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Farm Labourer - Mushroom Production

 Lydia Schouten

Mushroom Farming Overview

The ‘greenhouse, nursery, floriculture and turf’ industry includes more than 100 mushroom farms across the country that produce more than 200 million pounds (91,000 tonnes) of mushrooms annually, with 80 million lb. (36,300 tonnes) of fresh mushrooms being exported to the US market.

  • Up to 50% of mushroom farm expenses result from labour costs, and so growers are working with academic institutes and technology partners to develop robotics that could reduce requirements in the future.

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Mushroom Farm Labourers perform a wide variety of tasks that depend on the type of operation.

  • Farm Labourers are fully supervised, may operate farm machinery, and acquire skills/ knowledge through on-the-job-training. Typically, farm labourers need no formal education or prior farm experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Mushroom Farm Labourer
  • Mushroom Harvester Labourer
  • Mushroom Packer
  • Mushroom Sanitation Crew
  • Mushroom Preparation Crew (Phase 1-3)
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Farm Labourers assist with activities relating to planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

  • Comply with legislation and regulations 
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) 
  • Maintain health and safety of self and others 
  • Follow food safety and security procedures 
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices 
  • Prepare phase I compost 
  • Prepare phase II compost 
  •  Prepare phase III compost 
  • Transfer phase III compost to growing room 
  • Add casing 
  • Follow integrated pest management strategies 
  • Harvest mushrooms 
  • Perform post-harvest activities 
  • Use equipment, tools and technology 
  • Maintain equipment and tools 
  • Apply knowledge specific to growing commercial mushrooms 

What competencies are required for this job?

These competencies were identified as most important for successful job performance.

  • Agriculture Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices 
  • Mushroom Production
  • Food Safety
  • Adaptibility
  • Attention to Detail 
  • Continous Learning
  • Teamwork

What attracts people to this job?

This job is a good starting point for people seeking temporary or long term employment. In most cases it is not necessary to have crop experience or even any formal working experience, nor is it necessary to have a high school diploma. Working as a Mushroom Farm Labourer:

  • gives people an opportunity to learn about operating and maintaining equipment

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Mushroom Farm Labourers that gain experience and learn to perform more complex tasks and activities will become an experienced Worker. With more production experience and some training courses, they can become specialized in some aspect of mushroom production, or can become Mushroom Farm Supervisors to manage a crew.

What are the typical pay rates and benefits for this job?

The Mushroom Industry Wage Survey, conducted between March and May 2017, provides detailed compensation information about current hourly wage rates and piece work for occupations in the mushroom industry.