Planned Production and Group Marketing
Over 15,000 tonnes of mushrooms are marketed annually by Northway Mushrooms on behalf of their growers. The mushrooms are marketed to leading supermarkets, catering companies and wholesale markets all over the UK. Northway now market 3 times more mushrooms than in 2001 and growers have seen an increase in returns of 10p/lb.
From its inception Northway Mushrooms realised that the planned production is essential in order to match supply to demand. A bespoke planning database was developed which allows Northway to fill in every week how much compost has been filled by growers and provide an estimated production figure. The system allows Northway to work closely with customers and adjust grower filling schedules to suit the seasonal demand for mushrooms. For example with yields improving in May/June and sales falling slightly compost fills are reduced by 15% by all growers to allow the seasonal changes in growing and sales. Our production planner talks to growers daily and regular meetings are held with all growers to keep them up to date on all marketing and planning issues.
On Farm Investment
Since 2002 the Northway on farm investment programme has invested over 2 million on producer member farms, focusing on energy efficient boilers and improved heating networks, bimoass boilers, air handling & ventilation systems, equipment for filling and ruffling, additional dutch shelving, automatic watering systems, automatic picking trains and improved refrigeration on farm for mushrooms.
Energy Audits & Advice
Northway Mushrooms as a group is committed to reducing energy consumption on all members farm through on farm investment measures and educating growers on energy efficiency measures. Growers receive an annual energy audit from an industry expert which allows them to benchmark their energy usage with all other growers within the group and take the necessary measures to improve efficiencies.
Technical Advice and Training
Northway provide growers with an extensive technical support system. Growers have access to a Grower Liaison Officer who visits farms weekly to assist with growing techniques and provide advice on all necessary quality systems. All growers are CMI accredited and several are also Leaf accredited.
The services of industry experts are also employed in areas of picker training, disease control, energy and environmental techniques and yield optimisation.
The picker training programme was developed for the following reasons.
- Improved Quality and Presentation in the Packhouse.
- The need to reduce costs on the farms.
- The need for improved yield.
- The need for improved quality on the farm.