low. The klongs that were supposed to be dredged haven't, the gates that were supposed to have been repaired haven't, the pumps that were to be replaced haven't and when you talk and listen to officialdom all they do is talk about the "monkey cheeks" principle, but nobody is aware exactly whose land is involved and nobody is expecting compensation.
So much for 360 billion baht being allocated (to whom) some 8 months ago. Our klongs which were supposed to have priority in being cleaned out haven't been touched and the gates remain locked and under the "supervision" of the Bangkok governor and when you ask officialdom all you get is "see the army" in reply.
We had our first downpour the other day and night and the rice paddies, luckily had all been harvested, but are now under a metre of water and the farmers can't pump them out because the klong gates are locked or brocken or both and they will flood the people further down the klong where the gates are either broken or locked or both and the klong is not flowing at all and is choked full of weeds and debris from the last big flood.
According to weather reports there are large storms coming, but nothing is being done as usual and I think it's time to get the boat and sandbags ready here as well.
I hope things settle down and your mushrooms don't become infected with bacteria. You have my sympathy.
User avatar
Roger Ramjet
 
Posts: 5251
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:55 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kknaj » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:13 pm

Roger Ramjet wrote:According to weather reports there are large storms coming, but nothing is being done as usual and I think it's time to get the boat and sandbags ready here as well.
I hope things settle down and your mushrooms don't become infected with bacteria. You have my sympathy.


We were lucky as our houses didn't get affected and the farm went back to normal within a few days. Since then we haven't had anything approaching that level of flood but we do expect another flood like that in the next 8 years again. So we have to be ready for damage control if such an event occurs again.

The mushroom farm in Nontanburi my girlfriend trained at was around 2 meters underwater during the big flood a few years ago. The owner was able to borrow money and rebuild her stocks within a few months. But I feel sorry for those that live around Bangkok that have to go through those floods. I was living at On Nut during those floods, One of the only areas not affected and it amazes me that more isn't done to fix the systems and make new systems that can handle future floods.
User avatar
kknaj
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:20 pm

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby kiwicvi » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:27 am

Hi kknaj,

Congratulation in your mushroom farm. It look fantastic.

However, i am keen in learning to grow mushroom and be a cultivator as well, i do have a piece of land in thailand which is empty.
Is it possible to share knowledge and i am willing to drop by your farm and be a trainee.
Will appreciate for a reply....thank you very much
kiwicvi
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:19 am

Re: Building a Mushroom Farm in Sakon Nakhon

Postby tomyum » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:09 am

How you going mate, i would like to see your set up if possible i live in Phangkhon which is not to far from you my wife and i are planning to set up a farm small at first and go from there
Thank you

Tom
tomyum
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:56 am

Next

Return to Your Building Story

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests